Our Bright Future programme

Offering employment to survivors of modern slavery.

In April 2017 we launched our Bright Future programme, which offers the opportunity of a paid work placement and a job in our food business to those who have been rescued from modern slavery. Our goal is to offer at least 30 people this opportunity within the programme’s first year. We report on our progress in our annual modern slavery statement.

Progress so far

In October 2017, we commissioned the University of Liverpool to carry out an independent interim review of Bright Future, to help us understand what’s working well, what we could do better, and where our opportunities are for the future. We published the review on 8 November and shared it with people and organisations who are tackling modern slavery in the UK.

You can read the interim review here.

What is modern slavery?

The UK Government defines modern slavery as including slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking. Traffickers and slave drivers coerce, deceive and force individuals against their will into a life of abuse, servitude and inhumane treatment.

It is estimated there are more people in slavery than ever before. In 2016 there were 3,805 potential victims recorded in the UK.

Victims need support to rebuild their lives. Central to this is the dignity that paid, freely-chosen employment provides.

Without this there is a chance that they could fall back into the hands of those who would exploit them.

What is the Co-op doing about it?

In 2016 we formed a partnership with the charity City Hearts to develop our Bright Future programme. Bright Future provides a pathway to paid employment for survivors of modern slavery.

Bright Future is a new approach, the first time a major UK business has offered work placements to survivors of modern slavery.

The people we’re working with have been through terrible ordeals and we want to make sure that what we’re doing is right for them and makes a difference to their lives - but is also sustainable.

That’s why we’re asking other businesses to get involved and roll out Bright Future in their businesses.