People are the core of our business - our customers, team members, suppliers and the workers in our global supply chains. Our purpose is to create better experiences together for a better tomorrow and we are deeply committed to upholding respect for human rights. 

Aligned with our Sustainability Plan 2025 to activate mutually beneficial partnerships through the whole value chain, it is our ambition to integrate human rights into the way we go about our business everyday, so that every decision has our purpose at its heart - ‘We create better experiences together for a better tomorrow’. 

We bring this ambition to life through our human rights strategy, which is underpinned by the following principles:

  • No global retailer is immune to modern slavery risk in their operations and supply chain

  • We adopt a human rights-based approach in our modern slavery strategy.  That means that we consider risks to people alongside risks to the business

  • Identifying actual or potential situations of modern slavery demonstrates our program is effective.  It means we are better placed to provide remedy to affected workers and address root causes.

  • Where potential situations of modern slavery are identified, we will always do the right thing, which means acting in the best interests of potentially affected workers.

  • Modern slavery can only be ended by working with others.  We will work collaboratively to drive change that addresses the root causes of modern slavery. 

You can read more about our approach to identifying, mitigating and remedying modern slavery in our most recent - and previous - Modern Slavery Statements.

 

Identifying and preventing forced and child labour has always been a cornerstone of our approach to our own operations and supplier social compliance.  We began our journey in 2009, when we launched our first Ethical Sourcing Policy and became signatories to the UN Global Compact.  We stayed attuned to human rights risks in our supply chain and in 2018, we implemented our Responsible Sourcing Program and introduced associated policy and supplier requirements.

Our Human Rights Program is the overarching way we address human rights and modern slavery in our operations and supply chains. There are four main pillars of our Human Rights Program:

1. Responsible Sourcing Program 

Our Responsible Sourcing Program is the foundation of our work in this space.  It is framed by two main policy documents - the Responsible Sourcing Policy and the Responsible Sourcing Standards - and operationalised by taking a risk-based approach to supplier segmentation.  You can read more about our Responsible Sourcing Program here.

2. Strategies to target specific modern slavery risks

The level of risk of modern slavery depends on a range of intersecting contextual factors.  Where multiple high level risk factors exist, there is a higher likelihood that actual harm is being experienced.  You can read more about our approach to identifying and mitigating modern slavery risks in our Modern Slavery Statement.

3. Maintaining effective grievance mechanisms

We are committed to providing access to channels through which adversely affected people or communities can raise complaints or concerns without fear of retaliation, intimidation, harassment, discrimination or victimisation.You can read more about our grievance mechanisms here

4. Partnering across our ecosystem

Woolworths Group continues to evolve to ensure we are our customers preferred food and everyday needs ecosystem. This means there is a diversity of entities in the Group, and we use the Australian Accounting Standards definition of ‘control’ to determine the level of influence we have over these entities to determine how we can lean in and assist our partners in mitigating the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chain.

Our program has matured over time to reflect evolving best practices, including due diligence approaches outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We continue to strengthen our program to manage emerging risks, and seek to work with, and learn from, potentially affected communities as they, too, have a genuine stake in program design and implementation.

We recognise that no single entity can end modern slavery, and we seek to activate mutually beneficial partnerships through our entire value chain.  This is a goal of our 2025 Sustainability Plan, and industry collaboration is an important part of our strategy to cultivate shared learning.  You can read more about our partnerships here.

 

While our operations and supply chains are complex, our aim is to ensure that human rights issues are understood, respected and upheld.  We expect our business partners to adhere to ethical business conduct consistent with our own, and are committed to working with them to fulfil this common goal, and proactively address human rights.

Our Responsible Sourcing Program provides the governance for how we manage social compliance of our own brand and fresh products. Our Responsible Sourcing Program is anchored by two main documents: 

These are supported by our Responsible Sourcing Program Guidelines.

