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SUPPLY CHAIN AND MODERN SLAVERY ACT STATEMENT 2019/2020

This statement is drafted and published in accordance with section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, transparency in supply chains. The statement is a summary of the steps taken during the financial year ending February 2020 to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any part of our business or in our supply chain.

Introduction

Founded in Wimbledon in 1990, LK Bennett is a British accessible luxury brand defined by a love of vintage eccentricity, functionality, and tradition with a desire for beautiful design and considered luxury.   We recognise the continued complexity of a global supply chain, understand the risks and severity of modern­ day slavery and human trafficking; we take our responsibility seriously, making every effort to protect the rights and well­being of all those involved.  

Our Business

The parent company of LK Bennett Fashion Ltd. (formerly named Byland UK Ltd) is Ying Ling Kam Trading Company Limited (based in Hong Kong), a Chinese luxury apparel group.

LK Bennett Fashion Ltd. is a multichannel global retailer with over 75 stores, concession partners, and branded locations worldwide. Our vision is to be a Global leader that inspires modern, confident women through luxurious British Design. We employed circa 305 people with an annual turnover of c.£41 million for the year ending February 2020.  

LK Bennett Fashion Ltd. remains true to the origins of L.K. Bennett, offering exceptional quality in all we do.  We are respectful of what is expected of us; a stable supply base and well­ established relationships with suppliers and manufacturers who share our business values. Our unique selection of clothing, shoes and accessories all designed in our London­based head office and beautifully crafted across Europe and the Far East.   

We are proud of the long-­term relationship we have with our suppliers, in 2019, LK Bennett worked closely with 44 primary suppliers, manufacturing at 72 nominated manufacturing sites located in 13 territories worldwide; Austria (0.2%), Bulgaria (1.6%), China (29.2%) (provinces: Guangdong, Hong Kong, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Shandong, Zhejiang),   India (0.4%), Italy (12.5%), Lithuania (1%), The North Republic of Macedonia (6.2%) , Portugal (8.4%), Romania (5.3%), Spain (31.7%), Turkey (0.3%), U.K.(1.7%) and Vietnam (1.5%).

The Top 10 suppliers across all product categories account for 75% of our total purchasing volume, with manufacturing sites in Europe producing 61%, Asia 31% and rest of world 8% of the purchasing volume.
   


Our Brand Values

Quality  

We deliver an unrivalled and consistent level of excellence in everything we do, across all of our products, customer touchpoints and interactions.  

Respect

We respect our customers by delivering what they want and expect from us and even more. We respect employees by encouraging an open and motivating work environment.

Authenticity

We articulate authenticity through genuine people, real design, honest service and by staying true to our values. 

Inspire  

We want to inspire our customers and create an emotional connection with them. We want to inspire our employees to want more and go further.


Policies and Contractual Obligations

LK Bennett Fashion Ltd. seeks to ensure that not only our business but our business partners and those within the supply chain operate a zero­tolerance approach towards slavery and human trafficking, recognising it is complex with multiple layers within a Global supply chain.  

Modern Slavery Definition

  • Forced Labour:  Work or service that is taken from a person under menace of a penalty and for which the person has not offered themselves voluntarily.  
  • Human Trafficking: The act of recruiting, transporting, transferring, harbouring, or receiving a person, through any coercive means (such as threat, use of force, deception, or abuse) for the purpose of exploitation.
  • Debt Bondage: A worker pledging their labour or the labour of others under their control as security for a debt; when either the real value of the work undertaken is never applied to repayment of the debt, or the length and nature of the work that has to be undertaken is never fully defined or limited.  

We continue to be committed to working in collaboration with suppliers, encouraging continual review, development, transparency, working to achieve best practice in all our business operations.   

We require all our final goods manufacturers to adhere to our comprehensive (contractual) Supplier Manual in which we confirm the importance of ethical business policies and working practices both in our own business and within our supply chain.  

Our sourcing principles are based on the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) base code founded on the conventions of International Labour Organisation (ILO) an internationally recognised code of labour practice, designed to be fair and achievable, covering the principles of International law for best practice in rights at work: no child labour, no forced labour, no discrimination, the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, wages, working hours, communication of employment, health and well­being setting a minimum requirement for suppliers and associated manufacturing sites to demonstrate Corporate Responsibility wherever in the world we are operating.  

