The Wine Society is committed to complying with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This statement highlights the steps we’ve taken to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking within our business and our supply chains. This statement and the related processes are reviewed annually.

Modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. It takes various forms, such as slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, all of which have in common the deprivation of a person’s liberty by another in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.

The Wine Society’s Executive Team is responsible for The Wine Society’s Anti Modern Slavery compliance and for ensuring that measures are in place within The Wine Society’s operations, business and supply chains.

Our commitment

The Wine Society takes a zero-tolerance approach to any activity that violates human rights. We are committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships. We recognise that this is a global issue and we understand that it is our responsibility to prevent and mitigate the risk of such violations. We are committed to treating our staff and supply chains fairly. We regularly review and improve our practices to ensure that they are the most effective in protecting human rights.

Our business

The Wine Society is one of the world’s oldest member-owned community of wine lovers. Since 1874 we’ve been doing business differently, putting our members before profit to ensure fairer bottle prices for both the people that enjoy them, and for those who make them. We are committed to trading ethically and responsibly.

We engage over 200 staff members and their welfare is paramount.

Our supply chain

We trade with a wide range of producers, suppliers and carriers nationally and internationally. We have built trusted relationships with our suppliers over many years and we work closely with them to ensure they are reputable and conduct business to the same high standard as The Wine Society. All wine producers are issued with The Wine Society Code of Practice (COP) for the Supply of Wines and Spirits. The COP clearly defines our expectations to ensure that high standards are maintained in the production of wine and treatment of all those involved. It includes our zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery. The COP is reviewed annually and is monitored by our buyers and staff during supplier visits.

We ensure that our producers are audited on a regular basis. Our wine producers are visited frequently by our Buying team. We also utilise a third-party company to complete spot check audits on quality.

Before we start working with suppliers, we carry out due diligence checks to satisfy ourselves that we are trading with reputable organisations. We also ask wine producers to complete self-audit assessments; these include a declaration relating to modern slavery.

We expect all partners in our supply chain to be opposed to slavery and human trafficking. They are required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the risk of modern slavery is removed from their supply chain.

Where possible, we include Anti Modern Slavery clauses within our supplier agreements to make commitments contractually binding.

Staff training

It is mandatory for all members of staff to familiarise themselves with this statement and our Modern Slavery policy.

All new starters will attend an induction with the HR Department which specifically highlights our commitment to the prevention of modern slavery. Employees are expected to familiarise themselves with the Policy annually following the publication of our annual statement. This Policy is accessible both on our website and within our Employee Handbook.

Recruitment policy

We conduct robust checks on all new members of staff, including their eligibility to work in the UK to detect human trafficking or individuals being forced to work against their will. Suppliers of temporary labour are also vetted to ensure they are applying the same checks and controls before being approved.

Reporting concerns

All employees are actively encouraged to be vigilant when it comes to identifying the risk of modern slavery. Any concerns are referred to the Executive Team, even if they are unsure about whether a particular act, or any treatment of workers or their working conditions, might constitute slavery.

All concerns are investigated with the support of the HR and Legal teams. Following a full investigation, appropriate action is taken as required.

Our staff has access to a comprehensive grievance policy and whistle blowing policy should there be a need to refer to them.

To date, there have been no reports from staff, the public, suppliers or law enforcement agencies to indicate that modern slavery practices have been identified in the business or supply chain. However, we remain alert to the threat in a rapidly changing world and continue to scrutinise any suspicious activities in our business.

This statement was approved by the Committee on 31 March 2021

Sarah Evans – Committee Chairman

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