MODERN SLAVERY STATEMENT
This statement has been published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and is the second such statement published by Parallel UK Ltd. It covers the financial year 1st December 2020 to 30th November 2021.
The statement provides details of how the business has worked to prevent slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains.
Parallel UK Ltd acknowledges the risks that Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking present in our business and particularly across our supply chains. This is something we are committed to addressing and eradicating over time.
However, we also recognise this is a huge challenge and we are realistic enough to know that with the resources at our disposal it is not something we can achieve overnight or in isolation. We will continue to work with our growers, suppliers and appropriate agencies to ensure, as far as we can, that we are able to make a positive difference.
Parallel UK Ltd is a leading supplier of table grapes to UK retailers and food producers. Formed 10 years ago, the controlling stake in our business sits with a group of select and globally renowned overseas growers based in South Africa, Spain and Peru, who between them are supplying circa 75% of our annual supply. Together with the UK based share holders and Senior Leadership Team, they take responsibility for the work that is being done to prevent slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains.
We have a UK base in Lincolnshire with some 20 direct employees, dealing with commercial matters, procurement, logistics, operations and technical matters including due diligence, quality assurance and risk management/compliance. The business does not directly employ any agency staff in its day to day operations. We do however use third party storage and packing facilities where agency staff are employed by the operators and those staff are involved with the storage and packing of our product.
Parallel UK Ltd buy products and services globally, with our supply chains extending across Europe, Africa, India and South America. Our main purchase is grapes and during the 2018/19 financial year we worked with 35 growers from 11 different countries outside of the UK.
The growers fall into 2 categories, these being Parallel Shareholder growers and Other Approved growers, with the Parallel Shareholder group supplying most of our grapes at around 75% of the annual total volume.
The Parallel Shareholder group of growers, located in Spain, South Africa and Peru are well known to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), given the shareholdings that each of them have in the business. We know their farms and working practices well and as major shareholders they work closely with our SLT to maintain supply chains that are robust and free of slavery and human trafficking. As a business, Parallel is confident that in those supply chains the risks of slavery and human trafficking are minimal.
The remainder of our grape supply comes from our Other Approved growers located in Europe, South America, Africa and India. These growers have been carefully selected and nurtured over time, in order to develop strong, transparent and long-lasting relationships. This has allowed us to get to know these growers well and better understand their working practices.
In addition to Grape, we also source several other goods and services from within the UK, to enable us to run our business effectively. These include things such as transport services, third party storage/packing services, Logistics & Freight Forwarding services and Legal, Accountancy and IT Support services. We work with a small number of well-established service suppliers and have developed long standing relationships with all of these.
Policies related to Slavery & Human Trafficking
Parallel UK Ltd recognises its responsibility to help ensure Modern Slavery does not happen in our business and supply chains. As a business we adhere to the principles of the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) Base Code and in addition we have a number of policies which, amongst other things, are intended to help us ensure we do not have Forced Labour, Human Trafficking or Child Labour in our business. These include: –
- Tackling Modern Slavery – Preventing Hidden Labour Exploitation Policy
- Ethical Policy
- Equal Opportunities & Diversity Policy
- Anti-Bribery Policy
- Grievance Procedure
- Whistleblowing Policy
- Corporate Social Responsibility Statement
The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) are responsible for ensuring that these policies are enforced across the business and where applicable with our suppliers. Furthermore, the SLT will also ensure that appropriate action is taken to deal with instances of non-compliance.
New employees will be briefed as part of their induction about the importance we place on eliminating slavery and human trafficking from our business. Furthermore, they will be given appropriate information/instruction in relation to our company policies referred to above and what role they have in ensuring these are operated effectively.
Due Diligence, Risk Assessment, Prevention & Mitigation
The strong open and transparent relationships that have been developed with our suppliers, particularly the Parallel Shareholder suppliers, ensures we have a clear understanding and insight into their day to day operations, working arrangements and what their labour practices are. Our ownership structure means that the shareholder suppliers have a vested interest in the reputation and success of the business and consequently work closely with the UK team to ensure that the risks of slavery and human trafficking are mitigated in their areas/supply chains.
Directly employed, senior UK based staff in both the Technical and Commercial teams have visited and communicated extensively with many of our suppliers during the 2018/19 financial year. The supplier visits undertaken have not only been about product quality, the opportunity is also taken to review local working practices/conditions and to discuss these with the supplier, particularly where any concerns are identified.
We have employed a Source Technologist whose specific role is to be based in the country of source at any given time, in order to visit the farms from which product is being supplied. His role is to ensure that the product quality meets the required standards and also to observe all aspects of the farms operations, to satisfy himself that there is no evidence of slavery, child labour or human trafficking and that workers are being treated fairly.
The business undertakes thorough due diligence when considering taking on new suppliers and reviews existing suppliers annually. Aside from the supplier visits outlined above, the due diligence process includes building long-standing relationships and making it clear what our expectations are of business partners. We evaluate the modern slavery and human trafficking risks of each new supplier that we take on and continually review our long-standing suppliers. If they fail to meet the standards expected, the business relationship will be terminated.
We operate a stringent procedure for supplier approval. This process is designed to ensure that products we purchase and supply, deliver the necessary level of product integrity. All suppliers must be registered with Sedex and have completed the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ), which we rigorously check to identify any potential areas of risk. No supplier is approved until we are fully satisfied with the completed SAQ. Following on from the SAQ, suppliers are also subject to a Sedex methodology ethical trade audit (SMETA). Failure to comply with or meet these requirements will result in the supplier in question not being approved. If we believe that an approved supplier is no longer meeting the requirements, then approval is likely to be revoked.
So far as the use of third-party storage/packing services are concerned, we are alert to the risks of forced labour and slavery where the service provider is employing agency workers to deliver the service for us. To mitigate these risks, we do have a directly employed Quality Assurance team who work in the service providers storage and packing facility on a day to day basis. They are there to ensure that quality standards are being maintained throughout the packing process and will be working alongside the agency workers. In their day to day activities our Quality Controllers will be looking for any signs of forced labour or modern slavery and will report anything they consider to be suspicious.
Training and Capability Building
To ensure a good understanding of the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains, the Technical Manager and HR Consultant have attended the Stronger Together UK Modern Slavery Workshop.
We provide information on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking to our staff by way of workplace posters, worker leaflets and staff presentations.
This Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement will be regularly reviewed and updated as necessary. The Board and Senior Leadership Team endorses this policy statement and is fully committed to its implementation.
This Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement has been approved and authorised by: