The number of people in forced labour has risen between 2016 and 2021 – from 24.9 million to 27.6 million
2021/2022 Statement – Combating Modern Slavery
2021/2022 Statement – Combating Modern Slavery
‘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.
‘The economic impact of the Covid 19 pandemic is likely to increase vulnerability to modern slavery in the short term, in particular in low- and middle-income countries, which is likely to affect workers in supply chains for goods to the UK. The pandemic has increased vulnerability to modern slavery worldwide as many underlying drivers have worsened. Certain population groups, sectors and geographies have become more vulnerable to modern slavery during the pandemic, particularly already vulnerable groups such as children, migrant workers, women and girls. Some evidence suggests that traffickers adapted their methods to the pandemic, including increased online recruitment and in the UK, identification of victims appears to have been affected, with fewer adults identified, but marked increase in ‘county lines’ referrals, mostly involving UK national children.’ (Policy Brief by the Modern Slavery and Human Rights Policy and Evidence Centre – November 2021)
The number of people in forced labour has risen between 2016 and 2021 – from 24.9 million to 27.6 million –
Finding a reliable way to measure the full magnitude of modern slavery is universally acknowledged as a complex and challenging issue. The varied nature and forms in which Modern Slavery can be defined are vast, and the level of sophistication of the systems which have been developed to ensure that those who encourage or facilitate these horrific crimes remain undetected is sadly increasing.
Whilst some forms of Modern Slavery are overt, there are also much more subtle forms of coercion and control. Situations where a victim’s vulnerability or lack of choice has been abused; where there is a hold over family back home through debt; or where the threat of deportation deprives them of any real freedom and choice.
This, our seventh 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. Lush’s financial year runs from July to the end of June.
On June 15 2021, a UK Modern Slavery (Amendment) Bill was proposed in the House of Lords. The Bill proposes additional disclosure and substantive compliance requirements and would establish penalties for non-compliance with selected aspects of the Act. and aims to prohibit the falsification of slavery and human trafficking statements; to establish minimum standards of transparency in supply chains in relation to modern slavery and human trafficking; to prohibit companies using supply chains which fail to demonstrate minimum standards of transparency.
Lush welcomes this amendment, which was the UK Government’s response to both a public consultation launched in July 2019 and an Independent Review commissioned by the Home Office in 2018 to assess the effectiveness of the Act. The public consultation had sought views from businesses, public bodies, investors, and civil society on a range of options to strengthen the Act’s transparency requirements.
The Government accepted several of the recommendations of the Independent Review and committed to making key changes to the Act, including the following:
Despite a clear need for additional legislation, there has been little progress on this amendment since June 2021.
In addition to the UK Modern Slavery Act, and its amendments, similar legislation has been introduced in other parts of the world. These include the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act (2010), French Duty of Vigilance Law (2017), the Australian Modern Slavery Bill (2018) and the German Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz (Lieferkettengesetz or LkSG), known in English as the German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act (SCDDA) which comes into force on January 1, 2023.
Many countries in which we operate do not yet have legislation in place, but are either debating or have already reached agreements on mandatory human rights regulations. These include, Canada (Bill S-216, an Act to enact the Modern Slavery Act and to amend the Customs Tariff) & the EU, who have published “Guidance on due diligence to help EU companies to address the risk of forced labour in their operations and supply chains.”
Further Acts such as the UFLPA (Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act) in the USA (which establishes a rebuttable presumption that the importation of any goods, mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China) is prohibited by Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 and that such goods are not entitled to entry to the United States; are opposed by acts, such as the Chinese Anti-Foreign Sanctions Law (AFSL), which makes it illegal for Chinese companies to comply with the requirements of American customers by forbidding them to provide the required information.
As a global, progressive business we always seek to go above and beyond the legislation within the countries that we operate, and are striving for global alignment.
As we have manufacturing operations within Australia and California we have written dedicated statements on tackling Modern Slavery within these markets.
This statement details what Lush is doing to combat the risks of modern slavery and human trafficking within our own business and our supply networks. The statement also provides an update on the activities and commitments detailed in our previous (sixth) Modern Slavery Statement and the steps taken during our financial year July 20221 – June 2022.
Finally, it outlines Lush’s commitments towards mitigating the risk of modern slavery in our supply networks and business going forward.
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 worked 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. More than 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 12,000 people throughout the Lush Group during peak production. We also have 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, digital channels and collaborative partners.
Lush prides itself on its innovation and creativity, and therefore the number of products we produce is constantly evolving. We sold an average of 1,500 product lines globally within FY22. 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.
As mentioned in our 2019/2020 statement, we have adopted the Stronger Together Framework for actioning our response to modern slavery, and you can see our progress against this below.
Lush products are for sale in our shops, on our website and through our carefully selected 3rd party partners. They are invented in-house and manufactured by our own factories. The Creative buying team manages the supply networks of our product and raw material suppliers who are selected based on ethical, sustainable and commercial criteria, and are supported by the integrated ethical compliance team.
Product supply networks are complex, involving a number of different processes; and Lush’s supply networks are no exception. Although we try wherever possible to buy as direct to source as we can, most supply networks are made up of several tiers stretching over numerous countries. We source around 2500 raw materials, from more than 80 countries globally, with an annual UK buying spend of £47.3m and a combined global buying spend of £93.3m).
We have many supply networks that contribute to the operation of our business and as the Lush business continues to grow in size, so do our supply networks. For example, our raw materials are sourced from a global network of over 1000 suppliers (this includes raw materials, packaging and consumables) who help to support our global manufacturing operations. 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 and we also grow materials ourselves via agricultural projects and direct partnerships around the world. From the early days of buying we learned from the adulteration of our essential oils that it is vital to gain an understanding of each material, from who is involved in its supply to the local impacts of its production 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. Due to this 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.
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 networks. These policies are reviewed, communicated to and acknowledged by new and existing suppliers and also communicated to all Lush business partners. Suppliers are also reminded of our policies via every purchase order they accept. As a minimum requirement we ask all of our suppliers to acknowledge and comply to the following policies / documents (in addition to our strict Non Animal Testing Policy and declaration):
Our Anti-Slavery & Human Trafficking Policy
This policy, last updated in June 2021, 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 within our supply network.
This policy applies to everyone working for us or on our behalf in any capacity, including employees, directors, agency workers, seconded workers, volunteers, interns, agents, contractors, external consultants, suppliers, third-party representatives and business partners. Anyone 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.
Our Modern Slavery Remediation Policy
In FY 20/21, we published publicly our Modern Slavery Remediation Policy. Lush recognises the responsibility that we share with our suppliers to provide remedy to victims of slavery. Successful remediation is not easy to achieve and requires a victim-led, consultative and multi-stakeholder approach.
The Lush remediation policy is drawn from best practice guidance on remediation and builds on the requirements of International Labour Organisation Conventions, Protocols, Recommendations and Instruments such as the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and the Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The policy is intended to provide a practical framework for us as a businesses to apply remedy, should we encounter victims of slavery in our business or in our supply chains.
Our People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share Buying 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: Anti bribery and corruption – We Are Lush
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 and 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 also include the ‘employer pays’ principle in our buying policy document.The People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share Buying Policy helps us to ensure that our supply networks match our core values.
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 networks 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 networks 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.
The risk of modern slavery lies everywhere; in all tiers of a companies supply network and within their own operations. For Lush, one of the sources identified as being high risk was mica, which is why we have moved away from sourcing natural mica and consequently made the decision to go completely natural mica-free as of January 2018.
We utlise a variety of tools within the business to help us understand our supply chain risks.
In May 2019 the business decided to introduce the use of a supplier management software solution that helps to automate ethical sourcing practices across global supply networks. Within the software, it had the ability to support:
This tool has supported the Lush buying team to visualise the supply networks and allows for more responsible and productive decisions to be made.
Last year the decision was made to expand on the work that our initial provider allowed us to undertake, by adding all of our suppliers from all business units to a more sophisticated system that would allow us to dive deeper into the supply network.
The use of this software helps us to raise standards and enforcement measures throughout our supply networks, 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 the above, we also have a relationship with 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 data which quantifies our risk by commodity and country.
We have used this information to create a risk based approach to how we will prioritise visiting our suppliers.
Last FY year, our buyers were still subject to internal business restrictions around travel, and therefore supplier visits remained minimal. Since July 2022, travel has recommenced and supplier visits are now underway. We will be able to report on the number of suppliers visited again in next year’s statement.
Further to our decision to stop using Mica, this year we have further analysed our portfolio of raw materials to assess the modern slavery risks for other high risk mined materials. Lush uses several mined materials within its products, such as Kaolin, Calamine and Talc. These products are integral to our formulas, and we decided to act in order to further transparency and understanding within these supply networks.
