Modern Slavery Statement

Modern Slavery Act Statement 2019


Slavery and human trafficking is a truly abhorrent practise which is constantly adapting as wider global forces influence its form and momentum.   Surrey Satellite Technology Limited is committed to contributing to its total eradication by continuing to challenge our supply chain, fortifying our own operational practises and working with others to exchange learnings and experiences to counter its every move. 


This is our fourth statement to be published in accordance with s.54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and relates to actions and activities between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019.

Organisation's Structure

We have been delivering small satellite missions for over 35 years, giving us the experience to justify our reputation as one of the world's premier providers of operational and commercial small satellite programmes.

In 2008 Airbus bought the majority shareholding from the University of Surrey, allowing SSTL to fulfil its growth potential.  SSTL Ltd is now a wholly owned subsidiary company within Airbus. We are governed by a Board of Directors overseeing our Executive team who manage our 375 staff across two UK locations.

Our Policies on Anti-Slavery and Human Trafficking

SSTL operates certain policies that support our commitment to identify slavery risks and take the necessary preventative steps to ensure there continues to be no slavery or human trafficking in our own operations as follows:

  • Code of Conduct - we endorse the principles of the Airbus Code of Conduct which, for the purposes of this Statement, gives clear and comprehensive instruction in respect of protecting human rights and maintaining positive and healthy labour relations.  It is made available to our staff on our Intranet site and new revisions feature on our internal news carousel.
  • Whistleblowing Policy – we continue to encourage all our employees, workers, customers and other business partners to report any concerns related to the activities of SSTL or our supply chain.  This includes any circumstances that may give rise to the risk of slavery or human trafficking.  Our Whistleblowing policy is designed to make it easy for all parties to make disclosures without fear of retaliation. Employees, customers or others who have concerns can contact any member of the SSTL leadership team, the Compliance Officer or the Managing Director. He or she may also make use of the “OpenLine” system put in place by our shareholder, Airbus either by telephone on 0800 27 00 00 07 or through the OpenLine website:

Our Supply Chain in 2019

SSTL’s product and service requirements are split into two over-arching classifications: Direct (products destined for flight) and Indirect (products and services that support the manufacturing process or the general business operations).  As a small, independent company, our Procurement team is responsible for all categories within the supply chain; everything from catering, facility and clean room maintenance, I.T and security to complex flight equipment and specialised components.  This level of diversity requires the team to have an in-depth understanding of the supply chain structure for each category as well as the ability to recognise, evaluate and mitigate all risks associated with the unique profile of each.   

We recognise that slavery and human trafficking could be happening in our current supply chain and we remain steadfastly committed to finding it and eradicating it.   We have continued to integrate a culture of awareness and governance and successfully implemented a number of initiatives in 2019, including:

  • All Procurement team members achieved the CIPS/Walk Free Foundation and Traidcraft ‘Ethics in Procurement and Supply’ eLearning Certificate for 2019-2020.
  • The SSTL Modern Slavery Working Group was expanded to include a new member of the Compliance team as well as the Customer Training (KHTT) Manager (“Know-How Technology Transfer”).  Modern Slavery and ethical business practise content has been expanded and embedded in KHTT training material where there are in-country supply chain development requirements.
  • All staff at SSTL were required to complete Modern Slavery e-Learning as part of their training and development.
  •  “Know Your Supplier” (“KYS”) On-boarding and Re-evaluation suite of tools and processes implemented and already successfully audited.
  • We reduced the number of suppliers by two thirds across the board in order to maximise the impact and benefits of the KYS objectives which relate to eradicating Modern Slavery.  Our Approved Supply Chain (ASL) is now made up of almost 1000 suppliers across 10 categories; 200 of whom are considered ‘key’ against an established spend and risk criteria.  We will continue to rationalise our supply base as appropriate.
  • Some specific risk areas in our supply chain were identified and addressed appropriately.

Future Actions

SSTL’s supply chain management plans, procedures and overarching long term strategy has ethical and transparent business conduct at its core.  In 2020 we will build on the foundations detailed in our previous Modern Slavery statements and undertake the following activities:

  • Achieve a completion rate of 100% for the Modern Slavery 2019 all-staff e-Learning.  Data shows that around 30% of staff did not complete the training before the December 31st deadline.  It also shows that most of the employees within that 30% work in one of only three departments.  Efforts will be concentrated here and additional on-line media and learning materials which will resonate specifically with these individuals will be shared in appropriate forums on a more interactive basis.
  • All Procurement team members to maintain their CIPS Ethical Procurement & Supply certification in 2020.
  • Investment in a new supply chain monitoring algorithm-based tool from a globally recognised leader in this field which will complement our strategy and increase the reach of our “Know Your Supplier” objectives exponentially.
  • Continue to enhance the KHTT supply chain development content in line with unique customer profiles and challenges.
  • A new SSTL Intranet section is currently under construction and will be dedicated to news articles, videos and other media related to Modern Slavery and will be of specific relevance to SSTL, our supply chain, our products and the wider space industry.

This statement has been approved by the SSTL Executive Team and is signed by Philip Brownnett, SSTL’s Managing Director.


Philip Brownnett

Managing Director, SSTL

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