The environment in which we operate is becoming ever more complex and uncertain. Global population is increasing, climate change has been linked to disruptive weather patterns and many natural resources are being utilised beyond the limits of the planet. Everyone can find a way to help tackle these challenges. At Westmill we have established Caring from the Roots Up; our sustainability framework. The framework is designed to go beyond corporate social responsibility (CSR) to help drive positive change throughout our supply chains whilst generating long-term value for our stakeholders.
Caring From the Roots Up focuses on three strategic pillars: Sourcing with Integrity, Supporting our Communities and Respecting our Environment. Our goal is to remain fit for the future by acting with integrity at all times, identifying and working to reduce our exposure to external risks, investing in smallholders, improving our efficiency and in doing so build and maintain consumer trust.
We recognise that the multifaceted social and environmental risks which touch our business will often require multi-stakeholder effort to mitigate and that change will not occur overnight. However, as a responsible business we are committed to our sustainability journey and will continue to focus on the areas where we can best achieve positive change whilst contributing to the relevant United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
We have a robust governance structure for Caring From the Roots Up with overall accountability residing with our Managing Director. Our parent company, ABF is a member of Forum for the Future, whom Westmill have worked with on this framework.
Working in partnership with our suppliers we ensure our products are responsibly sourced throughout our global supply chains. We are committed to respecting human rights and delivering fair standards in working conditions. We have strong sustainable sourcing commitments across key commodities such as egg, rice and spices.
This pillar supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 8:
Decent Work and Economic Growth.
It is important to us to know that our own factories plus those which supply us with raw materials and packaging are committed to respecting our code of conduct. Our ethical trading policy and supplier code of conduct sets out minimum standards on labour, health and safety, environment and business ethics which are in line with the ILO convention and ETI base code.
We proactively ask suppliers to link to Westmill on the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) and provide visibility of SAQ results as well as request suppliers in scope to conduct third party ethical audits where required. These activities help us to monitor and drive continuous improvement in identified issue areas.
As part of ABF, we are committed to tackling Modern Slavery in all its forms as well as wider human rights abuses that may be present in our complex supply chains. As ABF’s 2017 Modern Slavery statement sets out:
“Modern slavery is a global issue that requires global action. It can occur in many different forms including, but not limited to, forced labour, child labour, domestic servitude or human trafficking. As an international business we have a role to play in eliminating these practices as well as respecting human rights across our own operations and supply chains. We value our ongoing engagement and collaboration with a broad range of interested and concerned stakeholder groups to tackle some of these issues. Furthermore, we recognise that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) require businesses to address actual and potential adverse human rights impacts, prioritising those that are most severe or where a delayed response would make them irremediable.”
Westmill’s own Modern Slavery Statement can be found here.
We’re built upon a strong heritage, feeding the vibrant communities that make up the fabric of modern Britain. We are proud to support the communities we serve as well as those in the countries we source from.
This pillar supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 1:
Our volunteering programme gives all employees the opportunity to swap a day at work for active support in organisations local to our manufacturing sites or those which are important to the communities which we serve. Many of us have got involved with raising money or getting ‘hands on’ to support fantastic causes such as Food Cycle. Although these initiatives are small, due to the size of our business we are delighted at the level of engagement we have achieved so far. The pillar is constantly evolving as we identify new partnerships whilst maintaining our longstanding support for cultural events such as the electrifying Vaisakhi Mela.
Our partnership with temples across the UK and food redistribution charities, such as FareShare, also means that we, wherever possible, offer surplus stock to people in need.
Many of our raw materials are purchased from smallholders in Asia who play a vital role in feeding the global population but often live in poverty. We are helping to improve the livelihoods of select smallholder farmers in our key sourcing regions by partnering with local organisations. We engage in a range of activities from financial and agricultural training to the provision of secure market access.
For long term success, our business relies on a secure supply of ingredients and resources. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact and ensuring the sustainability of our key supply chains.
This pillar supports the UN Sustainable Development Goal number 12:
Responsible Production and Consumption.
We recognise that climate change threatens the future of our business and have a role to play in minimising our impact on the environment. Our factories in the UK have developed discrete sustainability action plans setting out ambitious targets to reduce energy consumption, food waste and problematic packaging whilst ensuring water stewardship. We are already zero-to-landfill across these sites and have a strong focus on redistribution of surplus edible food to communities in need. Almost all of the surplus food which is not fit for human consumption is turned into animal feed or energy via our waste management providers. Although we only own four factories, our environmental focus is making a difference.
Westmill has publicly signed WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment and UK Plastics Pact and in doing so agreeing to take action to reduce our food waste and packaging footprints by 2025.
Westmill does not source any raw materials directly, nor do we own any farms; we rely on our approved suppliers to do so and work with them to the areas where we can have a positive influence. We are committed to source sustainably and have started this complex journey by focussing on two of our key commodities, rice and spices. We are members of relevant collaborative bodies such as the Sustainable Rice Platform and actively engage with our suppliers on sustainability.
Collaboration is often critical to help deliver change which is why we have built these important partnerships. Some of which are through our parent company, ABF.