The Royal Society (‘the Society’) is committed to taking the appropriate measures to reduce the risk of slavery and human trafficking taking place in our organisation or our supply chains. This statement is made pursuant to section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and constitutes the Society’s slavery and human trafficking statement for the financial year ended 31 March 2023.
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, commonly known as the Royal Society, was founded in 1660 and incorporated by Royal Charter, and is a registered charity in England and Wales. The Society has two wholly owned subsidiaries, Royal Society Trading Limited and Royal Society (London) Ltd. Royal Society Trading Limited was dormant throughout the year ended 31 March 2023.
The Society is a self-governing Fellowship of many of the world’s most distinguished scientists drawn from all areas of science, engineering, and medicine. Fellows and Foreign Members from across the globe are elected based on the excellence of their science. The Society’s fundamental purpose, as it has been since its foundation, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity. The Society’s strategic priorities emphasise its commitment to the highest quality science, to curiosity-driven research, and to the development and use of science for the benefit of society.
As a national academy, the Society represents the UK and collaborates with international partners to advocate for science and its benefits. It provides authoritative and independent advice on matters of science that support the public good, including policies that promote excellent science and scientific issues that inform public policy. It also organises scientific conferences and publishes scientific journals.
The Society’s supply chain
The Society engages suppliers to provide services to support in operational activities. The key areas in which we engage suppliers are:
- Facilities management;
- Information technology;
- Catering and events management;
- Finance; and
- Legal and investments.
In 2019, the Society reviewed its policies and added measures to minimise the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking in our organisation and our supply chain. Our key policies and procedures include:
- Procurement policy which sets out requirements for ethical procurement and the standards required of the suppliers we work with;
- Whistleblowing policy which encourages staff to report concerns including any related to modern slavery and human trafficking; and
- HR procedures which cover procedures to ensure that our staff have the appropriate right to work documents and ensures they are paid fairly.
All of the Society’s policies have a relevant policy owner assigned and are formally reviewed at least every three years. Changes in the landscape are continually monitored and policies are continually reviewed in this regard to ensure they remain effective and appropriate.
Due diligence processes
The Society undertakes checks as part of the vetting process for new suppliers which are considered to be operating in a high risk context and has methods of monitoring the due diligence assessment undertaken, including a schedule for routinely checking that high risk suppliers continue to comply. These checks include ensuring suppliers have appropriate policies in place, their compliance with applicable law and whether they adopt certain best practice recommendations.
This process is carried out by the Society’s procurement team and are reviewed on an ongoing basis for efficiencies and improvements.
Our grant activities
The Society awards grants to many organisations, including a grant scheme awarding grants directly to organisations in Africa. It is not as easy to assess host organisations outside of the UK as it is not a legal requirement to consider modern slavery and human trafficking in their policies and procedures. However, as part of our due diligence procedures we have reviewed relevant policies and made best practice recommendations where appropriate.
The procurement team attends regular training sessions which include updates on regulatory requirements and provides examples of best practice.
All new joiners attend an induction session which includes information and training on relevant policies, which include measures to minimise the risk of modern slavery and human trafficking where appropriate.
This statement has been formally approved by the Council members of the Society and signed on their behalf by Sir Adrian Smith, President of the Royal Society, on 17 July 2023.