AGM update: modern slavery

What we've done about modern slavery since the last AGM.

At the 2017 AGM you voted overwhelmingly to champion a better way of doing business by tackling modern slavery.

This is a summary of our key activity in the last year.

Bright Future

We've continued to grow our Bright Future programme, which offers victims of modern slavery paid work placements. In 2017 we:

  • set up partnerships with 6 more charities who are experienced in supporting survivors of modern slavery: the Snowdrop Project, Sophie Hayes Foundation, Kalayaan, Hope for Justice, the Medaille Trust and The Jericho Trust
  • started discussions with 4 more charities (Olallo House, Bakhita House, Migrant Help and Black Country Women’s Aid)
  • were joined by 12 businesses including four of our food suppliers, several independent Co-op societies and other retailers and businesses
  • commissioned the University of Liverpool to carry out an independent interim review of Bright Future, to help us understand opportunities for the future of the programme

Lobbying and influencing

We've lobbied government and influential organisations and groups on the issue. In the last year we:

  • supported Lord McColl’s Private Members’ Bill on enhanced support for Victims of Modern Slavery and the #Freeforgood campaign
  • took part in the Expert Group set up by Baroness Lola Young on her Private Members’ Bill on Transparency in Supply Chains
  • took part in the Business Against Slavery Forum at the invitation of the Home Secretary
  • submitted evidence to the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into Support for Victims of Modern Slavery and evidence to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry into Human Rights and Business
  • engaged with a number of influential groups and individuals, including: the All Party Parliamentary Group on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery, Scottish Government Implementation Group on Human Trafficking and Exploitation, Scottish Government Stakeholder Forum, the Office of the Anti-Slavery Commissioner, Anti-Slavery International, Human Trafficking Foundation, Salvation Army and Unseen.
  • shared our experience and insight with a wide range of stakeholders including being a member of the Evening Standard Expert Panel on Slavery chaired by Cardinal Nichols and speaking at a UN Women Conference on slavery

Raising awareness

To help raise awareness of Modern Slavery among colleagues, members and communities we've:

  • held awareness raising activities on Anti-Slavery Day for colleagues in our support centre in Manchester, together with Stop the Traffik and Greater Manchester Police
  • included sessions on modern slavery at a number of Co-op ‘Shape Your Community’ member events across the UK
  • included ‘Spot it and Stop it’ messages in our social media communications
  • placed adverts in national newspapers to mark Anti-Slavery Day in October, to promote the UK Modern Slavery Helpline and provide guidance
  • signed up to support London Evening Standard call to action on modern slavery

In 2018

Our next steps on Project Bright Future in 2018 include extending our partnership with City Hearts and supporting them to set up a National Matching System for businesses and charities, and recruiting more businesses to offer placements to victims.

We will also be working with the Sophie Hayes Foundation to provide pre-employment training.

In 2018 we’re planning to increase our colleague, member and public awareness-raising activities further, including carrying out further research to check people’s awareness.

Modern slavery statement

Our modern slavery and human trafficking statement explains what we did during our 2017 financial year to prevent modern slavery taking place in our business and supply chains. You can also read how we did against our 2016 targets in the accompanying table.

Get involved

Spot it and stop it. If you want to report a suspicion that you think may be modern slavery contact the modern slavery helpline. Your call will be dealt with confidentially.

Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers to report a crime anonymously on 0800 555 111

Share - We want members to ask questions of every business they buy from about what has been done to seek out and prevent modern slavery in their supply chains.

Share your thoughts on what we’re doing through #TheCoopway