We engage with our employees and develop, maintain and implement policies that ensure our social impact is positive.

Our Lea Mills factory is at the heart of the Derwent Valley World Heritage site, which places a considerable responsibility on our shoulders.  We engage with our employees through agreed Forums, Newsletters and face to face.

We work with the local Careers Advisory Service to attend local school career events to develop interest in our company. We ensure our key Suppliers are audited to ensure they replicate both our own and legislative ethical standards.

Creating the world’s finest knitwear via a responsible, socially aware process is important both to us and all John Smedley customers.

John Smedley has a long history of Social responsibility.

John Smedley Ltd has documented Company and Brand Values. We ensure we communicate to all our employees the behaviours expected of them and have high expectations about the way in which they conduct themselves.


John Smedley Code Of Practice

Whether employed directly by John Smedley Ltd, one of their chosen partners, distributors or sales agents, any and all parties deemed to be representative of the John Smedley brand must adhere to the strict rules and regulations as detailed within this document.

John Smedley reserves the right to remove all business, products or partnerships from any such representative, should they be deemed to be operating outside of the conditions detailed within this document.

  • Employment must be freely chosen
  • Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
  • Working conditions are safe and hygienic
  • Child labour shall not be used
  • Living wages are paid
  • Working hours are not excessive
  • No discrimination is practised
  • Regular employment is provided
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed

Social Impacts - Employees

We have Developed a Works Council consisting of workplace representatives (both Union and Non-Union who meet on a
bi-monthly basis to discuss matters affecting the company and employees.

To encourage two way communication we also publish a Newsletter called ‘The Exchange’ where the company updates all employees about what is going on in the business and encourages feedback/questions.

Our employees benefit from a contributory pension scheme and increased holiday entitlement beyond the statutory minimum. We  partner with a local Occupational Health service who provides professional medical advice when employees are experiencing health problems resulting in the need for perhaps a more flexible working period or more support in the workplace.

We have a set of employee values which we expect all employees to adhere to. These are displayed throughout the factory venues and are issued upon induction and discussed at Appraisal

Modern Slavery

As a company with a turnover of less than £36m, we are not required to publish a Modern Slavery statement, however, we deem this to be an important issue and one that befits our ethical approach to conducting our business.

John Smedley is committed to driving out acts of modern-day slavery and human trafficking within its business and from within its supply chains, including sub-contractors, and partners.

The Company acknowledges its responsibility within the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and upholds the spirit and intentions of the Modern Slavery Act.

Modern Slavery Continued...

We will ensure transparency within the Company and suppliers of goods and the larger supply chain and services to the Company via the following steps which include:

  • Assessing and reducing the risk in the business of modern slavery practices occurring e.g. checking the authenticity of papers proving a right to work in the UK
  • Developing robust procurement policies that ensure our supply chain is scrutinised for compliance and consequences of non-compliance are clear and actioned i.e. that commercial relationships with suppliers, contractors and other business partners will not be entered (or terminated if existing)
  • Developing and providing information to staff on the warning signs that might indicate that modern slavery is taking place
  • Promoting to staff the importance of raising immediately any concerns they may have
  • Protecting staff who are ‘whistle blowers’ in respect of concerns they have about modern slavery

Gender Pay Gap

We publish our Annual Gender Pay Gap results and are committed to reducing this gap by means of encouraging a flexible approach to encourage the recruitment of women into higher paid roles. We also ensure that roles are properly benchmarked and that pay offered is of an equal value whether the employee is male or female.


As a Levy paying employer we have an active programme of recruiting apprentices annually to ensure the ongoing survival of craft skills within the business and our future success which is important both for the local community and the company. We support career development activities with local schools.

We are the lead employer in the development of a new Knitting Apprenticeship Standard working in conjunction with UKFT.