Environmental risks and social inequality are making the world more complicated and unpredictable. Customers are increasingly aware of their personal impact on the world and businesses must work hard to build and maintain their trust. Growing pressure on natural resources and poor global stewardship may increase our costs, restrict our access to key raw materials and make our global supply chains more volatile. In addition, as governments and the wider public demand improvements in supply chain transparency, stewardship and accountability, legislation in this area is becoming increasingly sophisticated and challenging.
As one of the most trusted Brands on the high street, we believe our role is to reassure our customers and key stakeholders that our products are ethically and sustainably sourced. To do this, we must look beyond our operations to the wider supply chain, where the biggest impacts occur. Each year we sell around 3 billion items, produced by nearly 3,000 suppliers. We estimate that our suppliers source raw materials from around 20,000 farms and 100,000 smallholders, with our entire supply chain involving around 2 million people. We also use non-merchandise goods and services worth several billion pounds every year, to support our operations - from equipment for new stores to cleaning, security and catering.
Commitments and targets
We aim to enhance the lives and support the local communities of the people who work for and with us. We’re committed to source responsibly and we work closely with our suppliers make sure they respect human rights, promote decent working conditions and improve sustainability across our supply base.
We want to be a leader on sustainable consumption and production in our sector.
We source products and commodities from more than 70 countries, so our supply chain is very complex. We introduced our ethical trading programme, including ethical audits of our supply chain, during the 1990s, and we’ve worked hard to make sure supply chain workers enjoy decent working conditions.
In many countries, jobs at factories or farms that produce for the international market are highly sought after - and we know from experience that the companies running them benefit from increased commitment and productivity when their employees are treated with respect, work in decent conditions, and earn fair rates of pay. Our customers benefit too – from better quality, better value products and peace of mind.
We have a responsibility to ensure workers’ rights are at the forefront of our decision-making and minimum standards are upheld in order to respect human rights, promote decent working conditions and improve sustainability across our supply base. This applies regardless of whether we are sourcing items to sell or use within our business.
Our approach to responsible sourcing focuses on:
All the relevant areas of our business are responsible for ensuring that appropriate processes and controls are in place to implement our Global Sourcing Principles
. To support them, we’ve developed sourcing strategies and standards that facilitate the delivery of industry obligations or particular Plan A commitments that go beyond our minimum standards. For example, our Clothing and Home and Food and Household business units have established industry leading programmes covering manufacturing and farming excellence. You can read more about these on this website.
Working with others
Listening, learning, responding and working in partnership is an important part of how we do business.