Modern Slavery Act 2015 – Transparency Statement
This statement relates to all of the business operated by Aurum Group Limited in the United Kingdom:
- Mappin & Webb
- Watches of Switzerland
- The Watch Hut
- The WATCH Lab
At Aurum, one of our Values is to be ethical, and as a business we do our best to live up to this standard. This Value commits us to being fair, reasonable and responsible in all of our interactions. We would certainly never knowingly engage with a supplier that was in any way involved in human trafficking, servitude, forced labour or any other aspect of modern slavery. However, we recognise that such people and organisations will take steps to conceal the true position, meaning that vigilance is always necessary.
Geographical Reach of our Supply Chain
We source our products from a number of countries around the world, principally:
Responsible Jewellery Council
We are proud to be a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC). This is an independent body that carries out comprehensive audits of its members and aspiring members, to ensure that they met its exacting standards of business practice, not least in relation to the treatment of their employees.
We ask our suppliers to be members of the RJC, or working towards such membership. To that end, fourteen of our current suppliers of jewellery and precious metals are RJC members (and therefore accredited and audited by that body). Amongst our major suppliers the proportion is even greater: ten of our top twelve suppliers (when measured by value of spend) are RJC accredited. Many of the watch brands that we carry are also accredited by the RJC.
Our Supplier Manual and Code of Conduct
Our membership of the RJC is extremely important to us, and a supplier’s membership will naturally give us a good deal of confidence that its products are not tainted by modern slavery or other unacceptable practices. However, not all of our suppliers have this membership, and we therefore need to take further steps to obtain the necessary assurances. To that end, we have produced our own Supplier Manual, which we provide to all of our suppliers of watches, jewellery and precious metals. We ask our suppliers to return a letter of acceptance to confirm that the supplier, and its staff, will comply with the specifications and requirements set out in the Manual.
Within our Supplier Manual is a Supplier Code of Conduct, which contains twelve principles:
- Employment is freely chosen
- Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
- Working conditions are safe and hygienic
- Child labour shall not be used
- Living wages are paid
- Working hours are not excessive
- No discrimination is practised
- Regular employment is provided
- No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed
- Responsible environmental practices
- Zero tolerance of conflict products
- Compliance with Aurum’s Code of Conduct
In order to test compliance with our Supplier Manual and Code of Conduct, we carry out factory visits. On these visits, senior members of our management make a personal check of the factory environment and working arrangements (including health and safety standards).
When we visit a factory for the first time, we require our vendors to sign a specific Statement of Commitment, confirming that they operate in compliance with our Code of Conduct, as well as with applicable laws, rules and regulations.
All of our top ten suppliers of jewellery and precious metals have been visited by our management, who have carried out an audit on behalf of the company.
Transparency and openness on the part of our suppliers is very important to us. We will refuse to carry on business with any organisation that does not willingly agree to let us visit its premises, and in the past year we have done precisely that.
Conflict Diamonds and the Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process is a joint initiative between governments and industry to restrict the supply of conflict diamonds, which are used to finance wars and insurrection against legitimate governments. Further details of the Kimberley Process can be found at www.kimberleyprocess.com
We require that our suppliers of diamonds have signed up to the Kimberley Process, and ensure that they have made a statement to that effect on their invoices.
Our Buying teams are made aware of our Code of Conduct and its requirements, and we explain it to any new recruits to those teams, as part of their induction process. We have a whistleblowing policy in place and our employees are encouraged to inform us if they suspect unacceptable practices, whether within our own business or our suppliers.
Commitment to Improve
We recognise that further steps can always be taken to ensure that nobody involved in the production, distribution and sale of our products is a victim of modern slavery. To that end, we will keep our relationships with suppliers under review, and we will carry out further factory visits with a view to ensuring that all of our significant suppliers have been audited. We will also carry out further training of our Buying teams, to ensure their understanding of, and compliance with, our ethical standards.
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