Soil Association's Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Statement
The Soil Association’s annual turnover from business activities is considerably lower than £36m and while this is below the mandatory reporting threshold for the Modern Slavery Act, we are publishing this statement to demonstrate our support for the eradication of modern slavery and human trafficking.
Soil Association core values and commitments
The Soil Association is a charity committed to helping everyone understand and explore the vital relationship between the health of soil, plants, animals and people. Our values are rooted in the principles of organic agriculture: health, ecology, fairness and care. The humane, equitable and just treatment of all people is core to our charitable mission, and we are committed to ensuring there is no modern slavery or human trafficking within any part of our organisation or our supply chains.
Soil Association structure, employment, supply chains and risk
The Soil Association Limited (the “Charity”) is a registered company limited by guarantee and a charity registered with the Charity Commission in England & Wales and with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator in Scotland.
The Charity has two wholly owned, not-for-profit trading subsidiaries: Soil Association Certification Limited and SA Sales and Services Limited.
The Charity is sole member of a sister charity: Soil Association Land Trust Limited a charity registered in England & Wales.
All these entities are collectively referred to as the Soil Association Group. Information on the activities undertaken by the Soil Association Group can be found on our website: www.soilassociation.org.
The Charity’s head office is in Bristol, England and there is another office in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Charity employs circa 150 staff across the UK and Soil Association Certification employ circa 150 staff principally in the UK with a small number of overseas employees in EU member states. SA Sales and Services Limited and the Soil Association Land Trust have no employees.
With the exception of some contracted out inspection services in Soil Association Certification and cleaning and security services at our Bristol head office, the Soil Association operates a predominantly directly employed model. Our recruitment procedures ensure that all prospective employees are legally entitled to work in the UK or any other overseas territory where we choose to base employees. We are an accredited Real Living Wage employer, and we have a formal recognition agreement with the UNITE trade union.
Soil Association Group expenditure on its supply chain is approximately £6M per annum. A significant proportion of this sum is payments made under grant-funding arrangements to UK based (non-commercial) partner organisations engaged in the delivery of our charitable programmes. The balance of expenditure is on the purchase of goods and services for the effective running of the Group. The majority of our commercial suppliers are SMEs or self-employed individuals based within the UK, a country with a relatively low risk of modern-day slavery. We have a small number of suppliers and partners operating within the EU as well as some agent arrangements within the global forestry certification business conducted by Soil Association Certification.
We also consider those who purchase services from the Soil Association Group part of our supply chain. We are particularly aware that many of the UK clients of Soil Association Certification are in the agricultural, horticultural, and associated processing and packaging sectors where labour practices are subject to specific regulation designed to protect vulnerable and exploited workers. We also undertake forestry certification activities in some 40 different countries and a number of these territories may present a higher risk of modern-day slavery.
Related policies and practices
The Soil Association carries out reasonable and practical due diligence in the sourcing of goods and services.
As a charity the Soil Association is aware of and compliant with its Safeguarding responsibilities as mandated by the Charity Commission. Safeguarding includes being alert to the risks of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.
Clients of Soil Association Certification are prohibited from engaging in modern slavery or human trafficking. Soil Association private organic standards governing food and farming practice, and forest and forest product certification under FSC and PEFC standards require observance of relevant EU Directives and International Labour Organisation conventions. Further where relevant, checks are made in the UK on Gangmaster and Labour Abuse Authority licensing. Any concerns arising during inspection processes are documented and assessed as part of the certification process.
The Soil Association has an Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy demonstrating commitment to the requirements of the Bribery Act 2010.
The Soil Association has a Whistleblowing Policy that facilitates and encourages employees to raise concerns relating to suspected wrongdoing at work, including concerns that may relate to modern-day slavery or human trafficking.
Staff training about slavery and human trafficking
The Soil Association is committed to raising general staff awareness about modern-day slavery and human trafficking utilising resources such as those available from:
Our approach to modern slavery and human trafficking risk will continue to evolve as regulation, the scope and scale of our operations and our organisational understanding of the issue grows.
The Soil Association will review this statement and its objectives annually and update it as appropriate.