Modern Slavery Statement (Updated May 2023)
Introduction – What is Modern Slavery?
Modern Slavery is an international crime, affecting millions of people worldwide. No industry can consider itself immune from Modern Slavery. It has no place in Woodmansterne’s business, its operations, or any part of the supply chain, and Woodmansterne is committed to improving its practices to combat it.
Woodmansterne Publications Ltd, (Woodmansterne) is a leading publisher, manufacturer, and distributer of greeting cards in the UK. The company also publishes cards under the brands of Cardmix, and The Proper Mail Company, and The Leaf. It manufactures greetings cards, advent calendars, and other social stationary goods though its Croxley Press division based in Watford, UK, and distributes them through its MrPickwick.com division, based in Milton Keynes, UK. In addition, it procures goods manufactured by other production facilities based int the UK, and from China for a limited number of products.
Our Supply Chain
As a manufacturer, Woodmansterne’s supply chain not only involves the purchasing of raw materials (Paper, Board, Ink etc.) but also the use of suppliers that provide finishing services, such as packers. This part of the operation is well established, and steps have been made to reduce the risk of modern slavery, including ceasing operations with home-worker based organisations, to SMETA-certified single-centre machine-packers as well as insourcing.
Production of goods made elsewhere in the UK, is contained to one, industry-leading, SMETA accredited supply partner. For goods produced overseas, Woodmansterne engages a company that specialises in dealing with overseas production. All factories are required to comply with our social compliance policy, as well as being SMETA accredited.
The addition in the last two years of overseas production to our supply chain for a limited number of goods, has introduced an element of risk of slavery or human trafficking. Woodmansterne mitigates such risk by ensuring the relevant 3rd party ethical and technical audits are completed, are up to date, and any corrective action completed and approved. We engage with a long-established industry-leading specialist company to ensure compliance to such audits is maintained.
As a distributer, the company employs pickers and packers at its Distribution Centre in Milton Keynes. Thorough relationships with agencies that supply any temporary labour resources, we ensure they all commit to work in accordance with Woodmansterne’s Social Compliance Policy. As well as new company employees, it is ensured that all agency staff have the appropriate checks made to ensure that they are eligible to work in the UK.
Outsourced services carry a risk of modern slavery, either due to the location where the work is carried out, or the engagement of labour providers and sub-contractors. By only working with trusted suppliers that agree to Woodmansterne’s Social Compliance Policy and who share their views on Modern Slavery, the risk of it entering the supply chain is reduced.
Key members of the management team have been trained on modules regarding Modern Slavery. The learnings from these courses is distributed throughout the business via workshops, 1:2:1 sessions and company site-wide meetings.
Future Work & Continuous Improvement
Woodmansterne continues to review the supply chain process and engage with its suppliers regarding Modern Slavery, as well as providing more training on the subject with its staff as appropriate.
Woodmansterne commits to periodically review this statement and report on progress made in further staff training, updates to policies and procedures, taking into consideration changes in legislation, issues that arise in the wider industry, and any other requirements to which the Company subscribes, in order to ensure the adequacy, suitability and continuing effectiveness of the measures it undertakes to remove the threat of Modern Slavery from its supply chain.
Associated Policies and Procedures
Woodmansterne Social Compliance Policy
New Employee right to work in the UK (as part of the Induction Process)
Update October 2017:
Up until January 2017, Woodmansterne’s mix of contract packers included a supplier that distributed packing work amongst a large network of home-workers. The reason for ceasing operation was not due to any suspicion of malpractice, but that it was felt that there was too high a risk to modern slavery to occur. Woodmansterne set up new supplier agreements with machine packers, all of which signed up immediately to Woodmansterne’s Social Compliance Policy.
Woodmansterne has 1 long-standing relationship with a home-worker. Due to home and dependant family commitments, this worker did not wish to be employed at the Milton Keynes site. The homeworker has regular visits from staff, and audits of their working environment are carried out to ensure that they are clean, safe and appropriate for the work undertaken. Rates of work are regularly reviewed and agreed to ensure that all requirements to legal minimum pay standards are achieved.
It is planned for further members of the management team to also attended workshops which contain extensive modules on modern slavery.
Update October 2019:
Woodmansterne continues to only use machine packers in its mix of subcontract suppliers. It’s relationship with the 1 long-standing home worker continues as before, with regular visits and audits from staff.
Key members of the management team have attended modern slavery workshops run by “stronger together”, cascading their learnings through the wider business.
Modern slavery has been a key topic in monthly ‘Company News’ briefings, which all site staff attend, and additional material has been placed on company noticeboards to further raise awareness
Update October 2023:
Woodmansterne continues to ensure that all suppliers involved in its supply chain, agree to its social compliance policy, based on the ETI base code. Where the business engages with external printers or production houses (such as for Cardmix or other bespoke branded goods), all factories are accredited by SMETA, to ensure the highest Ethical trading standards are met.
Where production is conducted overseas we ensure (via our supply chain partner) all appropriate certifications are maintained, and any corrective action plans are implemented to the satisfaction of the independent auditors. Explicitly, this ensures that prices and deadlines are realistic, and wages meet a country’s national minimum wage.
Further, we have increased and widened training to ensure our employees are better equipped to identify the signs of slavery and human trafficking, and how to escalate this to the relevant parties within the company, alongside the Modern Slavery Helpline.