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Modern Slavery Act 2015

 

Statement of compliance for the year to 31 December 2017

 

This statement is made pursuant to section 54, Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (“the Act”) and sets out the steps that Camellia Plc (“the Company”) has taken to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place either within the wider group or in the supply chains of our businesses.

Overview

The Company is the ultimate holding company of a diverse group (“the Group”) with interests in agriculture, engineering, food service and investments. The Group has operations in Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Hungary, India, Kenya, Malawi, the Netherlands, South Africa, Switzerland, the USA and the UK. The majority of the Group’s turnover is derived from its businesses in the agricultural sector through the growing of tea, avocado, edible nuts, citrus, rubber, pineapple, wine grapes, arable crops, forestry and the raising of cattle. We consider that the agricultural businesses have the greatest exposure to risk of modern slavery and forced labour.

The Group is fundamentally connected to the welfare of its communities and the environments in which it operates. As part of the Board’s long standing commitment to managing its businesses in accordance with high legal and ethical standards, slavery or forced labour in any form is not permitted in its operations. We recognise that modern slavery can exist in different forms and can be difficult to detect, particularly in the supply chain.

The agricultural division has substantial operations in India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and the USA.  As is common in the sector, it is necessary to use a large number of seasonal employees to harvest, process and transport crops at peak times. We pay fair wages, benefits and allowances in accordance with local legislation and Trade Union agreements and have received and maintain certifications with challenging ethical standards from inter alia Fairtrade, Ethical Tea Partnership, UTZ, WIETA and Rainforest Alliance which require detailed audits of employment practices in the Group and key suppliers.

The Group has undertaken and completed a major training programme of its employees in the agricultural operations to raise awareness of the Act and assist managers with identifying risks in its operations and the supply chain. Changes have been made to auditing standards and our policy has been circulated to tier one suppliers. To date, no concerns have been identified.


Supply Chain Risks

The majority of the tier one suppliers for our agricultural operations are outgrowers. The Group purchases product from these outgrowers at a market related price which it then processes, packs and sells via its own channels to market. We have set up programmes to support and nurture our outgrowers to help them invest in their farms and crops and consistently grow high quality products that will command higher market prices. All product purchased is paid for in a timely manner. We also provide advice to outgrowers on how to improve yields and adopt sustainable cultivation practices to help ensure a consistent and sustainable source of income. These efforts have been beneficial both to the outgrowers and the Group over recent years through achieving increased volumes and quality. We have undertaken substantial training within our outgrower groups on the provisions of the Act and will continue this process.

Risk assessments on the other major tier one suppliers to the agricultural operations will be started in 2018.


Supply Chain Standards

The ethos of the Group is very clear whereby the directors consider themselves as custodians of the Group’s assets and businesses which should be grown and nurtured in a sustainable way with respect for human rights, the environment and the wider communities in which the Group operates. Our relationship with our suppliers has its roots firmly embedded in this ethos. Respecting human rights and environmental issues in the supply chain is ultimately our suppliers’ responsibility. However, as customers, we play an active role in supplier development and have adopted policies to communicate our expectations.


Whilst the Group cannot at this point guarantee that our supply chain is completely free of slavery or forced labour, we believe that the steps being taken will give greater visibility of the employment practices of the supply chain network which in turn will allow us to ensure compliance with the Act.


Next Steps

A risk assessment of the key tier two suppliers will be expanded and completed. In addition, further training of the smaller outgrowers will be undertaken.

This statement was approved by the Board of Camellia Plc on 14 December 2017.

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Tom Franks
Chief Executive

2017 Annual Report

Our 2017 Annual Report & Accounts are now available.

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