Our Co-op has a proud history of leading the way on ethical trade – it’s a proud tradition that we began with the Rochdale Pioneers and continues to the present day.  We’ve focused on preventing modern slavery in our supply chains and have campaigned for reporting by businesses of the steps they have taken to seek out modern slavery.

Earlier this year we set up a programme called ‘Bright Future’ – this provides paid work placements for victims of modern slavery. It provides them a chance for them to rebuild their lives and, where we can, an offer of permanent employment. This represents a strong start but there is much more we can achieve.

Our Co-op will not stand by and let this crime against communities and individuals continue unchecked – that’s why at this year’s AGM a motion has been proposed which will commit our Co-op to campaign against this monstrous injustice and to provide support for victims in the UK.

Bright Future has the potential to be adopted by employers throughout the UK.  With members support, we aim to encourage more action from Government and greater engagement with charities and employers to offer victims of modern slavery a chance to rebuild their lives wherever they are in the UK.  We’ll also commit to raise awareness and understanding of Modern Slavery amongst our members, colleagues and customers – and also of our suppliers and other businesses – not only about what it is but what we can do together to prevent it.

Our AGM fringe event will provide an opportunity for members to hear directly from those who work with victims and to debate what more our Co-op can do to provide support to them – enabling them to become survivors.

Paul Gerrard
Group Policy and Campaigns Director

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