Tesco recommits to tackling Modern Slavery with updated strategy

Giles Bolton
Giles Bolton
Responsible Sourcing Director

Tesco is committed to taking a leading role in tackling modern slavery in both our own operations and supply chains. This commitment is affirmed in our Human Rights strategy where Modern Slavery is one of four key areas of focus.

Recognising that the risks of modern slavery are constantly evolving, in 2020, we began a review of our modern slavery strategy. Today we are sharing our new strengthened approach that considers the longer-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and labour market changes linked to Brexit on workers in our own operations and supply chains.

Our approach is based on the five factors which we believe create the right environment to eradicate modern slavery. These are:

  • Government legislation and enforcement
  • Responsible recruitment
  • Freedom of movement
  • Effective grievance mechanisms
  • Remediation

All five factors are important and we continue to work collaboratively to drive progress across each of them. However, we have decided to focus more heavily on responsible recruitment in the first instance. This is because decent work starts with responsible recruitment. Our updated strategy will allow us to further embed the Employer Pays Principle in our own operations and supply chains. This means all costs associated with recruitment are the responsibility of the employer.  We will do this through both direct supplier engagement and partnership with industry experts.

“Responsible recruitment is key to preventing exploitation in global supply chains. We welcome Tesco’s continued focus and leadership on this important topic.”

Neill Wilkins, Head of Migrant Workers Programme Institute for Human Rights and Business

By considering both our known areas of risk and leverage, we have identified the regions and supply chains where we believe we are best placed to take a leading role. We will take action ahead of others, using our convening power to advocate for change. These four areas are:

  • Thailand and Malaysia
    • Primary sites and Poultry end-to-end
  • Priority fisheries[1]
  • UK and Central Europe own operations
  • UK seasonal workers - Produce

Further detail on our approach, milestones and key performance indicators can be found in the strategy. Progress will continue to be reported in our annual Modern Slavery Statement.

The complexity of global supply chains means there will always be more to learn and do. We are committed to continuing to work transparently and collaboratively on this topic as well as ensuring the ongoing evolution of our strategy.



[1] Priority fisheries are defined as fisheries that employ migrant workers from Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and those identified through the risk assessment process developed with the Seafood Ethics Action Alliance.



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