Modern Slavery Statement

Worldwide Fruit Introduction

This is Worldwide Fruits updated modern slavery statement, and sets out the steps we are taking, and the framework we are aligned to in order to expose, prevent, and remediate modern slavery and human trafficking in our business, and in our supply chains. 

People are at the center of everything we do, and we are driven by being the employee of choice, and a supplier who helps shape the quality of life in a positive way throughout our supply chains.

We are realistic however and are aware that modern slavery and human rights abuses are prevalent within the fresh produce industry, and we must ensure that we have a comprehensive risk assessment strategy to facilitate our goal to uncover, prevent and remediate human rights abuse at all levels within our supply chains and our own business.

Undoubtedly, the covid 19 pandemic, Brexit and the war in Ukraine have further impacted labour supply chains significantly. Farms cannot function without workers and our suppliers both in the UK and abroad need people to carry out the growing, harvesting and packing operations within the businesses we buy from and work with. With the extra pressure being placed on labour supply chains, we are aware of the potential risks that criminal activity within the recruitment business could increase. Our role must remain to be relentless in our goals to ensure fair treatment for all through our human right’s due diligence process.

We are committed to continually developing our comprehension, working with recognised experts, and adapting to the challenges presented in tackling modern slavery in all its forms

Steve Maxwell

CEO Worldwide Fruit

The Worldwide Fruit Business

Worldwide Fruit is an international fruit marketing and distribution company focused on being customers’ first choice.  We supply the UK’s leading supermarkets with a portfolio of fresh produce including Stone Fruit, Top Fruit, and Avocado, working with the very best suppliers globally to source the highest quality fruit.  We have two offices in the UK, in Kent and Spalding, and our packhouse and ripening facilities are in Spalding.

The Worldwide Fruit Purpose

Our Mission is to be the customers first choice.  Our statement of “We care Worldwide” is our commitment to ensure we take a responsible approach to fresh products that we sell, the people we work with and environments we work in.

Our position on the elimination of modern slavery in our business and our supply chains and our commitment to remediation wherever we find modern slavey is embedded in this purpose.

People are the centre of everything we do, and we are driven by being the “employee of choice” and a supplier who helps shape the quality of life in a positive way throughout our supply chains. 

Our commitment to being employees first choice through our culture of coaching and respect for one another underpins our focus on training and development Responsible sourcing is a key pillar to our direction of travel and ensuring that people are treated fairly within this pillar is critical.

The Worldwide Fruit Supply Chain

Our sourcing team works with over two hundred suppliers in forty-six countries to ensure we always supply fruit at its absolute peak, below is a snapshot of our supply chain statistics.

Our primary site is in Spalding in Lincolnshire where we receive, store, ripen and pack fresh produce prior to distribution to the UK Retail and processing sectors. 

We also collaborate with partner packhouses in Kent with whom we have a close relationship and a collaborative approach to Environmental, social responsibility and governance.

We focus closely on the environmental and ethical aspirations of our supply chain, and we want to be regarded as “trusted” on all aspects of sustainability to help us enable being our customers first choice

Health and Safety of our employees, our customers, and the workers within our supply chain is paramount and underpins our business operations.

Our customers are equally as focused and require us to deliver the best product and service to deliver growth with their customers.

We strive to be sustainable and lean, creating value and exceptional quality for our customers throughout our supply chain, but whilst ensuring that people in all parts of our supply chain thrive and can fulfil their potential.

2. Worldwide Fruit Policies and Governance


People, and our Ethical Standards are a fundamental part of how we do business and a key pillar in our strategy.  Our employment standards are defined in our Human Rights policy are based on the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) base code and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles on Rights at Work and the UN Guiding Principles.    Worldwide Fruit is an AB member of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), and the site is registered with a completed self -assessment questionnaire, and a suitable up-to-date independent ethical audit.

We work closely with two labour providers who supply temporary workers.  These labour providers must be actively registered as a licenced labour provider by the GLAA and must also demonstrate a commitment to the Worldwide Fruit ethical policies and standards.  We share best practice and any learning that we gather, but we also ensure that they are audited by ourselves, and that these temporary staff are treated in the same way as our own staff, including regular interviews.

Our policies set out how we expect our own employees and our suppliers to act to protect workers’ rights.

These include the following:

  • Human Rights Policy  
  • Modern Slavery and Human Exploitation policy
  • Recruitment Fees Policy
  • Labour Providers Policy

Ethical Sourcing Policy


The Worldwide fruit Executive Board is committed to setting a clear governance strategy for the eradication of modern slavery and human trafficking from the business and its supply chains.  The Executive Board has set our goals (Section 6 of this document) and our ESG focus and also monitors our “How we do business” scorecard, where we strive for continuous improvement across all our sustainability and ethical pillars.

The business has established an Enterprise Excellence team who work to drive improvement in our sustainability pillar and ensure our goals are constantly being reviewed to ensure we are always striving to meet our environmental and ethical objectives.  This team is comprised of members from all areas of the business and meet monthly with the outputs being fed into the board reports.

The Ethical team within the Worldwide Fruit technical team work alongside external bodies and NGOs to drive policy and improvement in this area within the Worldwide Fruit business.  Supported by the Technical and Procurement director, the Ethical team monitor supplier progress and compliance and feed into the Enterprise Excellence scorecard and individual supplier scorecards.

