Modern slavery statement 2020-21

About CAFOD and our corporate structure 

The Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is an international development charity and the official aid agency of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. We are part of the global Caritas confederation.

Inspired by Gospel values and as part of the Catholic community, we come together in partnership with others, locally and globally, of all faiths and none:

  • To reach those in greatest need, save lives and relieve suffering.
  • To support and enable people, communities and our local partners to be artisans of their own destiny.
  • To challenge and transform the structures and behaviours that drive poverty, vulnerability, inequality, injustice and exclusion, and which harm the natural world.
  • To educate, enable and inspire the Catholic community of England and Wales to act in solidarity for the common good.

We are headquartered in the UK with offices in 13 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and Latin America. A description of CAFOD’s corporate group structure is included in our annual accounts for 2019/20. CAFOD’s total income in 2019/20 was £45.4m.

Further detail on CAFOD’s group structure and supply chains will be included in future statements.

Our approach to tackling modern slavery 

Drawing from Catholic Social Teaching, we believe that each and every person is made in the image and likeness of God, imbued with an innate dignity. Modern slavery is an attack upon this dignity. In solidarity, we are called to work with hope and compassion to transform our common home, to ensure that people, communities and the earth may flourish - free from exploitation.

CAFOD takes an integrated approach to tackling modern slavery, encompassing the following:

Working towards an end to poverty and injustice

Our work on tackling slavery sits within a broader mandate of working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals – of which tackling modern slavery is a part (goal 8.7). Tackling modern slavery is consistent with Catholic teachings that we must reach out to the margins of society to combat injustice and oppression. 

Modern slavery is at the end of a spectrum of violations of human rights and labour rights, and the poor and vulnerable are often those most at risk of falling victim of exploitation. In working towards the common good we are called to ensure that every human being has access to essential rights and can fulfil their own potential, thereby reducing these risks.

Campaigning for changes to law and policy

CAFOD believes that we cannot allow our brothers and sisters to be enslaved in the production of goods or services for our consumption. We campaign to change the economic systems and structures that allow modern slavery and human trafficking to take place.

CAFOD successfully lobbied for the TISC requirement in the Modern Slavery Act in order to incentivise corporate action on modern slavery in supply chains and helped to write guidance materials together with the CORE Coalition (of which we are a member) to help companies report effectively on their actions. We are also a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative.

In recent years CAFOD has joined with other organisations to call on the UK government to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act and to go beyond transparency, to protect the world’s poorest people and our planet from harm caused by British businesses operating overseas. In order to fully implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we are calling for stronger UK legislation and a UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.

Tackling modern slavery in our own supply chains

CAFOD recognises that slavery and forced labour are embedded in many supply chains, and closely linked to the delivery of goods and services here in the UK as well as internationally. We want to prevent abuse in our own supply chains, just as we want to hold companies accountable for the impacts of their supply chains on people and planet. 

We are working on tackling modern slavery in our supply chains as part of our organisational approach to institutional integrity, in line with our existing commitments under the UN Global Compact. We are committed to enhancing our approach to tackling modern slavery.

Our continued commitment

In 2021-22 we commit to: 

  • Map our supply chains, due diligence processes and procurement policies and procedures – including our Supplier Code of Conduct – as part of a thorough internal review of our procurement strategy and practice, regular and ongoing update of policies and procedures, and related compliance and assurance processes.
  • Map other policies and partnership agreements that are relevant to addressing risks of modern slavery and human trafficking.

In future years we commit to:

  • Conduct a risk assessment of our supply chain in order to identify parts of CAFOD’s business and supply chains where there is a risk of modern slavery.
  • Strengthen our policies, partnership agreements and due diligence procedures to tackle risks of modern slavery and ensuring that any future statements include instances of where modern slavery has been identified, addressed and remediated. 
  • Ensure these policies are implemented effectively and communicated across the organisation and introduce new staff training on modern slavery and human trafficking.
  • Monitor and track the effectiveness of these policies and procedures to understand what difference they are making and how they could be improved on an ongoing basis.

Review and approval

We will detail the outcome of these steps, and further work on this area, in our future statements. 

This statement has been approved by the CEO and Executive Group of CAFOD and is authorised to be signed on their behalf by Christine Allen, CAFOD's Director.

Christine signature

Christine Allen
Director of CAFOD

31 March 2021

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