Dobbies Garden Centres Group Limited and its subsidiaries (“Dobbies”) is the UK’s leading garden centre retailer with 70 centres throughout the UK and a growing online business. Our product range extends to plants, gardening, food, pet, indoor and outdoor living together with restaurants in most of our centres.
We have a zero-tolerance approach to modern slavery. We are committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all of our business dealings and relationships, together with the implementation and enforcement of effective systems and controls to ensure modern slavery is not taking place anywhere in our own business or in any of our supply chains.
This Modern Slavery Statement is made in relation to the financial year ending 28 February 2021.
Over 80% of our plants and gardening products are sourced from within the UK. In 2020, we reviewed and refined our supplier base, with a significantly reduced number of suppliers (c. 300) providing products to us
Integrity of our supply chain
Rigorous procedures are in place to ensure the integrity of all our suppliers. In particular, we are focused on building confidence and strong relationships with reputable suppliers and import partners from the Far East, ensuring we make informed sourcing decisions.
The standards which we set for our suppliers include the following:
- Commitment to our Responsible Sourcing Policy (formerly our Ethical Standards Policy);
- Contractual requirements to comply with UK anti-slavery and anti-bribery laws, together with general obligations to act fairly and in good faith at all times;
- Sedex membership with “in date” satisfactory ethical audits for all factories in the Far East; and
- Satisfactory scoring as a result of our internal ethical standards assessment.
Furthermore, it is our practice to engage only suppliers whose factories we have visited in person. Our internal ethical standards assessment is based upon annual site inspections. Areas of focus include team member facilities and welfare standards, organisation of manufacturing areas, hygiene and cleanliness, and evidence of secure working practices. These inspections are completed by our Commercial Director and Head of Compliance. Unfortunately, site visits were not possible during 2020 but virtual inspections took place instead using videoconference facilities.
We will only engage with suppliers who meet all of these requirements on a continuing basis.
We have an experienced buying team in place with defined areas of product focus, led by our Commercial Director. In addition, all team members in our Central Support Office have completed anti-slavery training via our e-learning platform and are able to recognise potential risks. Our Code of Conduct actively encourages team members to “speak up” if they have any concerns. Our anti-slavery policy has recently been updated and is available to all team members on our intranet.
Compliance in 2020 – and looking forward
Our partnership with Sedex provides transparency in relation to ethical audits and self-audit metrics for our suppliers’ factories. We are pleased to report that our suppliers reported 100% compliance during the year. Furthermore, no ethical sourcing concerns have been reported to date in relation to our current suppliers.
However, we are not complacent and, in addition to maintaining close working relationships with each supplier, we recognise the potential risks of being unable to complete site visits in person whilst coronavirus-related travel restrictions continue. Therefore, it is our plan is to engage independent audit support in 2021/22 as a further safeguard in relation to our Far East suppliers. We are also considering mandating Sedex membership across the remainder of our supply chain and will report on these actions in our 2022 statement.
For the purposes of Section 54 (Transparency in Supply Chains) of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, this statement is Dobbies’ Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement for the financial year ending on 28 February 2021. It was approved by Dobbies’ Board of Directors on 28 April 2021.
Chief Executive Officer