This statement has been published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015. It sets out the steps taken by the Behrens Group during 2023 / 2024 to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains.
As Manchester’s oldest textile company, we have been supplying fabrics and finished products into all areas of the textile wholesale and retail markets for close to 200 years. Ever since the industrial revolution, international trade has been an integral part of our operations and our well-established sourcing & distribution networks currently spread across five continents: Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Africa. The Behrens of today is a sixth-generation family-owned business, managed by the descendants of Sir Jacob Behrens who established the company in 1834.
The Behrens Group Ethical Purchasing Policy (EPP) sets out our commitment to worker rights and our expectations of our suppliers. It is based on the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code. Clause 1 of the code states that employment must be freely chosen, with no forced, bonded or involuntary labour.
The EPP is approved and signed by the Managing Director and can be found on www.behrens co.uk. It is applicable to all suppliers of goods and services.
Suppliers are expected to be compliant in meeting their contractual requirements and all relevant Behrens Group policies, including the EPP. In applying the policy, suppliers must also comply with all relevant national and other applicable laws.
We complete the Labour Standards Assessment hosted on the Cabinet Office website. The assessment is performed yearly and an independent report is produced.
This assessment looks in-depth at a number of themes to understand how our organisation manages its business activities and relationships to ensure that the risk of labour standards violations is addressed and minimised.
These themes include working hours and pay; indicators of forced, bonded and child labour; and human rights.
The assessment compares our organisation's responses against industry standards, best practice and legislative requirements.
The assessment covers the following key areas:
- Policies or codes of conduct which address labour standards and the organisation's commitment to
preventing forced, bonded and child labour.
- Senior level leadership and responsibility.
- Worker rights in relation to freedom of association, collective bargaining, working hours and wages/remuneration.
- Grievance and reporting mechanisms for forced, bonded and child labour, and human rights violations.
- Assessment of due diligence and compliance with key legislation including the EU Charter of
Fundamental Rights, ILO Principles, UN Global Compact, Ethical Trading Initiative's Base Code and social management systems such as SA 8000.
Our due diligence processes are robust and help us to uncover areas in our supply chains where the risks of modern slavery are greatest. However, modern slavery is a criminal activity and the signs can often be difficult to identify, so tools such as ethical audits can only get us so far. That is why we go further with the initiatives described in this statement During 2023, the Behrens Group did not identify instances of modern slavery in its supply chain.