‘Modern Slavery’ is the phrase used to describe the crimes of human trafficking, slavery and slavery-like practices such as servitude, forced labour, forced or servile marriage, the sale and exploitation of children, and debt bondage. A common thread runs through all of these offences: they involve one person depriving another person of their liberty, in order to exploit them for personal or commercial gain.
“It is a confronting reality that even in the present day, men, women and children all over the world remain victims of modern slavery. They are bought and sold in public markets, forced to marry against their will and provide labour under the guise of “marriage,” forced to work inside clandestine factories on the promise of a salary that is often withheld, or on fishing boats where men and boys toil under threats of violence. They are forced to work on construction sites, in stores, on farms, or in homes as maids. Labour extracted through force, coercion, or threats produces some of the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the footballs we kick. The minerals that men, women, and children have been made to extract from mines find their way into cosmetics, electronics, and cars, among many other products.”
“It is widely acknowledged that measuring modern slavery is a difficult undertaking, not least because no single source provides suitable and reliable data on all forms of modern slavery. An estimated 40.3 million men, women, and children were victims of modern slavery on any given day in 2016.” (www.globalslaveryindex.org/2018/findings/global-findings/) That is around 1 in every 185 people alive and of these, 24.9 million people were in forced labour.
Modern slavery is most prevalent in the global South - in Africa, followed by the Asia and the Pacific region - however it is present in every country. Britain is home to at least 100,000 modern slaves according to a new study, with the actual number likely to be even greater. (It Still Happens Here: Fighting UK Slavery In The 2020s - CSJ July 2020)
“Slavery is illegal at all times and in all places. It is officially banned from our economic system. Yet while states have formally abolished slavery, informally economic systems continue to tolerate and generate practices that generate similar results.” (A Blueprint for Mobilizing Finance Against Slavery and Trafficking, September 2019)
This, our fith Modern Slavery Statement, has been published in accordance with the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015). Section 54 of the MSA requires every organisation with a global annual turnover of £36 million or more, which carries out business (or part of a business) in the UK, to produce a slavery and human trafficking statement for each financial year. The statement should set out the steps a business has taken that year to identify and eradicate modern slavery from its business and its supply chain. Lush’s financial year runs from July to the end of June.
In addition to the UK Modern Slavery Act similar legislation has been introduced in other parts of the world (the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (2010), French Duty of Vigilance Law (2017) and Australian Modern Slavery Bill (2018)) and the EU is currenlty discussing mandatory human right regulation, which is an important step in widening the reach and discussions around this important topic.
Publishing a Modern Slavery Statement is a step towards transparency with customers and a businesses wider stakeholder community and can encourage change.
This statement details what Lush is doing to combat the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking in our own business and in our supply chains, it provides an update on the activities and commitments detailed in our previous (fourth) Modern Slavery Statement and the steps taken during our financial year July 2019 - June 2020. This statement also includes an update on some of the actions we have taken between July 2020 - November 2020 as some of our programm got pushed back due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This statement also outlines our commitments towards mitigating the risk of modern slavery in our supply chain and business going forward.
Our business - organisational structure
Lush is a UK cosmetics brand, with its head office in Poole and an additional office in London. Lush was started in 1995 by a close-knit team who have continued to work together for over 40 years. The first Lush shop opened at 29 High St, Poole in April 1995, with products being made in a small space above the shop. Lush places emphasis on the benefits of using the finest quality fresh, natural ingredients in our products for their nutritious effects on the body and mind. We strive to ensure our products reach our customers in the freshest condition, when they are most potent and effective – it’s at the heart of our philosophy. We use ingredients such as fruits and vegetables, herbs, flowers, butters and essential oils - organic wherever possible - and with minimal synthetic preservatives. All products are vegetarian, and the majority are vegan too.
Lush’s global expansion whilst rapid has been carefully controlled. 25 years on, Lush has over 100 stores in the UK, 900+ shops worldwide and is present in 47 countries, with manufacturing operations in 6 countries (UK, North America, Germany, Croatia, Japan & Australia), employing around 14,000 people. We have also opened Lush Spas in select locations across the UK, France, Korea, Japan and Spain. We invent, manufacture and retail our own range of unique products so that we can be confident that our beliefs and ethics are carried through at all stages.
We are very proud to offer a range of fresh, handmade, cosmetic products which are all manufactured in house and sold through our retail shops and digital channels.
An average of around 930 product lines (this includes size variations) were made at our UK manufacturing sites during 2019/20 per month. This includes all year round products and seasonal ones.
The Lush business is run in accordance with a set of founding ethical principles written by our founders at the very beginning of Lush’s life, commonly known as our ‘We Believe Statement’. These principles underpin all that we do and run through every vein of our business.
