Fairness is a critical part of our sustainability programme. For us, fairness is about upholding human rights, celebrating individuality and making sure everyone feels safe and respected in the workplace.
Our commitment is to ensure everyone working on our behalf, in an environment we control, is given equal opportunities, protected from discrimination and paid at least the Real Living Wage.
What we've achieved
We are committed to a fair wage at all levels of the business and fully support the UK Living Wage Foundation’s approach of a hard day’s work deserving a fair day’s pay.
While we continue to pay the Real Living Wage to all of our direct employees and partners across our London office portfolio, we have not been able to meet our 2020 Living Wage commitment fully across our retail portfolio. Recognising the impact the pandemic has had on businesses, particularly the retail sector, The Living Wage Foundation is allowing businesses to pause their accreditation during the pandemic. We will review our accreditation by November this year when there will be more certainty on the reopening of the UK economy.
Tackling Modern Slavery
During 2020, we again carried out due diligence across our business activity through our worker engagement surveys which are carried out by an accredited third party. This covered a range of issues including debt bondage, labour exploitation, fair payment, health, safety and discrimination. We targeted high-risk areas of our supply chain, focusing on construction labour in the UK. Due to the pandemic, we had to postpone some surveys, but resumed in August 2020.
We interviewed 91 individuals at three sites and found no instances of modern slavery. To further improve our approach to identifying and managing modern slavery risk in our business and supply chain, this year we worked with not-for-profit modern slavery specialist Stronger Together, who performed a gap analysis to identify areas for improvement. This reviewed all key business functions including procurement, risk, operations and development, and provided recommendations for improved governance, training, and management systems. We have collaborated with Stronger Together to develop a strategic implementation plan to address the recommendations.
In March 2021, we launched our new Modern Slavery Working Group, to provide practical insight and feedback on this, and continue to develop our policies, processes and resources.
You can find out more about our approach to fairness and how we’re addressing the risks of modern slavery in our Modern Slavery Statement below: