This page sets out ZSL's slavery and human trafficking statement and applies to the financial year ended April 2023. It covers the activities of ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Zoo Enterprises Limited (ZEL).

“Modern slavery is defined as the recruitment, movement, harbouring or receiving of children, women or men through the use of force, coercion, abuse of vulnerability, deception or other means for the purpose of exploitation.” Modern slavery and public health - GOV.UK (

Our Organisation

Founded in 1826, ZSL is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity. Our vision is a world where wildlife thrives, and our purpose is to inspire, inform and empower people to stop wild animals going extinct. Our priorities include Wildlife and People, Wildlife Health and Wildlife Back from the Brink. We aim to promote these through engagement, science and innovation and field conservation work.

Our Structure

ZSL is a charity which has just under 750 employees and over 500 volunteers. Whilst most of our workforce is based in the UK, we also operate in many other countries. ZSL’s senior management team is led by our Chief Executive Officer. Overseeing our work is a Council of thirteen Trustees who collectively act as ZSL's governing body.

Our Supply Chain

As a charity which runs two zoos, delivers global conservation work, and conducts scientific research, ZSL uses an extensive range of suppliers. Whilst we expect our suppliers to uphold the rights of their workers, ZSL recognises that as a customer we can play a part in influencing the supply chain. Our supply chain includes retail products, recruitment, equipment, animal feed, outsourced services such as catering, cleaning and site maintenance, clothing, electronics, marketing, construction, consultancy, and other professional services. The range of products we purchase and the number of countries in which we operate make for a challenging procurement landscape. ZSL will continue to support processes of due diligence to help combat modern slavery in our supply chain.

Due Diligence Approaches

  • Tendering: ZSL’s tender processes request modern slavery policies from prospective suppliers. This not only helps ZSL decide if a supplier is suitable, but it also raises awareness of the issue and encourages suppliers to consider their approach to how they combat modern slavery. Where specific high-risk areas are up for tender, additional due diligence measures are applied. 
  • Quality Assurance Provider: ZSL has worked closely with a global quality assurance provider who specialise in product testing. They have helped us develop a bespoke set of protocols, against which we benchmark all our retail products to ensure they are compliant with all relevant laws.
  • Procurement Function: ZSL has a Procurement function in place which supports the organisation on due diligence during tender processes. A key objective of ZSL’s procurement strategy is to build ethical and environmental undertakings into contractual arrangements. 
  • Buying and Merchandising Team: ZSL has a Buying and Merchandising team that purchases all products for our retail outlets. The products are subject to a due diligence review for both the UK and International markets before they consider stocking them. The team requires that all suppliers undergo and provide the results of factory audits, to ensure that the factory conditions are safe, and that labour laws and practices are adhered to, as well as product test certificates. ZSL are also partnered with Quality Assurance Leader, Interterk.
  • Supplier Code of Conduct: First introduced in 2014, this code is based on the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code and reflects the high ethical standards we expect of our suppliers. The code is available for viewing here
  • Standard Terms and Conditions: Our standard terms for goods and services state that suppliers must comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and will notify ZSL if the Act has been breached or if they have been subject to any investigations concerning modern slavery. These terms are available for viewing here.
  • Procurement Policy: An overarching procurement policy provides guidance on risk mitigation, with further supporting documents available around ethical procurement.
  • Recruitment Policy: Our recruitment policy is designed to ensure compliance with UK employment law and encourages staff to report any concerns related to the activities of the organisation or its supply chain. Our HR team manage all recruitment activities with recruiting managers and only use reputable employment agencies and job boards to source candidates: both ZSL and its agencies carry out appropriate background checks.
  • Whistleblowing Policy: Our whistleblowing policy encourages staff to report any concerns, and our management team are required to investigate anything raised and take action where needed in response.

Mitigation Plans

We will continue to mitigate risks by:

  • Implementing an anti-slavery policy or anti-slavery guidance, as appropriate.
  • Ensuring staff awareness of these issues and the guidance and policy on how to manage them.
  • Identifying high-risk areas in our supply chain and ensuring mitigations are in place.
  • Working with our suppliers and taking action to strengthen supply chains.

Jim Smith
Zoological Society of London

Updated 07/11/2023