PRESS RELEASE: UK supermarkets lead in commitment to responsible recruitment throughout their supply chains

UK supermarkets including Aldi, Co-op, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose & Partners have joined together as Founding Sponsors of the Responsible Recruitment Toolkit (RRT) to offer expert, pragmatic support to their suppliers in order to achieve responsible recruitment in their supply chains.

Recruitment and labour provision have been identified as presenting amongst the greatest worker exploitation risks in supply chains. In response, leading UK supermarkets have taken proactive action to collaborate as Founding Sponsors of, the pioneering one-stop, practical capacity building tool supporting businesses to embed responsible recruitment practices in their supply chains.

For the first time, experts have carefully mapped relevant global social compliance codes to define 27 responsible recruitment labour standards to cover all stages and elements of labour sourcing and supply. By joining together as Founding Sponsors, these principal UK retailers are enabling their suppliers to utilise the RRT to build capability, self-assess and report progress across all areas of responsible recruitment.

By working collaboratively, the Founding Sponsors are extending the reach and impact of their sponsorship, providing their suppliers and wider supply chain service and labour providers with:

  • Free places on a range of face-to-face and online responsible recruitment workshops.
  • Free registration and discounted optional RRT subscriptions enabling full access to the guidance, resources and self-assessment and reporting tool.
  • Discounts on more in-depth responsible recruitment training to further develop knowledge and capacity to address issues in wider supply chains.

“As leading supermarkets in the UK, we are pleased to announce this collaboration to support our supply chain to work towards meeting consistent high standards of responsible recruitment. We have joined together as Founding Sponsors of the Responsible Recruitment Toolkit to reach as many suppliers as possible to ensure they have the expert guidance and support needed to meet those standards”, said the Founding Sponsor supermarkets.

UK retailers will be contacting their suppliers to encourage them and the labour providers they use to take full advantage of the support and guidance available on

Quotes from some of the Founding Sponsors:

Aldi – “The best way to drive the highest standards and protect vulnerable workers is for the industry to join forces and work together. This collaboration ensures our suppliers and their labour providers are equipped with the tools to understand and tackle this complex issue, and sends a strong message that responsible recruitment plays a critical role in eradicating exploitation. Along with many other retailers, we are proud to be a founding sponsor and play our part in supporting this initiative.” Fritz Walleczek, MD of Corporate Responsibility, Aldi.

Co-op “We are pleased to join forces with other retailers to sponsor this important resource to support all our suppliers in working towards a future of high standards in responsible recruitment. It will help tackle modern slavery and eliminate illegal and unfair recruitment fees in global supply chains, which is a key commitment in our Future of Food sustainability plan” Cathryn Higgs, Head of Food Policy, Co-op

M&S“Recruiting labour for the food and agricultural sector is a complex and challenging process so we are proud to be founding sponsors of the Responsible Recruitment Toolkit to help our suppliers upskill within their business and supply chains” Louise Nicholls, Corporate Head of Human Rights, Marks and Spencer.

Sainsburys – A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “Collaborating on the Responsible Recruitment Toolkit is just one of the ways we are supporting our suppliers to ensure they are operating to the highest possible standards. We look forward to seeing the benefits and impact we believe this toolkit can bring.”

Tesco“Responsible recruitment is a vital part of Tesco’s work to ensure good labour standards throughout our business and supply chains. We’re pleased to be sponsoring the Responsible Sourcing toolkit, and look forward to continuing our work with our suppliers and labour providers to implement best practices.” Giles Bolton, Responsible Sourcing Director, Tesco.

Waitrose & Partners“Waitrose & Partners is committed to the welfare of its workers and those employed throughout our supply chains. This is why we have joined together with other leading UK supermarkets in becoming Founding Sponsors of the Responsible Recruitment Toolkit. Through our sponsorship, we hope to ensure our suppliers have the support they need in reaching the responsible recruitment standards we expect of them.” Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture, Waitrose & Partners