MODERN SLAVERY STATEMENT
This statement sets out Kärcher (U.K.) Ltd.'s actions to understand all potential modern slavery risks related to its business and to put in place steps that are aimed at ensuring that there is no slavery or human trafficking in its own business and its supply chains.
As part of the consumer cleaning machinery/technology industry, the organisation recognises that it has a responsibility to take a robust approach to slavery and human trafficking.
The organisation is absolutely committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking in its corporate activities, and to ensuring that its supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking.
Organisational structure and supply chains
The Kärcher Group is the leading global provider of technology for the cleaning of transport equipment, buildings and surfaces, as well as for the purification and pumping of liquids. Our range of products includes machines for private households (Retail Business Unit) and cleaning machines and systems for commercial, industrial and municipal operators (Professional Business Unit), as well as accessories, cleaning and maintenance products and spare parts.
Countries of operation and supply
We have a global presence with 40,000 trading partners and 50,000 service centres.
Kärcher in the UK is a £130m+ subsidiary of the German parent, Alfred Kärcher GmbH & Co. KG, based near Stuttgart, Germany.
The group includes 100 companies in 60 countries. Production facilities are located in Germany, Italy, Romania, Brazil, Mexico, China and the USA, with logistics sites in Germany, China and the USA.
The following is the process by which the company assesses whether or not particular activities or countries are high risk in relation to slavery or human trafficking:
Every year, Kärcher sells more than twelve million cleaning machines, manufactured at 20 locations in seven countries. In order to produce and sell those machines during the last three years, we have procured goods and services from approximately 20,000 suppliers throughout the world.
Our annual supplier audits are carried out by the Purchasing and Quality Management departments. All audits include the issue of quality as well as social, environmental and work safety standards. Our suppliers are obligated to adhere to our compliance rules; new suppliers must sign our code of conduct.
Companies that apply for supplier status are not only required to sign the Kärcher Code of Conduct and the Kärcher Environmental Standard but also to answer a whole series of questions.
Kärcher Code of Conduct
The Kärcher Code of Conduct, which was first published in 2008 and updated in 2010, identifies nine principles of social responsibility. These principles include respect for human rights, the condemnation of child labour and forced labour and the rejection of corruption. Other issues relate to the freedom of association and fair remuneration for employees as well as work and environmental protection.
All suppliers must sign the code.
Since 2011, Kärcher has been a member of the UN Global Compact and is guided by the principles defined therein for all activities.
As a market leader, Kärcher feels obliged to demand the same high social standards for the employees and workers in supplier factories that apply to its employees in Germany.
Fair wages are just as important as the workers' rights to free speech and assembly and their freedom of association.
The organisation operates the following policies that describe its approach to the identification of modern slavery risks and steps to be taken to prevent slavery and human trafficking in its operations in the UK.
- Whistleblowing policy
The organisation encourages all its workers, customers and other business partners to report any concerns related to the direct activities, or the supply chains of the organisation. This includes any circumstances that may give rise to an enhanced risk of slavery or human trafficking. The organisation's whistleblowing procedure is designed to make it easy for workers to make disclosures, without fear of retaliation.
- Employee code of conduct
The organisation's code makes clear to employees the actions and behaviour expected of them when representing the organisation. The organisation strives to maintain the highest standards of employee conduct and ethical behaviour when operating abroad and managing its supply chain.
The organisation undertakes due diligence when considering taking on new suppliers, and regularly reviews its existing suppliers.
UK modern slavery training that is available covers:-
- our business's purchasing practices, which influence supply chain conditions and which should therefore be designed to prevent purchases at unrealistically low prices, the use of labour engaged on unrealistically low wages or wages below a country's national minimum wage, or the provision of products by an unrealistic deadline;
- how to assess the risk of slavery and human trafficking in relation to various aspects of the business, including resources and support available;
- how to identify the signs of slavery and human trafficking;
- what initial steps should be taken if slavery or human trafficking is suspected;
- how to escalate potential slavery or human trafficking issues to the relevant parties within the organisation;
- what external help is available, for example through the Modern Slavery Helpline, Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority and "Stronger together" initiative;
- what steps the organisation should take if suppliers or contractors do not implement anti-slavery policies in high-risk scenarios, including their removal from the organisation's supply chains.
Kärcher UK has raised awareness of modern slavery issues by highlighting the importance of the Act and making employees aware of the content and location of our Policy, including the external help that is available through the Modern Slavery Helpline.
This statement has been approved by the organisation's board of directors, who will review and update it annually.
Simon Keeping, Region President & Managing Director, Kärcher UK Ltd.
Mark Venner, Chief Operating Officer, Kärcher UK Ltd.