After forming a working group with all interested stakeholders & suppliers, we conducted a pilot transparency mapping exercise to further understand the complexities of sourcing this material, and the conditions at the mining source. 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. We hope that this policy will be made publicly available in FY 22/23.
Our focus on the palm industry began in 2006 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 its supply networks. During FY21/22 we achieved a 9.96% decrease in palm usage against the previous year. Further to this we have implemented due diligence questions and a process for palm, which has enabled us to get more transparency for our materials SLS and SLES this year. In some instances we gained visibility of countries of origin and visibility of some palm plantations.
The full details around our reduction of palm oil derivatives can be found in our 2020 palm report.
We have worked on an audit plan of our high risk suppliers (based on spend, country of origin and industry) and will start conducting visits during FY 22/23. We will be using a mix of different approaches eg. commodity assessments, 3rd party audits etc.
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 Rights 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.
The impact on the supply networks was exacerbated further by the restrictions placed on the movement of people, and therefore migrant workers, and also the lack of ability from NGO’s and Retailers to maintain their presence within manufacturing sites. Workers, and especially migrant workers, may have personal and professional circumstances which do not allow them to socially distance, work at home or take a day off without pay, making them especially vulnerable.
As a business, we wanted to understand the deep impact that Covid had on our supply chains, and if there was anything that we could do to help alleviate some of the pressure. In 2020 we devised an Impact Assessment around Covid-19 which was issued to over 300 UK primary and lower tier suppliers, of which 162 responded.
The topics covered within the questionnaire covered Supplier dependency, Operational impact, Employee welfare and Covid response. From the responses that we received (43%) we were able to highlight suppliers that were in need of assistance more than others.
We worked to understand suppliers that were more vulnerable, and in some instances improved our payment terms or paid partially in advance. We also offered practical support where it was needed, funding PPE (mask & sanitation stations) and provided preventative training for women’s collectives growing some of our ingredients. We also provided emergency support for some of our suppliers in India, totalling around £24K)
Around 12,000 people work for Lush globally ( Lush Group Employees (Retail, Digital, Manufacturing and Support), 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. We started our training programme in 2018, and since then have expanded this to a wide variety of departments and colleagues across the Lush global business.
We have organised sessions for individual teams and hosted a virtual session on modern slavery, which was recorded to maximise accessibility. 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.
This year, we have provided training to a number of our teams:
Manufacturing – 92
Support Teams – 292
Retail Team Managers – 74
Global Colleagues 132
This brings our training figures to date (November 2022) to:
Manufacturing – 92
Support Teams -403
Retail Team Managers – 74
Global Colleagues 132
We also hosted a more specialised course for those in roles where there was potential for them to come across potential victims of modern slavery. This workshop covered:
29 colleagues took part in this training across three (NA, UK & Croatia) of the Lush Group locations. As part of this training, we identified the need for additional processes for our People Care team on how to deal with these types of calls, and also to utilise our travel team to provide emergency travel assistance for those in need. Both of these actions were then implemented.
Talking about Modern Slavery
Communicating and keeping Modern Slavery at the forefront of people’s minds is key to making sure that we are constantly doing everything we can to try and eradicate this horrendous practise. We do this through a variety of channels which are accessible internally, to our supply network and publicly too.
Further to the above documents and policies, we have also explored more interactive options for supplier training and successfully hosted two virtual supplier conferences with the title of ‘ A collaborative approach to tackling modern slavery’ on the 5th November 2020.
These two one hour sessions were co hosted alongside Stronger Together and broached the following topics:
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.
Lush also has a whistleblowing email address ‘[email protected]’ which is published on the Lush website. This is 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.
Operational Performance Assessment
Lush has previously used the Stronger Together Organisational Performance Assessment to self-assess how well we tackle modern slavery and hidden labour exploitation as a business (action taken during FY 19/20). The assessment was delivered by a trained and approved business and human rights expert consultant and provided independent verification of our company’s progress in tackling modern slavery.
The OPA has been developed to support companies to evaluate their progress in tackling modern slavery and to inform their next steps to improve the scope and effectiveness of their programmes. The OPA analyses gaps, reports on strengths and provides detailed recommendations and action plans to support a business to make further organisational improvement.