Lush further sets out its core values or principles in the Lush Ethical Charter.
Our business - our supply chains
Lush products are for sale in our shops and our website, invented in-house and manufactured by our own factories. The Creative Buying Team manages the supply chains and together with the Ethical Compliance Team, who are part of this team. They ensure product and raw material suppliers are selected based on ethical and sustainable as well as commercial criteria.
Product supply chains are complex, involving a number of different processes - Lush’s supply chains are no exception, although we try wherever possible to buy as direct as we can most supply chains are made up of several tiers stretching over numerous countries. We source around 1400 materials from more than 80 countries globally with an annual buying spend of £40.9m (Lush UK).
We have many supply chains that contribute to the operation of our business and as the Lush business continues to grow in size, so do our supply chains. For example, our raw material supply chains are made up of a network of approximately 400 suppliers all over the world. This number continues to evolve as we discover new materials, meet new suppliers and source materials to meet the growing business needs.
We are committed to sourcing and developing top quality, ethical materials for our products through a resilient global network. We also grow materials ourselves via agricultural projects and direct partnerships around the world. From the early days of buying we learned the hard way, from the adulteration of our essential oils, that it is vital to gain an understanding of each material, the local impacts of its production and who is involved in its supply chain in order to ensure top quality ingredients with no exploitation at any stage. As a business, we realised that we could have both a positive and negative impact through our business operations. Since then, we have aspired to maximise the benefit of our actions, relying on positive and open relationships with our suppliers and producers to find a path to a truly ethical and sustainable business that will last into the future.
Our vision is that each and every ingredient we purchase is contributing to a positive future. We are already building a web of like-minded pioneers who wish to become part of the answer to the problems we all see every day. Through the ingredients we buy and through the people we meet and partner with, we are finding that some of these answers come through reciprocal trade. That means finding ways in which we can grow, produce, manufacture and ship our goods that are truly sustainable. In fact we have ceased to aim for just sustainable but wish to reach beyond that to regenerative - making sure that our purchases put back more into the soil, to the community and the natural world than they take out and at the same time provide profit and a viable business for all of us. We want to leave the world lusher than we found it.
The risk of modern slavery lies in all tiers of a companies supply chain. For Lush one of these high risk supply chains was mica which is why we have moved away from sourcing natural mica and why we made the decision to go completely natural mica-free as of the 1st January 2018.
Another high risk industry is mining. We are currently in the process of putting together an internal policy on purchasing practices around mined materials, developing a process of identifying risk in different countries and comparing practices for different mined materials.
Our focus on the palm industry began in 2008 when we realised what destructive environmental practices are involved, but we also now regard it as a high slavery risk. “Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and unions report that even plantations that have been certified as ‘sustainable’ often show signs of child labour and forced labour” (Greenpeace, Final Countdown Report, 2018). Lush is still in the process of identifying and eradicating the last remnants of palm from our supply chain.This year we reduced the % weight of palm derived materials used in manufacturing from 9.6% to 7.9%. There are plans in place to bring this down further in 2021, tackling the products with the highest volume of palm derived materials.
Our policies and practices in relation to slavery and human trafficking - minimum requirements
We have several policies in place that help us to enforce the standards set to mitigate the risk of Modern Slavery and also encourage disclosure of any such practices within our business and throughout our supply chains. These policies are reviewed, communicated to and acknowledged by new and existing suppliers and also communicated to all Lush business partners. As a minimum requirement all our suppliers need to comply and acknowledge the following policies / documents (in addition to our strict Non Animal Testing Policy and declaration):
This policy clearly defines Lush’s position on Modern Slavery and sets the minimum standards that we expect all of our suppliers to comply with to ensure the fair treatment and well-being of all workers in our supply chains. Any employee who breaches this policy will face disciplinary action, which could result in dismissal for misconduct or gross misconduct. We may terminate our relationship with other individuals and organisations working on our behalf if they breach this policy.
These buying policies consist of legal requirements, non-negotiable standards and progressive standards. Within Section ‘4.0 Legal Obligations’ of this policy we make supplier aware of the following:
4.1 Suppliers must adhere to all relevant legal obligations and all relevant Lush policies. These policies include our ‘Anti-Slavery & Human Trafficking’, ‘Anti bribery and corruption policy’, amongst others, which can be found here: https://weare.lush.com/lush-life/our-policies/anti-bribery-and-corruption-policy/
4.2 Suppliers must have systems in place to review and adhere to their legal obligations under regulations such as The UK Modern Slavery Act (or any other legislation designed to combat modern slavery and offences relating to trafficking and slavery), The Human Rights Act, The Nagoya Protocol, tax and environmental laws and where relevant the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), to protect endangered plants and animals and to help regeneration of degraded environments.
