Modern Slavery Statement - Interim Year End 2018/2019

This statement is written in accordance with s.54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 for the interim 2018/2019 financial year. This statement sets out the steps that Sofology has taken, and is continuing to take, to ensure that modern slavery or human trafficking is not taking place in any area of our business or supply chain.

Modern slavery encompasses slavery, servitude, human trafficking and forced labour.  Sofology Ltd has a zero-tolerance approach to any form of modern slavery and, as outlined in this statement, will take all appropriate actions to assist in the abolition of modern slavery. We are committed to acting ethically, with integrity and with transparency in all business dealings and we have put effective systems and controls in place to safeguard against any form of modern slavery taking place within our business or supply chain.

Our Business

Sofology is a UK furniture retailer and we sell, deliver and install high quality sofas and occasional items through online and telephone sales, and through our stores. Our sofas are handmade to order by our suppliers.

We have close, stable and longstanding relationships with our suppliers and our senior leadership within Buying and Supply Chain teams visit our suppliers on a regular basis.  Our occasional products are sourced from trusted wholesalers and the distribution of our products is largely in-house managed and operated. 

Our Suppliers

We operate a Supplier Policy and maintain a preferred supplier list. We conduct due diligence on all suppliers before allowing them to become a preferred supplier. Agreement to our Anti-Slavery Statement forms part of our engagement  with our suppliers. We maintain the right to terminate relationships at any time should any instances of modern slavery come to light.

We directly employ approximately 278 Drivers, Installation Technicians and Warehouse Operatives who work in our own UK based depots. We work with 13 upholstery manufacturers with several manufacturing in the Far East. We have long standing relationships with both our manufacturers and shipping providers and work closely with all parties to ensure compliance with our Anti- Slavery Statement. 

Operations

At busy periods or when logistically necessary, we use respected, locally sourced agency/ contracted delivery teams and Warehouse Assistants. We monitor their performance alongside our own colleagues using a variety of measures such as NPS customer satisfaction.

Relevant Policies

We strive to act with integrity and transparency at all times and we operate a number of internal policies and ‘need to know’ ways of working to assist in safeguarding against human rights infringements including: Recruitment Policy, Whistleblowing Policy, Health and Safety Policy, Harassment and Bullying Policy, Equal Opportunities Policy and Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. 

Our Whistleblowing Policy encourages colleagues to report any unethical practices either internally or externally to the business including suppliers.  All reports are taken extremely seriously and are fully investigated.

Risk Assessment and Due Diligence

The Board of Directors have overall responsibility for corporate governance, including any anti-slavery initiatives.  We acknowledge there is a risk of exposure to modern slavery in our supply chain. As part of our commitment to mitigating any risks we have increased our focus within the business by:

  • Committing to building Modern Slavery adherance requirements into Supplier SLAs.
  • Continuing to audit our supply chain with specific emphasis and regular visits, both announced and unannounced.
  • We are committed to establishing a Code of Conduct within the DFS Group which we expect all suppliers to sign up to that recognises our standards and is audited regularly.
  • Increasing standards of reporting both internally and externally by suppliers to encourage collaboration in following the guidelines of the Modern Slavery Act 2015. 

Colleague Training:

We plan to put every colleague through a core learning module on Modern Slavery to mitigate any risks. The Senior Leadership Team and Management Team will regular receive updates on completion rates to ensure everyone completes this module. Training is currently being built and will be launched in July 2019. 

Assessment of Effectiveness:

Sofology recognises that the commitment to a zero tolerance policy to human rights abuse is a continual journey and we will continue to assess the effectiveness of our programme through internal and external audits.