During onboarding, suppliers are segmented into four risk categories with corresponding due diligence requirements. This segmentation will determine the activities suppliers are required to complete in order to verify compliance with the Standards. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Attending training and education sessions 
  • Completing a supplier self-assessment questionnaire (SAQ) 
  • Submitting an audit under our third-party social compliance ‘Mutual Recognition’ scheme 
  • Agreeing to and implementing a corrective action plan 
  • Demonstrating continuous improvement 
  • Announced and unannounced factory or site visits. 

The third party audit for moderate, priority and specialised risk-segmented suppliers includes checks on key forced labour indicators. All audits are graded against four possible outcomes – zero tolerance (ZT), critical, moderate, and minor – and forced labour indicators, among others, are considered a ZT issue. Moderate or minor non-conformances (NCs) are addressed during the audit cycle as part of the scheme follow-up, while our team prioritises ZT and critical NCs for follow up.

The Policy and Standards

The Responsible Sourcing Policy outlines our commitment to upholding the human rights of the workers in our supply chain. The Policy applies to all of our suppliers globally and is a part of doing business with the Group. 

The Responsible Sourcing Standards are a key way that we implement the Policy commitments. They include comprehensive criteria on business integrity, labour rights, fair and safe working conditions and environmental compliance.

As part of the rollout and ongoing due diligence, we are committed to supporting suppliers with relevant information sessions, guidance documents, training materials and, in higher-risk categories, establishing communities of practice.

In our Responsible Sourcing Standards, we commit to an annual review so we can ensure we maintain best practice  as against our standards, and the expectations of our communities and customers. Our 2019 review includes further detail regarding our verification and audit framework, clarification on the role of our Guidance notes, and recognition of our extended Speak Up program for management of grievances. Our 2020 Policy enhancements included explicit endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights; acknowledgement of our human rights governance via the Board Sustainability Committee; further emphasis on the expectation for suppliers to cascade requirements into their own supply base; and recognition of our internal responsibility (e.g. Responsible Purchasing Practices) as a vital factor in promoting respect for human rights. Our 2021 update was paused due to COVID-19 disruptions, and our 2022 update includes the following enhancements:

  • Language updated to clarify scope of the policy and standards 
  • Structure and narrative updated to reflect greater clarity on implications when standards are breached
  • Updated to reflect program maturity, including with reference in particular to guiding principles

Additional requirements | Addendums to the Standards

A number of additional requirements are referenced within the Responsible Sourcing Standards. These stand alone as separate documents in addendum to the Standards, and outline specific requirements that suppliers should be aware of:

1. Woolworths Labour Hire Addendum 

In February 2019 we released an Addendum to the Standards, Requirements for Labour Providers in our Australian Supply Chain.  The Addendum outlines specific requirements relating to the engagement of labour providers by participants in our horticulture supply chain.

The Addendum outlines specific requirements relating to the engagement of labour providers by participants in our horticulture supply chain. Safeguarding responsible employment practices by labour providers involved in our supply chain is a key component of Woolworths’ responsible sourcing commitments.  Our approach to responsible recruitment is aligned with industry standards and underpinned by three core principles known as the Priority Industry Principles :

  • every worker should have freedom of movement;
  • no worker should pay for a job; and
  • no worker should be indebted or coerced to work.

Information on labour providers currently used by our recognised third party programs can be found below: 

  • Queensland Government's Register of Labour Hire Licences here  
  • South Australia Register of Labour Hire Licences here
  • Victorian Register of Labour Hire Licences here
  • Seasonal Worker Program Listing of current Approved Employers here
  • The Registry of StaffSure Certified Workforce Service Providers here

For more information please read these FAQs.

2. Woolworths Child Labour Addendum

In July 2022 we released specific requirements for the prevention and remediation of Child Labour as an extension of guidance that previously existed on Child Labour within the Standards. These requirements must be read and understood by all suppliers and upheld in conjunction with Standard no. 6 | Child Labour. 

3. Woolworths Responsible Recruitment Addendum

In April 2022, Woolworths further strengthened our position on responsible recruitment when we joined the Consumer Goods Forum Human Rights Coalition (the Coalition). 