We have included the employer pays principle in our policy document this year.
The People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share Buying Policy helps us to ensure that our supply chain matches our core values.
The purpose of this online survey is to open a dialogue and to gather information that will help Lush identify positive practices in our supply chains or focus on what support might be needed to bring about improvements. This year the survey was due to be sent out in April 2020 but due to Covid-19 got released in September 2020 (action taken since FY 19/20) for all direct suppliers to complete. The information from our online Buying Policy Supplier Survey enables us to benchmark suppliers and practices to keep tracking progress against each of the areas covered by our buying policy.
We have been working on developing a new Global Whistleblowing Policy which was shared with all Lush employees this year.
The policy enables employees and anyone else to report any illegal or unethical malpractice that might be witnessed within our business or supply chain while remaining anonymous and protected by law against any mistreatment for reporting your concerns.
By encouraging a Whistleblowing culture, we can continue to promote transparency and empower our staff and those in our supply chains to help monitor and maintain our high ethical standards in every corner of the Lush business.
This is a global policy that must be adhered to by all Lush businesses and made available to all Lush employees.
Our central whistleblowing email address ‘[email protected]’ is monitored by our Lush UK People Experience Team and whistleblowing cases will be investigated and resolved in the shortest time possible.
Breaches to these policies are not taken lightly. Where there is opportunity to influence change we will work hard with our suppliers to do so, but we will not hesitate to cease trade with any organisation where breaches of our policies are severe.
Taking responsibility - governance
The Lush board of directors have overall responsibility for ensuring Lush's compliance with the Modern Slavery Act and that all those under our control comply with it. Management at all levels are responsible for ensuring those reporting to them understand the issue of modern slavery and comply with this policy
Training and Raising Awareness
Around 14 000 people work for Lush globally (9,186 Lush Group Employees, not including Partners) - even more around peak times like Christmas when we recruit seasonal staff. We want all employees to have an active and engaged understanding of the risks of modern slavery to our business. In November 2018, we have started to roll out training to the management of key teams within the business to educate them on these risks and indicators of modern slavery. These teams included Property, Recruitment (Head Office & Manufacturing), Buying (Raw Mats & Packaging), Travel, Imports, Digital, IT and Design and we have continued to roll out this training to new areas and teams across the business this year (action taken since FY 19/20). We have organised sessions for individual teams and hosted a virtual session on modern slavery that everyone in the business was able to join or re-watch at their own time. With this experience, our staff are more likely to identify possible warning signs and raise issues if a supplier looks like they might be slipping below our expected standards.
Our Anti-slavery and Human Trafficking policy and Modern Slavery statements are published on our website where staff, suppliers, customers and anyone with an interest can read about the risks to our business and the steps we are taking to combat modern slavery.
During our reporting period 2019/20 we have rolled out updated training for our buying team on Purchasing Practices and modern slavery which was deliverd by Stronger Together. We further aimed to roll out online training for all managers of all key departments however this was delayed due to Covid-19 and we have hosted virtual sessions for teams instead (action taken since FY 19/20). Members of the Ethical Compliance team have attended the Modern slavery & Purchasing Practices training and will join an ‘Advanced Tackling Modern Slavery in UK Businesses Workshop’ over the next financial year. Our People team will work on an improved training session that can be given to internal Lush teams and rolled out across the business. Further to this we have also explored options for supplier training and successfully hosted two virtual supplier conferences with the topic of modern slavery (action taken since FY 19/20). The conference had the title of ‘ A collaborative approach to tackling modern slavery’. We hosted two one hour session together with Stronger Together covering the following:
Where Lush stands from a policy point of view
An overview of what Modern Slavery is - What is the problem globally, in the UK and in different sectors
The UK Government's & International Response - A businesses’ responsibility to tackle modern slavery
Who are the victims, how are they exploited and where?
Next steps and further resources
A total of around 110 suppliers were able to join the live sessions and a recording was shared with everyone who was unable to attend.
In addition to training we have also participated in public discussions around modern slavery (action taken since FY 19/20).
Key performance indicators to measure the effectiveness of steps taken in 2019/20 & what Lush wants to achieve during 2020/21. Due diligence processes / Risk assessment and management
We use key performance indicators to measure how effective we’ve been in combating slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply chains.
