The Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET) started as a conversation between food suppliers and retailers about the need for a common human rights risk assessment and has evolved into 35 companies working together to identify their common human rights risks and work together to tackle those risks.
We aim to support members to identify, manage and respond to global food supply chain ethical trade risks, to improve the food industry’s understanding of ethical trade, to identify and facilitate collaboration opportunities, to promote trust and to build a forum for sharing issues and best practice.
Members are able to access a number of resources to support the development of a human rights due diligence approach, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the requirements of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act. Resources include a topline ethical trade risk assessment tool designed to identify risks posed by ingredients and raw materials and support companies to prioritise where to focus their resources along their supply chains. The Network also has three collaborative workstreams the objectives of which are.
- Risk Assessment and Mitigation – to support members to rollout their ethical trade risk assessment and identify best practice actions to take in response to risks identified
- Collaborations – to increase member awareness of existing collaborations and support members to collaborate where they have insufficient leverage to act alone
- Ethical Engagement – to tackle the challenges of engaging suppliers’ suppliers in ethical trade by collectively developing successful supplier engagement materials
Our agreed goals for the next two years are for members to be:
What We Do
FNET’s agenda is member-led and members work primarily through three workstreams, as well as receiving technical support and coaching from the FNET Secretariat. Ad hoc collaborations emerge periodically where members who need support and advice seek advice from others in the Network.
Supplier & retailer support and best practice
Risk Assessment tool
Supplier engagement materials
Supply chain engagement
How We Do It
FNET has a Governance Group responsible for ensuring that FNET achieves its stated deliverables and objectives. The Governance Group is made up of equal numbers of retailers and suppliers. A quorum of three suppliers and two retailers is required for any meeting or conference call.
FNET’s activities are support by a small team of human rights experts who coordinate the Network’s and workstream activities and provide one to one support to members.
The cloud picture shown here from September 2018 shows the three key words that sum up FNET for our members
Delivering benefit to FNET members is key to the Network’s success and the testimonials below indicate some of the benefits that members feel we have delivered in our early stages.
We have found our membership of FNET very beneficial. It has enabled us to collaborate with suppliers and retailers on an area which we need assistance on understanding and managing risks. Our membership gives us updates on emerging human rights issues within the industry and access to useful resources.
FNET has enabled us to access relevant support and provided the opportunity to network and effectively collaborate on relevant ethical topics within the food industry.
FNET brings significant value to our organisation. There is a strong collaborative spirit and a desire to find practical solutions to some of the key ethical challenges that we face today. Members of FNET, whether manufacturers or retailers seek to gain alignment so as to maximise our collective ability to improve our global supply chains.