Sedex highlights the importance of supply chain transparency in the Trade and Agriculture Commission’s Final Report

In July 2020 the UK Government established the Trade and Agriculture Commission to advise the Government on how to advance the interests of British farmers, food producers and consumers in its future trade agreements.

Following their research, including a consultation on ethical trading, the Trade and Agriculture Commission (TAC) released their final report this week. Sedex participated in the Commission’s consultation, and is pleased to see the Commission recognise the importance of high, ethical trading standards, workers’ rights, and transparency in global supply chains.

The report is designed to advise UK Government on considerations for future trade agreements. It details how to properly balance liberalisation of trade with what matters most to UK citizens and the UK agri-food sector – alongside the critical consideration of safeguarding important ethical, environmental and food safety standards. Sedex was quoted in the report as a tool to support compliance with relevant standards through unannounced audits in supply chains.

Sedex engaged with the Commission late last year and gave oral evidence on the importance of building transparency and ethics in global supply chains, and supporting UK businesses in their efforts to do this. We are pleased to see a strong focus on the issues of ethical trading and consumer confidence.

“The UK government should seek to build global coalitions to promote and protect labour rights of workers in key supply chains.” – Trade & Agriculture Commission, Final Report, March 2021 (recommendation 7)

We agree that the government must continue to support businesses to enforce and uphold high standards in global supply chains. We look forward to working closely with the Commission and the Department of International Trade to further Sedex’s work in this area and improve working conditions in global supply chains.

“With busy lives, people often don’t have the time to scrutinise what they buy and expect the reassurance that the government has this in hand – that they can shop freely in the knowledge that basic standards are being adhered to and that there is traceability throughout the supply chain.” – Trade & Agriculture Commission, Final Report, March 2021

We also welcome the advice from the Commission to the government to provide genuine leadership on climate, environmental and ethical considerations, being bold in tackling these issues with its foreign and trade policy.

You can read the report in full here.

If you have any questions about the report or our work with the Trade and Agriculture Commission, contact us at [email protected]

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