These are the Quantitative & Qualitative indicators we want to report on going forwards:
Number of high-risk suppliers
Percentage of high value or high-volume suppliers who are/have a high risk modern slavery rating
Percentage of suppliers who have had a third-party ethical/social audit
Percentage of audits raising non-conformances related to modern slavery
Percentage of modern slavery non-conformances closed within the timeframe stipulated
Number of projects and collaborations established to prevent and address risks in our supply chain
Percentage of suppliers trained in preventing/identifying modern slavery
Percentage of suppliers that have a grievance mechanism in place
Number of suppliers who are aware of modern slavery and taking steps to manage modern slavery risks
Number of suppliers that have made a commitment to tackle modern slavery, for example through a code of conduct or CSR report?
Victims’ feedback on outcomes of complaints and efficacy of grievance procedures and whistleblowing procedures
Stakeholder feedback on efficacy of forced labour strategy
Changes in awareness of suppliers about modern slavery issues
Level of engagement of high priority suppliers
How our tier 1 engages with labour providers
This year (2019/20), we have further strengthened our internal processes in order to be able to monitor and address modern slavery risk as best as we can. The Lush People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share policy, which is based on the Ethical Trading Initiative Base Code and International Labour Organisation’s Fundamental Conventions was sent out to all suppliers last in September 2020 (action taken since FY 19/20). It defines the minimum standards we require to be in place. The policy includes a prohibition of forced, bonded or involuntary labour and also covers these areas:
Employment freely chosen
Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
Safe & hygienic working conditions
Legal minimum wages and legally mandated benefits
Harsh or inhumane treatment
Homeworking & subcontracting
Use of Genetically Modified Organisms
Environment and biodiversity
Chemical management practices
Animal Welfare in Agriculture
Highly Hazardous Pesticides
The policy was sent out together with our latest online supplier survey (the process is described further below) in September 2020. The survey was scheduled to be sent out much earlier in the year but due to the Covid-19 outbreak we had to change our approach as we did not feel it was right to request lots of information from suppliers at a time where many businesses were forced to shut down or were even simply trying to survive. Instead of sending the survey we had initially planned we sent out a quick survey to gather information on Covid-19 (FY 19/20) and how it has affected our suppliers' businesses. We felt it was the right thing to do to reach out to find out more about our suppliers dependence on us as a business, the operational impact Covid-19 has/had, whether suppliers have experienced decreased/increased demand, operational days lost & similar. Most importantly we also wanted to find out about employee availability, welfare policies and practices.
Covid-19 has had a profound impact on the world but it has also created more challenges for people. It has increased vulnerability to slavery, worsened discrimination, increased risks for migrant workers and disrupted anti-slavery efforts. Human Right protections have been lower for example when we look at India where a number of labour laws have been relaxed in response to the pandemic.
In our last modern slavery statement we said that the Lush People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share policy would be rolled out to all global Lush markets - however this has been delayed due to Covid and is now planned for early 2021.
In May 2019 the business decided to introduce the use of Supplyshift, which is a technology solution that helps to automate a number of ethical sourcing practices across a global supply chain. It covers supply chain mapping, supplier benchmarking, risk analysis, reporting and can help with gaining more transparency. It’s a tool that will support the Lush buying team to visualise the supply chain any possible risk and information in one place. By consolidating all the information about the supply chain in one place it allows for more responsible and productive decisions to be made. In short SupplyShift helps with supplier management, responsible sourcing and supplier engagement.
The use of SupplyShift helps us to raise standards and enforcement measures throughout our supply chains, encourage disclosure, enable us to review policies & get acknowledgment of our policies from suppliers annually, benchmarking suppliers & tracking progress over time, help us decide where to utilise the help of third party auditing and set development targets for suppliers who might not meet our buying policy standards yet.
Further to SupplyShift we have also introduced Maplecroft, a global research house and data analytics organisation that helps with data modelling, risk analysis & forecasting at country and industry level. This enables Lush to have access to 10+ years of Maplecroft data spanning 200 risk indices across 198 countries.
Since publishing our last modern slavery statement we have successfully implemented Supplyshift and Maplecroft systems (action taken during 19/20) and used the system to send out the Covid-19 & People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share supplier assessments as mentioned above.
Lush also has a whistleblowing email address ‘[email protected]’ which is published on the Lush website. This was also communicated to all Lush UK employees via their electronic payslips, to all Lush employees via the global roll out of the whistleblowing policy and to all suppliers via the Lush People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share policy and several other means, to raise awareness.
Where possible, we work directly with suppliers and producers, but long distance relationships take work which is why we (under normal circumstances) conduct regular visits to our overseas (and UK) suppliers to see their operations. Due to the global pandemic this has not been possible to the same extent this year but once things return to a bit more normality our buyers will take the information gathered from our online survey along to these visits, as it forms a good basis for an internal audit.