Pilgrim’s UK completes ‘first of its kind’ human rights impact assessment

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Pilgrim’s UK has completed a ‘first of its kind’ human rights impact assessment
Pilgrim’s UK has completed a ‘first of its kind’ human rights impact assessment

Related tags Meat & Seafood Human rights

Meat processor Pilgrim’s UK has conducted a ‘first of its kind’ human rights impact assessment of its integrated pork and lamb supply chains.

Carried out alongside retail partners Waitrose and Co-op, the assessment spanned the producer’s outdoor-bred pig farms and lamb farms, as well as its processing and abattoir sites between October 2021 and February 2022.

Pilgrim’s UK hoped this body of work would help the processor and its partners to gain a deeper understanding of how its practices are affecting farmers, workers and other stakeholders operating in the UK pig and lamb supply chains and identify actions to mitigate, prevent or remediate any identified impacts.

A joint Human Rights Action Plan has been published in response to the assessment’s findings to raise awareness among stakeholders along the supply chain of health and safety training, mental health and wellbeing, gender discrimination, and access to grievance systems.

Action plan

Key actions planned included the further development of Pilgrim’s UK’s modern slavery incidence response team in sponsorship with Slave Free Alliance, developing and adapting the producer’s ‘respect training’ for use across the sector and further training for mental health first aiders across all Pilgrim’s sites.

Rachel Baldwin, human resources vice-president at Pilgrim’s UK, said the assessment was a major step towards a fully transparent and ethical supply chain that went beyond simple compliance.

“As one of Britain’s largest pork providers, we know it’s our responsibility to set a precedent so that others across the industry might develop similar practices,”​ Baldwin added.

“We’re committed to raising awareness of workers’ rights and, while the meat industry has historically come up against perception challenges in this area, we want to do all we can to overturn those challenges by going further in understanding our supply chains and supporting workers.”

Continuous improvement

Waitrose ethics and sustainability advisor John Gregson welcomed the report’s findings and the importance of care, vigilance and a culture of continuous improvement in training and monitoring as reflected in the Action Plan.

"Even though we have strong and close relationships with our farmers and suppliers and are proud of our standards, we believe that the food and farming industries should be prepared to regularly submit themselves to scrutiny to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all stakeholders,”​ he concluded.

Pilgrim’s UK’s assessment of human rights in it’s pork and lamb supply chain and the subsequent action plan can be found here.

Meanwhile, for International Women's Day, Bethan Grylls spoke with a range of female voices in the food, drink and coaching sector​ to find out more about this year's theme of equity and how we can best support women in the workplace.

Pilgrim’s UK has completed a ‘first of is kind’ human rights impact assessment

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