Modern Day Slavery

Bonmarché Modern Slavery Statement 2017

This statement has been produced and published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps taken by Bonmarché to date to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.

Who we are

Bonmarché is one of the UK’s largest multi-channel retailers of affordable, stylish, quality clothing for women over 50. We operate from headquarters in West Yorkshire and have over 300 stores across the UK, in total employing over 3,000 staff. We also sell online and through our catalogues.

Our suppliers

We source the majority of our clothing products from approximately 194 tier 1 factories in 17 countries around the world. Our products are designed in house and manufactured by third party supplier factories. The QA and Sourcing department manages this supply chain. The business also has numerous suppliers of goods and services to support our UK head office, warehousing, and nationwide network of stores. In common with much of the fashion industry, Bonmarché recognises that our supply chains may present a significant risk of modern slavery and human trafficking, we are committed to a zero tolerance approach and take steps to identify, eliminate and prevent this abuse of human rights.

Our approach to addressing and preventing modern slavery

Bonmarché is determined to uphold all basic human rights and we support the United Nations Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights. Since July 2013, we have been a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers’ rights around the globe and we regularly attend these meetings. We are also a member of the Bangladesh Accord. Our suppliers are contracted to abide by our supplier code of conduct, which is in line with International Labour Organisation Conventions and the ETI Base Code, and we make regular visits to our tier 1 suppliers to build relationships and emphasise the importance of adhering to responsible and ethical business practices.

As a Sedex member, we use the SMETA ethical auditing format designed to ensure that we only work with compliant supply chain members and all our suppliers and production sites are required to undergo a third-party audit.

In the UK, we conduct right to work checks and have a whistle-blowing policy and hotline where employees can raise any concerns they may have in total confidence. Whistleblowing is a regular item on the Bonmarche Holdings plc Audit Committee agenda and the policy is reviewed annually and published on the intranet.

We have engaged with specialist external consultants with specific expertise around modern slavery and human trafficking to increase our knowledge and support us in meeting our obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

What we have done so far

In seeking to increase transparency and improve our anti-slavery activity:

  • Key personnel from all areas of the business have received training to raise their awareness of modern slavery and human trafficking.
  • Trained staff have participated in a risk assessment workshop where the business model was mapped, activities at risk of modern slavery identified, and appropriate control measures outlined to mitigate and reduce risk.
  • A short/mid-term modern slavery action plan has been compiled and will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.
  • A supplier conference has been held to reinforce our commitment and raise awareness.
  • A new supplier manual and ethical code of conduct was launched, with penalties for non-compliance to emphasise our required standards.

Next steps

Within the action plan, the following have been identified as priority areas for the forthcoming year. These will be monitored and reported in our next annual slavery statement:

  • Creation of a modern slavery working group to take responsibility for implementing and reviewing identified actions and preparing for future slavery statements.
  • Developing a standalone Bonmarché Modern Slavery Policy emphasising our zero tolerance.
  • Adapting and updating current policies, procedures and documents to reflect the modern slavery policy and measures.
  • Introducing a modern slavery compliance questionnaire to be issued to all our suppliers.
  • Extended training to further UK colleagues and our key overseas suppliers, and introducing a modern slavery element to new staff induction.
  • Identifying key performance indicators to monitor progress.

This statement has been reviewed and approved by the board of Bonmarché Holdings plc.

Helen Connolly
Chief Executive Officer
29 September 2017