The Responsible Recruitment Requirements should be considered by all suppliers engaging foreign migrant workers either directly or indirectly in their operations. However, Woolworths will take a proactive, risk-based, and phased approach to rollout and supplier verification. 

Our Human Rights Program sets out our Group-wide modern slavery framework that is operationalised by each business unit. We have developed an organisational structure and accountability to embed human rights management into our business.  Governance oversight of human rights management is provided by the Board’s Sustainability Committee (SusCo). Responsible sourcing and related human rights issues are raised at the Board through papers compiled by our Group Sustainability team, who have oversight of the Group approach to human rights. 

Our Human Rights Steering Committee comprises of Executive and Senior leaders from across each of the Group’s business units. This Committee meets every month, and oversees our Group-wide framework for identifying human rights risks and impacts in the supply chain, as well as setting and now monitoring our policy and minimum standards. Senior management in each business is then responsible for managing human rights issues with their suppliers.

governance

Each business unit is supported through working groups and the Human Rights Steering Committee, with progress reported to the Board Sustainability Committee.  

Our Group Human Rights team, which sits within the Group Sustainability Platform, is responsible for developing our overarching human rights strategy and annual work plan, which includes our modern slavery work. Human Rights team members in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Bangladesh are supported by cross-functional working groups for specific prioritised work programs. Our team works with a number of external program partners, including Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA)/ ELEVATE, and Verite South East Asia Australia to provide strategic advice and support in extreme risk areas.

Woolworths Group is an Australian company with a long-standing commitment to a large number of domestic suppliers.  100 percent of the fresh meat sold at Woolworths supermarkets is produced in Australia and 97 percent of fresh fruit and vegetables sold at our supermarkets are grown on farms in Australia.  

We also have a complex global supply chain and source products from many countries, including China, India and Bangladesh. 

The apparel industry carries a higher risk of child labour, forced labour and freedom of association.  Our BIG W business is committed to the ongoing transparency of its supply chain by publishing the details of factories that directly produce their own brand apparel and general merchandise quarterly on our website.  The latest list is available here (as at December 2023) and represents 100 percent of our direct suppliers in these categories. Further information on direct suppliers in Bangladesh is available here in CSV format (note when the CSV file is downloaded this information is uncontrolled). This represents 100% of direct suppliers in Bangladesh as at December 2023.

Similarly, Woolworths Food Group publishes the list of factories that directly produce our apparel and textile products here (as at December 2023).

We are working to map our suppliers beyond tier one (that is, our direct suppliers who produce the final product) to include tier two and three suppliers where possible. Tier two and three suppliers are our indirect suppliers who produce the components of a final product e.g. fabric suppliers. In F22, BIG W commenced a project to enhance transparency of our cotton supply chain. The project started with a pilot of ten strategic tier one suppliers.  To date (August 2022) more than 145 indirect suppliers have been identified in BIG W’s cotton supply chain, see here (note when the CSV file is downloaded this information is uncontrolled).

Educating our teams and our suppliers is part of our approach to continuous improvement. We take a targeted approach to training and capacity building to ensure that our teams and suppliers receive the information that is relevant to their roles.

Team

Woolworths approach to modern slavery training is that relevant team members are aware of the risks and their responsibilities as appropriate to their role. In this way our training program is based on policies and procedures and our team's exposure to these. Examples of our bespoke training include: 

  • Culture and People business partners: We recognise that potential labour compliance risks in our own operations may be heightened for approximately 12% of our directly employed team members who are visa holders. In F21, we introduced a Right to Work Policy to clearly communicate our commitment to promoting a culturally diverse workplace where team members’ working rights are respected. This was supported by compulsory, tailored training to our managers, team members and culture and people partners who operationalise the policy.
  • Non-trade procurement: To support the Procurement team with the rollout of anti-modern slavery due diliegnce, in F21 we conducted multiple human rights briefing sessions. In addition to operational updates, two specific briefing sessions on modern slavery compliance were conducted  on the modern slavery legal landscape in Australia and its implications for non-trade, each attended by over 45 team members.  
  • Senior leader briefs and action tracking: Annually, we conduct in-person training delivered by our internal subject matter experts targeting the senior leaders of all Group businesses and functions. In F21, we delivered interactive training to 126 senior leaders across 12 teams resulting in 30 follow up action items, of which 24 are complete and the remaining are in progress. 
  • Own Brand sourcing: 703 commercial team members have completed the Responsible Purchasing Practices e‑learning module. The purpose of the training is to support our teams to understand how purchasing behaviours can drive both positive and negative impacts for workers in our broader supply chain. 

