Slavery statement

Statement from ZSL Director General, Ralph Armond

“Modern slavery is a crime which can take many forms: human trafficking, forced labour, servitude, imprisonment, child labour and sexual exploitation.  These are crimes that represent some of the most severe breaches of human rights and are a threat to millions of people across the world.  

ZSL regards modern slavery as unacceptable. We acknowledge that modern slavery exists in every part of the world and in every corner of society and that all organisations, including charities, must be alert to the risks, however small and we are committed to taking action to ensure that our organisation and supply chains are free from such criminal activity.  We fully welcome the passing into law of the UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 and the duty it places on organisations to publicly disclose the measures they are taking to tackle this terrible blight on our society.  This statement is made pursuant to section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.  It constitutes ZSL’s slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ended 31st March 2017, and covers the activities of ZSL and its wholly owned subsidiary; Zoo Enterprises Limited (ZEL).”


Our Organisation

Founded in 1826, ZSL (Zoological Society of London) is an international scientific, conservation and educational charity whose mission is to promote and achieve the worldwide conservation of animals and their habitats.  Our mission is realised through our ground-breaking science, our global conservation projects and our two zoos, ZSL London Zoo and ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. 


Our Structure

ZSL is a charity which has over 1000 employees and 500 volunteers.  Whilst most of our workforce is based in the UK, we also operate in over 50 countries.  ZSL comprises of seven directorates, led by the Director General.  Overseeing our work is a Council of 15 individual Fellows who act as ZSL’s governing body.   


Our Supply Chain

As a charity which comprises of two commercial zoos, global conservation work and 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 major part in influencing the supply chain.  Our supply chain includes recruitment, scientific equipment, maintenance services, animal feed, catering, outsourced services, clothing, electronics, retail products, marketing, construction, consultancy and other professional services.  The range of products we procure, and the number of countries in which we operate, make for a challenging landscape when managing ethical issues.  We understand that our greatest areas of exposure to modern slavery are in our supply chains and recruitment.   As a result, ZSL has implemented a number of measures in recent years to support the process of due diligence in combatting modern slavery. 


Due Diligence

ZSL has in place a number of processes to combat the risk of modern slavery: 

  • Procurement Team:  ZSL has a procurement team in place which has significant control over the supply chain and is able to implement due diligence during tender processes.  The team are also able to offer advice around ethical issues and the evaluation of suppliers.  
  • 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 internal recruitment team manage all recruitment activities and/or only use reputable employment agencies and job boards to source labour: 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 expected to act upon these.


Mitigation Plans

We are committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in our supply chains or any part of our organisation and will continue to mitigate these risks in the year ahead.  Specifically, we will:

  • Implement an Anti-Slavery Policy;
  • Communicate this policy to all ZSL staff in the UK and overseas;
  • Undertake an appropriate training programme;
  • Identify high-risk areas in our supply chain; and
  • Working with our suppliers, take action to strengthen this supply chain.

  Sir John Beddington
President, Zoological Society of London   PDF icon ZSL Modern Slavery Act Statement 2017 (806.68 KB)