Modern Slavery Act Statement


Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement

Financial Year ended 31st August 2021

This Statement has been published in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 ('Act') and sets out the steps that The Garden Buildings Group Limited ('GBG') and its subsidiary companies has taken during the previous financial year to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking from operating within either its own business or its supply chains. We recognise that modern slavery is a crime and a violation of fundamental human rights. The primary operating companies covered by this statement are as follows:

Walton Web Limited

Mercia Garden Products Limited

Company Overview

GBG is a multi-channel direct business specialising in manufacture, sale and distribution of garden buildings and associated products. We own two of the UK's best known garden brands, Mercia Garden Products and Waltons.

We operate from five locations in the UK at Newark, Reading, Taunton, Biggar and Ballymena.

Modern Slavery in our Business

We want our customers to be confident that we treat our employees fairly, with respect for human rights and are not exposed to unsafe working conditions or in any way forced to work under slavery. We believe that when ethical standards are in place this can improve worker well-being, productivity and quality. We do this through a series of measures and policies covering Whistleblowing, Anti-Bribery and Corruption, ensuring all employees have employment contracts, and we also monitor employee remuneration and benefits to ensure it meets national legislative requirements. Where we employ seasonal workers, they are always recruited through accredited agencies.

Modern Slavery in the Supply Chain

We also want our customers to be confident that our business partners and in particular our suppliers treat their employees as fairly as we treat our own employees. Imported products sourced from outside the UK or EU are potentially more at risk of slavery or human trafficking issues, and we focus our efforts accordingly. Where possible we have built long standing relationships with our suppliers and we make very clear our expectations of business behaviour, engaging only those suppliers that uphold the same principles as GBG. A standard supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire has been introduced requiring compliance with the Slavery Act, and in the event that suppliers fail to take steps to cease or prevent adverse human rights impacts, GBG will terminate its business relationships with those suppliers.

We work closely with our suppliers in helping them achieve the necessary levels of social compliance and favour those businesses which demonstrate appropriate social accreditations such as those offered through organisations such as SEDEX. For example, timber products are sourced responsibly through accreditation schemes such as PEFC which require adherence to international labour laws and declaration. Senior managers are involved in visits to suppliers to ensure standards are maintained.

We recognise that all our employees have a responsibility to be alert to the risks, however small, in our business and in the wider supply chain. We have developed a very open management style and culture which encourages the reporting of concerns to senior management as soon as they are raised, and management are expected to act upon them immediately.

This Statement has been approved by the Board of Directors.

Mike Rees
Chief Executive Officer
1st January 2022