Suppliers

Woolworths communicates it’s Responsible Sourcing Policy and related Standards,and performance expectations to its supply chain and other business partners in a number of ways:  

  • Established and documented specific Policy and Standards (including anti-slavery standards) are communicated to all suppliers and since 2018, all new trade suppliers must sign an Acknowledgment of the Responsible Sourcing Policy
  • Published guidance for suppliers to assist them in implementing the Responsible Sourcing Policy and Standards, including Guidance on Addressing Overtime Hours and Guidance on Developing Grievance Mechanisms
  • Targeted training and capacity building of suppliers related to human rights and modern slavery is carried out through annual supplier Roadshows, targeted capacity building sessions and an online supplier academy.
  • Supplier training is available and recommended by Woolworths RS team through third party audit scheme platforms to educate suppliers and factory managers.
  • Targeted training to some supply chain workers exists on labour rights and specific subjects such as women’s empowerment and nutrition. For example, as part of our Covid-19 due diligence in Bangladesh, our local team arranged nutrition training which was attended by 185 workers across three factories.
  • Suppliers are regularly engaged on key human rights and anti-modern slavery risk topics through newsletters and supplier updates etc.

The Group is committed to providing access to channels through which adversely affected people or communities can raise complaints or concerns without fear of retaliation, intimidation, harassment, discrimination or victimisation. This commitment extends to the work of human rights defenders, and the expectation they can operate in a safe and respectful environment across all our operations.  The Group provides a Speak Up service for our team members and suppliers (and their workers) as a mechanism by which responsible sourcing and human rights concerns can be raised confidentially and, if desired, anonymously.

Supplier Speak Up can be accessed by workers in a number of different languages and we provide suppliers with communication tools to reach workers in a language they understand. The following posters have been designed for suppliers in different countries with key messages translated into the languages of key migrant worker groups. 

 

  • Australian suppliers can download the poster for their sites here>
  • Malaysian suppliers can download the poster for their sites here>

We are committed to working with our suppliers to ensure appropriate grievance mechanisms are made available within their own supply chains. You can read more information on the Speak Up website and in the Supplier Speak Up FAQs.

With suppliers in some 50 countries, we acknowledge there are different socio-cultural barriers that may prevent vulnerable workers from raising concerns, either directly with their employer (our supplier) or the Group. We know there is always more work to do to strengthen our grievance response. We will continue to review our grievance mechanisms and processes to strengthen them and improve their effectiveness. At the same time, we will continue to raise supplier awareness of the eight characteristics of an effective grievance process outlined by the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (known as the UNGPs). 

It is important to us that effective remedies are available for affected people and communities where it is identified that our operations have caused or contributed to adverse impacts. These remedies may be provided through direct engagement with affected people and communities, or in collaboration with our suppliers or other third parties. 

As a signatory of the 2015 Australian Business Pledge against Forced Labour, we have coordinated the development of a report The business response to remedying human rights infringements. The research, commissioned by Pledge signatories, aims to contribute to the discourse on what constitutes an appropriate and effective remedy in instances of forced labour.

Human rights and responsible sourcing challenges do not occur in isolation. They are embedded in complex socio-economic systems of migration, gender, under-employment, weak rule of law and low wages. Woolworths Group seeks to work in multi-stakeholder partnerships that both scale impact and promote a coordinated approach to tackling complex issues. We regularly engage with key external stakeholders to understand their expectations in relation to human rights.  This includes civil society, government, workers and unions.

