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Modern slavery statement

Backlit oak leaves at Sheringham Park, Norfolk
Backlit oak leaves at Sheringham Park, Norfolk | © National Trust Images/Rob Coleman

This is the National Trust’s 2023 modern slavery statement and is issued in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It sets out the steps we have taken in the year to 28 February 2023 to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking in our own operations and supply chains.

National Trust Modern Slavery Act Statement

The National Trust and National Trust Enterprises (hereafter 'The Trust') are committed to tackling the risk of modern slavery in its organisation and supply chains. We actively promote inclusivity and diversity, and any unfair or discriminatory treatment of people is profoundly at odds with what we stand for as a conservation charity.

We recognise that modern slavery is a growing issue, and that recent and ongoing global crises increase the risks of human trafficking and forced, bonded and child labour. Therefore, this year we have taken action to better understand the modern slavery risk in our business and in our supply chains, and to develop a plan to effectively manage those risks.

This statement has been approved by the Board of Trustees and National Trust Enterprises Board of Directors.

The National Trust

The National Trust for Places of Historic Interest or Natural Beauty is a registered charity (no. 205846). It is incorporated and has powers conferred on it by Parliament through the National Trust Acts 1907 to 1971 and under the Charities (National Trust) Order 2005. As Europe’s largest conservation charity, we look after nature, beauty and history for everyone to enjoy. We do it with the help of millions of members, and thousands of volunteers, staff, donors, and suppliers. Without this support, we couldn’t care for the miles of coastline, woodlands, countryside and the hundreds of historic buildings, gardens and precious collections we protect.

Independent review 2022/23

In financial year 2022/23 we have undertaken an independent review of our capability for managing modern slavery risk. Working collaboratively with colleagues from multiple business functions, and with advice and research from three leading specialist consultancies, we looked at:

  • Our organisational capability for sustainable procurement,
  • Our specific practices for managing modern slavery risk, and
  • The profile of sustainability impacts, including modern slavery, across each category of procured goods and services.

This has given us a good understanding of how well we are currently managing modern slavery risk overall, suggested priority goods and services to review in more detail, and recommended actions for capability development. Together, these outputs will inform our priorities and our plans to actively tackle modern slavery in the coming years.

Our supply chain

As a conservation charity, good procurement is about much more than price, and we have a range of sustainability standards for different types of goods and services. Through these standards, we encourage consideration of the environmental, social and economic impacts of goods and services, including their supply chain activities.

The Trust recognises the challenges around modern slavery in complex global supply chains, and we are fully committed to understanding and minimising the risks of modern slavery associated with all types of goods and services we purchase.

We work with thousands of suppliers who provide us with a diverse range of goods and services, including everything from the coffee we serve in our cafes and the equipment we use to cultivate our gardens, to the building contractors who maintain our historic properties.

Our independent review this year gave us an overview of modern slavery risks across the categories of goods and services that we buy, and an assessment of how well we are currently manging these risks. Based on this, we will now set out detailed priorities and plans for further risk assessment, mitigation, and supplier engagement, and deliver this collaboratively with colleagues responsible for sourcing and supplier management.

Suppliers of goods for resale in our shops, whether carrying our brand or a third-party brand, must follow our Retail Sourcing Standards. These Standards set out 11 clear principles, based on the Ethical Trading Initiative base code, to:

  • Prohibit forced labour, child labour and any harsh or inhumane treatment, and
  • Ensure adequate health and safety, clear employment terms, fair pay, reasonable working hours, freedom of association, equality, positive community engagement, and compliance with environmental regulations.

Retail suppliers must also be supplier members of SEDEX for ongoing monitoring, and we take a risk-based approach to independent ethical audits of manufacturing sites. These specific measures for retail also apply to any licenced product that carries our brand.

Staff and volunteer wellbeing

The Trust has a clear framework of values and rules and encourages the reporting of any concerns or breaches so that they can be dealt with appropriately in accordance with our policies and procedures.

We are committed to creating an environment where all our people will feel safe from harm and abuse. This includes children, adults at risk and anyone who comes into contact with the Trust. We employ a Safeguarding and Wellbeing Lead and have also established a network of Local Designated Safeguarding Leads. Our safeguarding training for staff and volunteers as well as our instruction, procedures and framework ensure we recognise, report, and respond to all concerns or potential incidents of safeguarding.

We offer an independent and confidential Speak Out hotline where staff and volunteers can raise any concerns confidentially and anonymously if they wish. Our Employee Assistance Programme also provides staff and volunteers with a secure way of seeking advice about a range of topics including modern slavery or human trafficking issues personally affecting them or their families.

Our goals for 2023/24

We now have a better understanding of Modern Slavery risk in our organisation and supply chains, and of our current mitigations and practices. In financial year 2023/24 our priorities and actions will be confirmed in a detailed plan to develop our capability over this and following years. We will take action in the following areas of development:

  • Reaffirming our commitment, by reviewing and updating our suite of relevant policies,
  • Embedding modern slavery as a core consideration into relevant business practices,
  • Detailed risk assessment and supplier collaboration in specific supply chains,
  • Publicising a modern slavery hotline, and establishing clear practices for raising concerns and responding to incidents,
  • Developing staff awareness and skills, and
  • Monitoring and reporting progress against key performance indicators.

Collectively these mitigations will be effective, proportionate and focussed, so that we can continue to play our part in tackling modern slavery.

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