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Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Statement 2022

Introduction

Our mission is to bring health and happiness to dogs and their humans, and to use our business as a force for good. As a certified B Corp, we are committed to meeting the highest standards of social and environmental transparency, accountability and impact. 

This statement sets out Butternut Box'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 both its own operations and within its supply chains.

This modern slavery statement is published in accordance with the UK Modern Slavery Act (2015) and relates to actions and activities during our financial year 27 December 2021 to 25 December 2022. 

We will review and update this on an annual basis.

Statement 

Our Company

This statement has been prepared for Dogmates Ltd and its subsidiaries.  Dogmates Ltd trading as Butternut Box is a private limited company incorporated and registered in England. Butternut has two wholly-owned subsidiaries, Dogmates (Ireland) LIMITED, Dogmates (Netherlands) B.V. These subsidiaries don’t meet the threshold required to have a modern slavery statement under the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, but they are part of the Group and operate within a centralised governance framework. 

This statement, therefore, covers actions taken in relation to the Group. 

Our Business 

Founded in 2016, Butternut Box’s mission is to bring health and happiness to dogs. As we operate in sectors and regions that have the potential to be at risk of modern slavery, we’re committed to taking appropriate steps to make sure there’s no modern slavery or human trafficking in any part of our business or supply chain.

We currently operate in the following countries: The United Kingdom; Ireland;  The Netherlands and Belgium.

We have one manufacturing site in Doncaster, UK, where we cook, freeze, pack and store all of our meals before distributing them across UK and EU markets. We also lease co-working offices in Amsterdam, Dublin and London and have a workforce of ~600 people.

Our Responsibility

Whilst this policy details our ongoing commitment to modern slavery and human trafficking at a strategic level, we’ve also embedded day-to-day processes that focus on the higher-risk areas. Our framework to combat modern slavery and human trafficking includes:

• Our Code of Ethics defines the expectations we have to always do what’s right, to conduct ourselves with integrity, and hold ourselves and others accountable to high standards of ethical conduct.

• Our Living Wage Commitment. As part of the Living Wage Foundation, we’re preventing modern slavery by making sure we pay everyone directly employed by us at least the living wage for the area in which they live.

• Our Risk Committee and Matrix. As we have grown, our resilience and ability to manage risk must grow too. That’s why, from Q2 2023 we are implementing a risk committee and matrix. The committee is responsible for assessing and managing risks associated with the company's operations, whilst our risk matrix will capture all elements of business risk, including likelihood, impact and mitigation and management efforts. The committee will meet and review risk quarterly.

• Our Equal Opportunities Policy embeds non-bias practices in hiring, as well as screening employees and past employers.

• Our Anti-Bribery policy details how we operate with openness and honesty as a business. This policy covers any employee or person working on our behalf to give or accept any bribe in order to gain commercial or contractual advantage for Butternut, or in order to gain any personal advantage in a way that is unethical. We require all of our suppliers to sign and adhere to this policy too.

• Our Whistleblowing policy and process provide a framework that lets anyone at Butternut raise concerns about a danger, risk of wrongdoing, or criminal activity (such as Modern Slavery) which affects others, or impacts our reputation.  Our employees have the option to raise concerns anonymously internally or at our factory using our external provider, Spot.

• Our Supplier Code of Conduct. We are committed to ensuring that our suppliers adhere to the highest standards of ethics and business practices. Suppliers are required to confirm that they provide safe working conditions where necessary, treat workers with dignity and respect, and act ethically and within the law in their use of labour. Serious violations of our supplier code of conduct will lead to the termination of the business relationship.

Our Supply Chain

Despite a streamlined supply chain, there are still risks of exploitation given a large part of our supply chain is high risk sectors such as agriculture and farming. Whilst we do our best to source as close to our manufacturing facility as we can, due to stock availability, growing seasons and price, we do source certain products and ingredients further afield.

As a high level operational overview, all ingredients are delivered to our manufacturing kitchen in Doncaster or via cold storage site in Easton, both in England. All our dog food is cooked and packed in Doncaster at Rudie’s Kitchen and workers at the Kitchen are either directly employed by Butternut Box, or contract staff employed by a labour agency. Meals are then exported to our international fulfilment hubs in Ireland and the Netherlands. Boxes are then delivered across all our markets by third-party courier services. All other day-to-day activities are carried out from the HQ in West London and Amsterdam.

Irregardless of location, we hold every team member and supplier to the same high standards of transparency, sustainability, accountability and ethics. We ensure this through due diligence and training.

Our Due Diligence 

We undertake due diligence when considering taking on new suppliers, and review our existing suppliers on a scheduled basis. Our due diligence and reviews include:

• Conducting a thorough assessment of the supplier's capabilities, reputation, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations, including the compliance with the modern slavery and human trafficking act;

• Embedding ESG, including human rights and anti-bribery, into our tender and onboarding process for all new suppliers.

Our focus areas for the next 12 months

Ensuring our supply chains remain free from the risk of human trafficking and modern slavery, we must ensure we continually improve our own processes. Some of the ways we are looking to tackle this are listed below.

• Ensuring a large proportion of our key suppliers are registered and have completed a self-assessment questionnaire on our Integrated Management System;

• Rolling out modern slavery training for teams with a close link to our supply chains;

• Conducting supplier audits which have a greater degree of focus on slavery and human trafficking where general risks are identified;

• Scoping the most effect ways to accurately assess and manage the risks of exploitation in our supply chain; and

• Our longer term aim is to be able to give preference to suppliers and business partners that meet standards across wider sustainability, including but not limited to BRC and Fairtrade.


Board Member Approval 

This statement was approved on 21 April, 2023 by our Board of Directors, who review and update annually.