Modern Slavery Statement

Fair Trade

Modern Slavery Statement


This statement has been published in accordance with Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It sets out the steps taken by Hotel Chocolat Group PLC for the period 28th June 2021-27th June 2022, to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its own business operations and supply chains



Introduction

Modern slavery is a term used to describe all forms of slavery, human trafficking and exploitation and it often affects some of the most vulnerable people in society. Over 40 million people globally are victims of modern slavery at any given time. As a business with international supply chains and retail presence we are committed to playing our part to ensure that everyone can lead a life free from any form of exploitation.

Our business values of originality, authenticity and ethics centred on promoting equality of opportunity for all are the cornerstones of our Brand and Culture.


This extends beyond direct employees and applies to everyone involved in our supply chains.


We’ve partnered with Unseen UK, a UK based anti-slavery charity to review our current approach to modern slavery and create a clear action plan to drive continuous focus and improvement including a revised Code of Conduct with emphasis on third party auditing with upweighting in potential areas of risk eg. Cocoa farming; alongside an embedded. Whistleblowing policy with business wide awareness and management team awareness training.



Key Focus Areas

  • We completed training for all senior leaders, delivered by Unseen UK, covering the key risk factors, how to identify warning signs and how to mitigate modern slavery in practice.
  • We are undertaking Supplier Compliance Audits (using GLAA standards) for our existing temporary labour suppliers and pre-engagement audits for all new potential agency partnerships.
  • The business has long operated an Engaged Ethics programme (see website for details) to support cocoa farmers and their families, and positively affect environmental and labour conditions.

  • In the year we have developed an enhanced programme - the Gentle Farming Charter, which aims to achieve increased farm incomes from funded best practice initiatives aimed to increases yields, price premiums and improved sustainability of land use, with a goal of zero child or forced labour.


    The scheme formally launches with farmers in September 2021 with the goal of 100% of farmers joining the scheme. In return for receiving increased payments for cacao, farmers sign up to the charter, which outlines sustainable farming practices and prohibits modern slavery and illegal child labour. Independent third-party assurance audit visits are undertaken to each farm annually.


  • In addition to our existing risk assessments and internal audits of supply-chain partners we have committed to add a third-party assurance provider, with the aim of all key suppliers being independently assessed by December 2022.


  • Business and Operational Structure

    Hotel Chocolat is a UK based chocolate manufacturer and multi-channel retailer with outlets in the UK, Ireland and the USA, a joint venture in Japan and a hotel and restaurant in St Lucia. The main trading company in the UK is Hotel Chocolat Ltd which has an annual turnover of £165m.


    Operating in 5 countries, working with in excess of 200 suppliers, employing over 2100 workers, and serving an estimated 5 million customers.



    Governance structure

    The Global Executive has responsibility and accountability for adherence to the Modern Slavery act. Specific activity is delegated to the Executive Directors and Heads of Department with assurance provided in the form of reports to the Board and regular assessment of risks.


    Each Executive Director has responsibility for ensuring compliance with the act within their business area.



    Due Diligence

    Supplier selection begins with an assessment of strategic fit with our culture and capability requirements, followed by a formal supplier-approval process including risk assessment, technical specification and quality auditing criteria, code of conduct assessment and a check of commercial feasibility for both parties.


    All new suppliers are subject to an onboarding programme that formally covers all considerations above with Director level governance to support and approve in advance of supply partnering commencing.



    Responsible Recruitment

    We undertake right to work (“RTW”) checks for all new Hotel Chocolat employees on their first day, along with regular RTW audits. We also routinely check bank account details; telephone numbers and addresses for duplication. We have a comprehensive approach to ensuring our temporary labour providers are also following best practice and minimising the risk of modern slavery and we have committed to third party audits for our partners from July 2021 ongoing to a) measure performance to agreed standards as well as applying lessons learned consistently with all partners.



    Training and Awareness

    We recognise the importance of leadership in tackling modern slavery and so 35 of our leaders, responsible for decision making and with areas of the greatest potential risk received training from Unseen UK in 2021.


    As the business grows, we will review when to extend the training across the business.



    Collaboration and partnership working

    We are working with Unseen UK to ensure we apply best practice in this space along with the GLAA to ensure we adhere to their standards and protocols.


    Safecall have been our ongoing partner since 2016 providing our whistleblowing hotline and internal media which is communicated and visible at all physical locations.


    Finally, we are working with CLMRS in Ghana to tackle child and forced labour in the cocoa industry with farm level audits ongoing and annual review of progress and target setting to achieve our aim of zero child and forced labour incidents across our entire farming community.



    Key performance indicators

  • Annual compliance audits for all temporary labour suppliers in the UK and all new suppliers subject to a pre-engagement audit
  • Procurement and People teams both trained on Modern Slavery with annual refreshers ongoing.
  • Cocoa in Ghana and St Lucia is purchased from a registered audited group of cocoa farmers.
  • Child labour and forced labour are illegal in Ghana and our Technical Officers and Support teams are engaged with farmers daily to educate, advise and report relating issues.
  • A formal Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Scheme is funded by us and is running within our Ghana cocoa districts launching in September 2021 with the aim of 100% farmer participation by July 2022.


  • This statement was approved by the Board of Hotel Chocolat Group PLC on 28th October 2021