UN Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) Modern Slavery Community of Practice 

Woolworths Group is an active member of the UN Global Compact Network Australia, with our team participating in numerous events throughout the year and contributing to the Human Rights Leadership Group. Building on our contribution, the Woolworths Group is now represented on the GCNA Modern Slavery Community of Practice. The purpose of this community of practice is to share emerging best practices to build common capability in addressing modern slavery and human rights risk management among Australian businesses. 

Action Collaboration Transformation on Living Wages

To accelerate the living standards of workers in the apparel and footwear supply chain, BIG W joined ACT in February 2020. ACT is an agreement between global brands, retailers and trade unions to achieve living wages for workers through collective bargaining at industry level linked to brands’ purchasing practises. BIG W is an active participant in ACT’s Bangladesh country group meetings, a tripartite dialogue between ACT brands, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and trade unions. After an initial two years focused on COVID response, in F22 ACT participants made progress on a number of key commitments known as the ACT Global Purchasing Practices Commitments. See the sustainability section of the BIG W website for more information on progress to date.

International Accord

Woolworths Group is a founding signatory of the Bangladesh Accord. We support ongoing efforts to ensure robust, transparent and industry-wide mechanisms to deliver safe working conditions for all factory workers in Bangladesh. 

In FY22 our BIG W business signed the International Accord and joined the Brand Association along with 170 other brands and retailers globally.  We continue to support the International Accord by participating in business volume surveys, attending caucus meetings and following up on factory remediation. 

BIG W has 20 active sites under the Accord and is the lead brand for six sites (as at August 2022). Our suppliers have made significant progress under the Bangladesh Accord with remediation at our active sites at 92%, a slight decrease of 5% on FY21 due to the onboarding of new sites. We continue to educate our internal team and suppliers on our Accord obligations through training and supplier updates.

Cleaning Accountability Framework (CAF)

CAF is a labour rights assurance scheme that places cleaners at the heart of compliance certification. Woolworths Group was a founding retail partner of CAF, and has invested $100,000 to assist CAF build a retail specific framework. A multi-retailer working group has been established to conceptualise how the CAF model can be adapted for a retail environment.

Fair Work Ombudsman Horticulture Reference Group

The FWO Horticulture Reference Group seeks to promote collaborative approaches to address non-compliance in the horticulture sector, as identified by the FWO Harvest Trail Report. 

Property Council of Australia (PCA) Modern Slavery Working Group

Woolworths Group collaborates with leading property groups in Australia through the PCA working group to better understand and remediate modern slavery risks associated with the property and construction sectors.  In F21, we maintained our participation in the working group and contributed to F22 strategy.

Retail Supply Chain Alliance

In May 2022, Woolworths Group signed the Ethical Retail Supply Chain Memorandum of Understanding (Australian Horticulture Industry) with the Retail Supply Chain Alliance (comprised of the Australian Workers Union, Transport Workers Union and Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Union). The goal of the two-year MOU is to build on the work towards ending worker exploitation in the supply chain by running pilot programs to promote lawful employment practices. These programs will be based around worker education initiatives and research.

Consumer Goods Forum - Human Rights Coalition

In F22, Woolworths Group joined the Consumer Goods Forum Human Rights Coalition (CGF HRC). The HRC is a collective of 30 global retailers and manufacturers committed to eradicating forced labour from their operations and consumer goods supply chains. HRC members commit to implement the CGF’s human rights due diligence maturity framework for operations, with the goal that all members reach the ‘Leadership’ level by 2025. We have commenced implementing steps of the maturity framework and adopted some of the milestones in our internal maturity framework for our business units.

Woolworths Group Retail Roundtable series

There are well known human rights challenges facing the retail industry in Australia. To promote knowledge sharing and collaboration in a pre-competitive space, we have initiated a set of Retail Roundtables. These multi-stakeholder events include representatives from retail, industry bodies, civil society, and suppliers. The first of these sessions was held in Sydney in March 2018 and covered the topics of the forthcoming Australian Modern Slavery Act and labour-hire in Australian fresh food supply chains. 

In November 2021, Woolworths Group Chairman Gordon Cairns and Chair of the board Sustainability Committee, Holly Kramer, co-hosted a roundtable on modern slavery reporting with senior leaders from top ASX listed companies. In the session Gordon and Holly outlined Woolworths’ approach to managing human rights risks, the Woolworths Group board’s risk appetite statement for human rights, and how this informed the Groups approach to disclosure. Our human rights team presented on the lessons learned from implementing human rights due diligence and facilitated discussion on opportunities for improvement.  The roundtable reflected a continuation of our efforts to bring together like-minded companies with a shared ambition and openness to collective learning.

 

Respecting Child Rights

The Woolworths Group takes a proactive approach to protecting children and their rights. The following  section serves to highlight examples of partnership and stakeholder engagement that support this.

We are committed to continuing to learn and innovate and one way we can do this is by regularly participating in various benchmarks.  We recognise the value of a number of benchmarks in helping to promote, educate and inform, and in highlighting both opportunities and areas for growth. The Global Child Forum benchmark is one of these. 

Preventing Child Labour in our supply chain

In addition to our Responsible Sourcing Program and related Responsible Sourcing Standards, suppliers are also required to meet the requirements laid out in Woolworths Child Rights Addendum

This Child Labour Addendum, developed in collaboration with The Centre for Child Rights and Business, outlines our approach, and aims to clarify our expectations of supplier partners for the prevention and remediation of any child labour cases should they be identified in Woolworths Group’s supply chain. We will review and update this Addendum at regular intervals to ensure it remains fit for purpose.

Centre for Child Rights and Business Working Group

In F22, we joined the Centre for Child Rights and Business working group. The working group meets four times a year and brings companies together to collaborate, share best practice, and access the latest information and insights related to child rights. Membership to the Centre also provides expertise on the ground in key risk countries, including a 24-hour response mechanism should a case of child labour be identified in our supply chain. 

Caring for all Australians

Woolworths Supermarkets works to support our community, including families and children, through a number of programs from food security to disaster relief and disability. 

Find out more here.

Our Children’s charity partners

Woolworths Supermarkets has a longstanding history of working with Australian children’s charities. Some of these partnerships date back more than 30 years, and in this time millions of dollars has been raised to support our work to help children who may be sick or in need in other ways. Read more here.

Fresh Food for kids, inspiring the next generation

Our customers tell us that health is important and want us to make healthier easier for them and their families. Read more about  Making Healthier Easier , and in particular about Woolworths’ commitment to helping kids eat healthier with our Fresh Food Kids program. 

Gender Equity and parental leave

In November 2020, we became signatories to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). Woolworths Group, from the top down, is committed to working collaboratively within multi‑stakeholder networks to foster business practices that empower women, and their children.

Family is an important part of our team members’ lives, our customers’ lives and our community. At Woolworths Group, we want to make things better for families - including supporting our team members while they are growing their families. Read more about our paid parental leave for primary and secondary carers on our Inclusive Workplace page here.

Marketing to Children

As a member of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), Woolworths Supermarkets adheres to the AANA Food & Beverages Code and the Marketing to Children's Code. This outlines protections for children through advertising, and ensures a high sense of social responsibility is maintained.

Responsible Service of alcohol and tobacco, and restricted products

We take the responsibility of selling alcohol, tobacco and sharp objects seriously and want to make sure that we only sell these items to people of the proper legal age (18+). We have a range of policies complying with legislative requirements, including verifying age in-store and online. See Countdown’s Liquor and Tobacco Policy here.

Read more about our commitment to the responsible service of alcohol and tobacco here.

Future Generations

Agriculture is the backbone of our business and we are committed to working with our partners to encourage sustainable and regenerative practices for future generations to come. 

Read more about our principles, initiatives and partnerships related to the responsible stewardship of natural resources in our 2022 Sustainability report here, and follow our progress in subsequent reports as we seek to better understand the impact and dependency of our supply chains on nature.

People are the core of our business, and our commitment to respect human rights of all workers starts in our own operations. We work across the diverse entities that undertake our retail operations, e-commerce, supply chain and logistics, property development and hotel businesses to create better experiences for a better tomorrow. 

Paying our team correctly and on time

Australia’s national minimum wage is set each year by an expert panel of the Fair Work Commission (FWC). The panel invites submissions from a wide range of organisations and also commissions research to inform its decision. In addition to the national minimum wage, there are also higher minimum wage rates and significant penalty rates and allowances contained in the 121 Modern Awards that cover specific industries and occupations.

Woolworths follows the law and applies the required minimum wage benchmarks as required, however in the majority of cases our enterprise agreements and employment contracts provide for higher wage rates than the national minimum wage or Award minimum rates (plus penalty rates and allowances).

Woolworths has controls and processes in place to ensure that any changes or updates that have occured in the pay period is captured to ensure accuracy of pay so that we can pay on time and in full. We pay our team on a weekly or monthly basis depending on the nature of the role. The pay period is in line with our obligations under the applicable Industrial Instrument/Award and/or Contract as well as our obligations, which include providing team members with payslip and ensuring pay slips have required information (including the amount paid and tax withheld), under the Fair Work Act. Further, we comply with the applicable legislation in relation to withholding tax and superannuation.

Protecting young team members

At Woolworths, we have a commitment to ensure that we are not using child labour in our operations or supply chain. 

We have controls in place during the recruitment process (including verifying age of candidates) to ensure that we are compliant with legislative requirements regarding the legal age of employment in each territory and state. Equally, we comply with all applicable licensing requirements, where we ensure team members who operate machinery that requires a licence must provide proof that they are 18 years or older as well as be licenced to operate the Machinery (i.e. Forklift).

Communicating our human rights commitments to our team

Woolworths communicates its commitment to respecting human rights through our Responsible Sourcing Policy and Standards. To reflect these commitments to our team members, team members are required to complete the Code of Conduct training upon commencing in the workplace. The Code of Conduct talks to our obligations of 'never cutting corners on the implementation of our Responsible Sourcing Policy and Responsible Sourcing Standards'. The Code of Conduct also makes it clear around our procurement teams to 'ensuring that our buying and procurement processes are transparent and in line with our Fair Trading Principles'

Further, Woolworths clearly defines expectations through policies, of creating a respectful workplace that is free from unlawful discrimination and protect workers rights, including those team members who are part of a union, as precribed under the FW Act. Our Line Managers are required to monitor the workplace and raise and address any behaviour that is deemed to be inappropriate, equally our team members are made aware of their obligations and avenues to raise any behaviours that they have witnessed or have experienced, including but not limited to raising concerns in line with our Complaints Handling framework and/or raising an anonymous complaint through SpeakUp. Team Members may also choose to raise concerns through their union which is addressed in accordance with our Complaints Handling Standards.

We publish information about our grievance process in terms of the Speak Up process on our Woolworths Company website, which includes details on how team members and suppliers contact the service to raise any concerns. The business reports on the nature of complaints to the board of directors on a quarterly basis. 

Supporting our team with vocational training

In 2021, Woolworths was a key sponsor of the National Skills Week (23 - 29 August). National Skills Week sets out to bring to life the talents, skills, career pathways and value of apprentices and trainees across Australia to the wider public and employers. The week is dedicated to raising the status of practical and vocational learning. Woolworths showcases opportunities on offer to young Australians in retail. For example, the refrigeration apprenticeship program that commenced in 2021. This is a four-year program which offers apprentice refrigeration technicians the opportunity to gain experience with the latest global refrigeration technologies.

Woolworths also has a skills training program where they are investing $50 million in skills training to upskill and reskill team members in technological advances in the next 3 years.

For our progress against this goal, see our most recent Modern Slavery Statement. For more information on our metrics, see our 2022 Sustainability Report Appendix.