The framework covers six steps:
We have used the output of this assessment to form a framework for this report, but also to guide us with a list of areas we wish to strengthen. We had another assessment planned for FY 21/22 but this has been postponed to later on in 22/23 due to wider business decisions such as the acquisition of Lush NA by Lush UK. This is a positive development for the implementation of the OPA in the future as we now plan to extend the assessment across all manufacturing operations.
We have two main channels through which we would receive potential violations or incidents for concern; via the whistleblowing hotline, or during our own investigations of our supply network.
As part of our aforementioned remediation policy, we have identified a structure for dealing with these incidents. The Lush process for responding to violations will be to:
In FY 21/22 we had a total of 8 number of instances that required investigation, received either directly to our customer care teams, instore, or via the whistleblowing hotline.
Whilst the low numbers of reports is in some ways reassuring, we cannot be complacent and have identified that the awareness and accessibility of the Whistleblowing hotline is something that we wish to refine. A review was conducted in FY 21/22 with a global roll out to make this more accessible next year.
We use key performance indicators to measure how effective we’ve been in combating slavery and human trafficking in our business and supply networks.
In September 2020, we launched the first set of surveys for suppliers to review and agree to our People Care, Earth Care and Fair Share Buying Policy and self-assess their organisation against the criteria covered within the policy.
In April 2022, we signed a new contract with an alternative software provider (see above) to be able to report on a global scale. This means that whilst we are in this migration process, the way in which we report has been affected.
These are the Quantitative & Qualitative indicators that we highlighted that we wished to measure in last year’s report. These have been unable to be updated due to system migrations but will be updated as soon as the information is available for all Lush Group companies.
We also had a number of KPIs that were focused more on our other internal actions such as training and development internally. More details around these can be found throughout the report, however the below provides an overarching summary.
It’s been said that Lush is like a campaigning organisation fronted by a soap shop. We are active and vocal about the issues that we care about, and use our shop windows and website as a way to highlight them.
Last financial year (28th February – 6th March) we hosted a campaign in partnership with After Exploitation, calling on Part 5 of the Nationality and Borders Bill to be scrapped.
Under Part 5, survivors of modern slavery would no longer be guaranteed a right to support (such as safe housing, counselling, or financial subsistence). Meanwhile, Part 5 would also see certain ‘types’ of victims, such as those with a criminal conviction or barriers to sharing abuse ‘quickly enough’, subject to new bans from support.
Help for victims is already patchy and hard to access, but these new rules will make it even more difficult. The two most worrying changes are a new time limit on victims having to report abuse and a denial of access to help to anyone convicted of a crime. Anyone not meeting these new rules will not be able to access help, support and benefits. After Exploitation and other groups are concerned that these rules punish people for the very things they have suffered. Abuse victims are known to take a long time, often many years, to be able to face up to and report the abuse and likewise, slavery victims are often forced into illegal activities so can often come up against the law and face prosecution for the very thing they were forced to do.
Each of Lush’s 101 storefronts across the UK carried the slogan: “Don’t let the Government rip up support for modern slavery survivors”, alongside a QR code and URL, so that customers could quickly and easily take part in the Scrap Part 5 action.
At Lush, we like to look after those who look after others, and we are committed to supporting small, grassroots groups and other non-profit Human Rights organisations.
Globally we have made 598 donations to Human Rights groups from our Charity Pot Sales in FY2022 (including groups supporting migrants, refugees and groups tackling slavery and human trafficking) – £3.2 million were donated in total to these groups. In the UK alone we have made 231 of these donations totalling £530K. (+ £146K from 20/21)
(Breakdown of donations by cause)
Via other funds (Product Campaigns) during FY 21/22 we have donated £332k to Human Rights groups of which £7.2k went to groups working with refugees and asylum seekers.
A full list of the charities we have supported can be found on our website here.
We encourage Charity Pot applications from all Human Rights organisations through our website. Please see our Charity Pot Guidelines for more information.
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.
This statement is made pursuant to section 54 (1) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes our Group’s slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ending 30/06/2022. It has been issued on behalf of the Lush Group, approved by the Lush board of directors and covers all UK Lush Entities including Lush Ltd, Lush Retail Ltd, Lush Manufacturing Ltd and Lush Cosmetics Ltd.
Signed by: Hilary Jones, Ethics Director
Date: 15th December 2022
If you or someone you know is being or has been exploited or you are unsure if someone is in need of help, assistance and advice is available: