Taking a firm stance on modern slavery

We work with Carnstone, which operates the Book Chain Project, a programme focused on three areas in the print and publishing industry’s supply chain: forest sourcing, chemicals and materials, and labour and the environment.

Following visits to global printers, Carnstone shares reports with publishers. One report raised modern slavery concerns related to a printer based in Asia and in response to this, we formed a core working group including members from the Procurement Centre of Excellence, Group Ethics and Compliance, and Group Legal. While the team gathered information, no new work was permitted to be sent to the printer. We then made an unannounced visit to the printer that included a tour of its facilities, interviews with management, and a review of on-site records.

The concerns related to the printer’s hiring practices of migrant workers. We made recommendations for improvements, but due to the printer not agreeing to implement them all, we determined that we could no longer work with the organization.

Accordingly, all work we had scheduled to go to this printer was sent to other providers. Following this, we enhanced our supplier visit process to ensure that robust checks relating to the recruitment of migrant workers are conducted for those suppliers at risk of modern slavery. This enhanced process identified a similar concern at another low-value local printer in Asia and, after attempts to address the issues and failure to reach an agreement in line with our ethics, all work with the printer was suspended.

As outlined in our Modern Slavery Act Statement and in keeping with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, we have a zero tolerance approach to modern slavery within all our operations and supply chain, and the above incidences demonstrate our commitment to upholding these principles.