Due Diligence Processes  

We recognise the greatest exposure to slavery and human trafficking lies within the lower tiers of our supply chain.  To mitigate and manage the risks we continue to focus on transparency and component traceability.  We continue to evaluate and monitor supplier practices with open communication and transparency across our supply base with continual mapping supported by primary supplier declaration: self­ evaluation documents, third party social compliance audits and factory visits.  

During 2019 we successfully mapped first-­tier suppliers, requiring declaration of ethical and environmental policies, sharing copies of social compliance audits and corrective action plans that were in place.  We continue to add details relating to shared practices within the nominated manufacturing sites demonstrating, minimum standards set out in our Code of Conduct: ­

  • Employment Ethics inc. Fair Treatment, Equality and Diversity, Anti­bribery, and corruption ­
  • Health & Safety Practices ­
  • Environmental Practices ­
  • Animal Source Material Ethics

Although we do not rely on social compliance audits alone, we know that any genuine and thorough assessment does inevitably reveal incidents of non­compliance and where breaches are identified, we will endeavour to work closely with our supplier and/or the manufacturer to improve standards recognising a continual need for education and self-assessment both in our business and those who supply us with goods and services.   

Strengthening Supplier partnerships

When we introduce a supplier/manufacturer we do so following our established sourcing principles below:  

  1. All proposed Suppliers must be met in person at LK Bennett Fashion Ltd. Head Office or alternatively in the country of manufacturer.  
  2. All proposed Suppliers are to be registered into our supplier database and accounts systems for transparency. Suppliers are required to complete a New Supplier Set­up form, a Supplier Declaration ­ Factory self­-evaluation form; stating minimum standards and provide a copy of a recent independent IRCA social compliance audit report which has been conducted in compliance with the legislative requirements wherever in the world the manufacturing operates. These documents collate key information on labour practices, working environments and general health and safety practices within the nominated supplying business.  All documentation received is read by a senior member of the LK Bennett Fashion Ltd Technical team and discussed with our Buying director and the proposed supplier.  
  3. All suppliers receive the LK Bennett Fashion Ltd Terms and Conditions during initial discussions outlining the conditions of engagement including the code of conduct and business policies underpinning our minimum expectations of business practices, encouraging shared learning.  
  4. Suppliers are required to sign they have read and agree meet the minimum standards of our responsible sourcing code of practice (please refer to the Code of Conduct), prior to the confirmation of production commitment.  

When beginning a relationship with a supplier, our Design, Buying and Technical teams will work closely with the supplier/manufacturing site to build strong and trusting working partnership.  We maintain an on­going dialogue and process to remedy any identified breaches and improve business policies and practices.   

In October 2019, we held a Supplier day at our London offices, sharing our brand vision and strategy for the future. We recognise the value of communication and involvement, providing a forum for our suppliers to discuss where they may find it difficult to implement improvement projects, helping us to understand and address root causes of recurrent issues rather than walking away where concerns are raised; an example is adjustment within our business critical path to avoid situations where excessive overtime may be required in producing our orders.  We aim to ensure that all workers are protected from excessive pressure and duress.  

Our plan for the future  

With the continued support from our CEO and Leadership team to strengthen our systematic management for transparency of policies and working practices, we will continue to raise awareness of Modern Slavery risks, strengthen our ability to identify key indicators within our supply chain and promote effective remedial actions.  

We recognise slavery and human trafficking is complex and recognise that the risks are not static, the responsibility for Modern Slavery sits with the Board of directors and is executed by the Head of Technical.  We are committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking; we will continue to assess the efficacy of our current actions and measure progress on an annual basis.   

This statement has been approved by the Board of LK Bennett Fashion Ltd. and its Chief Executive Officer, Mr DARREN TOPP.   The publication of this statement has been delayed due to challenges to the business caused by the COVID­19 pandemic

If you have any concerns or questions regarding our MSA statement, please contact LK Bennett Fashion Ltd. Head of Technical and Creative Development, Lynette Bradford: email [email protected]