3. Global Risk assessment and management

Risk Assessments

We are very aware that the nature of the business we are involved in has a risk of modern slavery attached to it.  Both within the UK and in other source countries, the Fresh produce industry is heavily reliant on large groups of temporary labour to harvest fruit.   People trafficking and labour abuses are lucrative and are often difficult to uncover and prosecute, so are often deemed relatively risk free for criminals.

We believe we should approach the problem with a view that Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking may well be taking place somewhere in our supply chains.

In the same way that within a Health and Safety reporting system, the recording of ‘near misses’ is seen as a positive and proactive position, the flagging of potential of Modern Slavery cases should be seen as desirable and not to be shied away from.

Consequently, Worldwide Fruit Ltd employ a wide range of tactics to risk assess our supply chain and source countries in order to target visits and capacity building. We are members of a range of organisations that help guide our risk assessment judgements including

We strive to improve our knowledge and horizon scanning for future challenges, and in addition to the above, we also consider information from;

  • ILO
  • Fairtrade Foundation
  • GLAA
  • Global Slavery Index
  • Modern Slavery intelligence Network
  • ILAB

We participate as proactive members of working groups to develop toolkits for suppliers and are participants in key round tables within the produce industry tackling ethical challenges.

Worldwide Fruit has a comprehensive risk assessment tool which considers a wide range of criteria, including but not limited to;

  • SAQ Risk Assessment
  • Inherent Country Risk
  • Industry Country Risk
  • Forced Labour indicators from SEDEX Radar
  • Non-Compliances from SMETA or SIZA audits
  • Supplier Engagement scores

This drives our supplier risk assessment and visit plans, alongside our supplier scorecard process, with the aim of focusing our time with our supply chains with the most risk    Raising awareness throughout our business is important, and we do this through company inductions and refresher training for the entire workforce (new starters and existing), and we support the Stronger Together campaign.  Multi-language Stronger Together workplace posters are also placed in prominent positions throughout the business, alongside posters advertising the ‘Just Good Work’ App, which provides information to workers about their employment rights

Training framework and development of skills

In order to meet our aspirations around the exposure and eradication of modern slavery, it is vital that our teams are equipped to understand and be partners in our exposure of any abuse of workers. 

This includes

  • Modern slavery champion training and champions on all shifts at our Spalding Site, and in key areas of the business such as HR and Payroll and for those wider team members engaging with UK growers and visiting farms.  
  • General Modern Slavery awareness training for line leaders and team leaders on all shifts at our Spalding Site.
  • The Worker comitee set up at Spalding Site, which is continually supported and trained using the FNET worker comitee tools.
  • Ethical visit training for our technical team, so that they feel confident and equipped to look though an ethical lens whilst out with the wider global supplier base.
  • Regular face to face support for UK growers sourcing workers though both the SAWS scheme and from licensed GLAA labour providers – helping them to understand the signs of labour exploitation with their labour pool
  • Highlighting and encouraging the use of the Just Good Work app throughout all workplaces – pack sites and growers

Our risk assessment tools help to signpost the areas to focus on within our supplier base, and each technical visit is accompanied by a face-to-face briefing for the technical manager, from our intelligence sources, and a briefing document outlining the areas of particular focus for each site, with a request to engage the supplier visit team to engage in a conversation particularly around how they mitigate their risks.   We discuss the findings with the teams on their return and plan the next steps if required.

Supplier engagement

We are committed to bringing our suppliers on the journey with us.  Our supplier approval policy stipulates the standards our suppliers need to meet to be approved suppliers.  All suppliers sign this and must have the appropriate due diligence in place prior to supply such as;

Supplier SEDEX registration with a 100% completed SAQ and linked to Worldwide Fruit, in order for us to have full visibility of Audits is essential for all Tier 1 suppliers.

SMETA audits for suppliers deemed high risk, either because of country of origin or other key indicators.

As previously outlined, output from the audits and SAQ’s are monitored and analysed using the SEDEX radar tools and our own comprehensive system

We have developed and shared our Everyone Deserves Freedom – Fight Forced Labour video (please click the link) which has been shared globally across our supply chain and was designed with language barriers in mind, it has no voice over and is self-explanatory through its story telling animation style.

Supplier score cards are completed after every season, and the supplier’s ethical performance is analysed with improvement targets for the coming season outlined. Our targets over the next 12 months are to extend the number of growers registered with a fully completed SAQ or GRASP audit and we continue to push these with all supply chains.

4. Remediation

Ensuring a rapid improvement in victims’ circumstances and helping them to access support through government bodies and specialist NGOs are at the centre of the Worldwide Fruit remediation framework, which continues to evolve.

We appreciate that victims may find accessing the support framework extremely daunting and we aim to support by navigating their way out of their situation.

Our remediation policy aims to provide victim centred intervention and draws upon expertise such as the Anti-slavery commissioners’ ‘Trafficking survivor care standards’, the GLAAS Trafficking survivor care standards and the Human trafficking foundation standards. Worldwide Fruit aims to ensure that responsible employment is part of the recovery plan, as it is widely recognised that this plays a significant part in empowerment and survivor care  

Our standard covers the following

  • How to access support and what is offered
  • Trauma Informed Care

Victim centred recovery plan design

5. Collaboration

Worldwide Fruit will continue to be an active member of The Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET) and will endeavour to add value wherever we can with participation in network projects.   By extension we will support which shares tools and resource to growers.  We will support the Modern Slavery Intelligence network as that develops and we will continue to seek the advice and guidance from Practical Ethics who have been invaluable in helping shape our progress this far

6. Targets and workstreams for the next 12 months