In a response to reports of slavery in the fresh produce chain Woolworths has issued a statement saying that the data in the report 332 sites where workers were reportedly "at risk" has been misrepresented, "These suppliers suppliers are simply listed in one section of our Sustainability Report (pg58) because we need more info, which we’re working to find, or we need to work with them to ensure the right licencing. We haven't identified these workers as "at risk".
"At Woolworths we’re committed to identifying and resolving labour risks in our supply chains and will always do the right thing in the interest of workers when potential issues are identified," said a spokesperson from the retailer.
"We have set clear expectations for our suppliers to uphold the rights of workers through our Responsible Sourcing Policy and focus closely on those areas where we know there is a heightened risk across the whole industry. We work with suppliers in a range of ways to mitigate risks in their own operations and supply chain.
"Transparency is the core of our approach - working with suppliers to increase visibility of the labour practices in our supply chain, and holding ourselves accountable by documenting our progress and challenges.
"Our confidential reporting service, Speak Up, is available in eight languages and allows workers to directly raise concerns. We initiate investigations immediately when allegations are made.
"We know there is more to do, and remain focused on working closely with our suppliers, regulators, industry bodies and unions to drive further improvement in this space."