Corporate Social Responsibility
Debenhams Sustainability Report
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Human Rights & Modern Slavery

As a fundamental part of our Supplier Code of Conduct, Debenhams respects International principles of Human Rights, including but not limited to those expressed in our Human Rights Policy, UN Declaration of Human Rights, United Nations Guiding Principles, Sustainable Development Goals and those principles contained within the Modern Slavery Act 2015.

All Ethical Trade policies have ownership at company board level, with the aim to protect employee welfare and basic human rights within our supply chains. These policies have been made in line with the UN guiding principles and are influenced by civil society, unions, NGOs, multi-stakeholder and brand collaboration. 

Those polices are as follows:

Modern Slavery Statement 2016

Modern Slavery Statement 2017

Modern Slavery Statement 2018

Human Rights Policy

Code of Conduct

In 2019, as part of the Ethical Trade strategy we will be introducing detailed policies on Ethical Recruitment and Child Labour Remediation. Though these items are an integral part of the Supplier Code of Conduct, by creating individual polices we hope to strengthen and focus efforts within these areas, with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable.   

Living Wages

(ACT) Action, Collaboration, Transformation – A new way of approaching “Living Wages” in the supply chain

Debenhams is a member of ACT (Action, Collaboration, Transformation), a collaborative agreement between global brands, manufacturers and trade unions that aims to transform the garment, textile and footwear sector by achieving living wages for workers through collective bargaining at industry level.

ACT defines a living wage as:

“A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet the basic needs of themselves and their family, including some discretionary income. This should be earned during legal working hour limits, and should not include overtime.”

Current Progress

All signatory member brands and retailers, including Debenhams, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IndustrialALL Global Union, who represent garment and textile workers. The main mechanisms for change will be:

  • Support of negotiations between trade unions and local governments to achieve collective bargaining agreements 
  • Country specific strategies for implementation of Freedom of Association, negotiated and agreed with the support of trade unions
  • Establish best practice around purchasing practices to reduce negative business impacts on supply chains

To date ACT has already commenced work in Cambodia, engaging with the government and on the ground stakeholders to discuss a collective bargaining agreement being implemented at an industry level

In addition, ACT brands have engaged with suppliers through workshops and seminars, to commence dialogue on the challenges around wages. We have also started work focusing on the importance of fair and sustainable Purchasing Practices. At the end of 2017 we completed a self-assessment tool including questions about everything from the initial design stage all the way through to delivery of the products into our stores. The results of this have been used to inform our Ethical Trade strategy going forward.

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