Human rights

Our Founder, John Spedan Lewis, instilled a culture in the Partnership of acting with courtesy and kindness. This extends not only to our co-owners, but to all those with whom we interact. Our approach to tackling modern slavery is influenced by these business values. It forms part of our broader human rights strategy which ensures we work with suppliers to raise labour standards, improve working conditions and create fairly rewarded employment.

Front cover of John Lewis Partnership Human Rights progress report 2016-17

Our 2017 Human Rights and Modern Slavery report provides an update on progress against our plans. It shares information about the issues and challenges we have faced over the course of 2016/17, and exceeds the requirements of the Transparency in Supply Chains clause of the Modern Slavery Act.

The report focuses on workers in our supply chains - both in our Goods for Resale (GFR) and Goods Not for Resale (GNFR). The global nature of our supply chains and the diversity of products and services that we use and sell, means that this is where the greatest complexity and risks lie. Our strategy and programmes address the most salient issues faced by workers and are delivered in those areas where we can have the greatest impact.

We are committed to providing greater transparency of manufacturing supply chains. In support of this commitment, in August 2017, John Lewis released the names and addresses of the factories supplying  own brand clothing, accessories, footwear and homewares. 

This transparency strengthens our human rights due diligence and better enables us to collaborate with civil society in identifying, assessing, and avoiding actual or potential adverse human rights impacts. The list will be reviewed and updated every six months to ensure it reflects the current supply base.


  • Governance and Policy: Our Partnership and Divisional governance committees have shown leadership and commitment in overseeing our strategy and plans. We have updated our Responsible Sourcing Code of Practice and extended its scope to cover Goods Not For Resale (GNFR).
  • Advocacy and engagement: We have engaged and communicated on human rights and labour standards internally, with our suppliers, with our peers, on public platforms, with policy makers and, of course, with workers in our supply chains.
  • Supplier collaboration: Supplier engagement is integral to improving labour standards for workers. Our programmes and pilots rely on the commitment and enthusiasm of key suppliers.
  • Understanding of risks and salient issues: Through our programmes, stakeholder engagement and further risk assessments we have gained a deeper understanding of the salient issues faced by workers at a more local level.
  • Extending the scope of our work: We have carried out further investigation into our raw materials supply chains, increased focus on GNFR and extended our due diligence requirements beyond tier 1 in key product areas.
  • Transparency: In August 2017, John Lewis released the names and addresses of the factories supplying  own brand clothing, accessories, footwear and homewares to increase transparency of manufacturing supply chains.