Modern Slavery Act Transparency Statement 2022
Modern Slavery Act Transparency Statement
Structure, supply chains and modern slavery
Oak Furnitureland is the UK’s largest retailer of hardwood furniture with 72 showrooms across the UK. To support UK operations, we also have a major distribution centre located in Swindon, and other smaller distribution hubs across the UK.
Authenticity is at the heart of our brand and honesty, integrity and transparency are woven into all that we do.
The use of slave or trafficked labour is completely unacceptable, and we are fully supportive of all measures that help eradicate this criminal activity. We fully recognise the responsibility we, along with our suppliers, have to operate in an ethical manner and as such we operate a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery. We absolutely will not condone modern day slavery in any part of our operations, including our supply chain and will take all appropriate actions within our power to help assist the abolition of modern day slavery across the globe.
We have developed a series of steps to ensure transparency and mitigate the risks of slavery or human trafficking within our own business and across our supplier base, and have detailed these further below.
In relation to our UK operations and global supply chain we have implemented a code of conduct policy which applies to all persons working for us or on our behalf, including but not limited to suppliers, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, third-party representatives and business partners. This policy is based on the Ethical Trading Initiative (‘ETI’) base code, internationally recognised as the benchmark standard for ethical assurance.
We also work closely with Verisio, experts in supply chain transparency, to manage our due diligence programme. Verisio has global teams of social compliance auditors who are familiar with local labour conditions in all of the countries that we operate in through our sourcing and manufacturing.
Verisio’s software system, Optimus, allows us to identify areas of risk, to grade any corrective actions should they be needed, and follow up any unresolved issues.
Verisio also helps us to benchmark our data and our modern slavery due diligence programme alongside our industry competitors, to ensure we’re leaders in the field.
Supply chain risk assessment and due diligence
Supply chain - Merchandise suppliers
Our supply chain currently consists of factories in the following countries:
|Country||Count of factories|
Data as of end FY22
This year, we have issued self-assessment questionnaires to all of our merchandise suppliers, and followed up with onsite third-party audits for 15 of our largest suppliers (over a third of our total number of merchandise suppliers), further bolstering our supply chain management process.
Over this past financial year, we have achieved a 20% increase in the number of suppliers deemed as ‘Low Risk’, by working with them to reduce non-conformances found during audits, whilst during the same period the number of ‘Critical Risk’ suppliers has dropped by 50% marking significant progress.
Supply chain - Non-merchandise suppliers
As of June 2022, we have assessed and graded 48 of 68 non-merchandise suppliers that operate in high-risk areas. Of this 48, 71% have been categorised as either Low or Medium risk.
Supply chain - Our plan moving forwards
Now that we have fully assessed 88% of our merchandise supply chain, we will continue this progress made alongside a renewed focus on working to reduce non-conformances amongst higher risk suppliers in our non-merchandise supply chain.
Going forward, we aim to maintain a strong and continuous improvement pathway for both our merchandise and non-merchandise suppliers.
At this stage we can categorically state that we have a good understanding of all the companies working in our extended global supply chain and of the inherent risks that exist. Having identified the risks and the issues, we are now in the process of addressing these and will further report on our progress within the next 12 months (September 2023).
Our commitment to a no-tolerance policy to modern slavery and human rights abuse is an always-on process. We can’t get complacent and we will continue to assess performance and identify areas that we need to improve.
Training for staff
We have updated the terms and conditions we have with our major suppliers ensuring compliance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. This includes a requirement that our suppliers adhere to our Code of Conduct at all times and operate a workplace that respects workers’ basic human and legal rights.
Our overseas teams continue to work with all our immediate overseas suppliers to ensure they conduct their business with the same commitment to ethical business practices as we do. Our internal Heads of Department have extensive experience of working with factories to assess and improve adherence to quality and ethical standards. They regularly visit our major overseas suppliers and working to improve human rights issues forms part of their factory management role.
We continue to work on several internal initiatives that raise awareness across our business both in the UK and overseas.
This Modern Slavery Statement affirms our unwavering commitment to operating with integrity and underpins our rigorous approach to upholding ethical and social values, whilst achieving a postive working relationship, transparency and, ultimately, improvement across our supply chain.
We also recognise that our approach to modern slavery must be dynamic and continue to develop and expand in order to adapt to emerging humanitarian challenges. Therefore, we will strive to forge stronger partnerships with our suppliers, as well as seeking to collaborate with advocacy groups alongside other brands and retailers, to identify and tackle the risks of modern slavery.
This policy statement will be reviewed and published annually. It has been approved by our Board of Directors and signed on their behalf by our Chief Executive Officer, Alex Fisher.