Ten years ago, we launched Plan A with our commitment to be a socially useful business, one that puts far more back into society than it takes out. We have completed 296 individual commitments, substantially improved our social and environmental performance, whilst saving more than £750 million in costs and winning more than 240 awards. We have also learnt how to embed, measure impact, scale and collaborate to create better outcomes for individuals. As we reboot Plan A with Plan A 2025
this sees a decisive step change on social issues with 19 of 100 commitments focussed on Human Rights and 35 of the overall total on wider social issues helping to transform lives and communities.
This year’s Human Rights Report
provides an overview of the steps we have taken to further embed human rights into our business. It has been a busy year with a real focus on gaining better insight to inform our approach, strengthening our governance and simplifying our areas of focus for greater impact. Board directors have been actively involved discussing our approach at four Operating Committee meetings and within the Group Board Audit Committee and Sustainable Retail Advisory Board. To further strengthen our human rights governance, we established a new independent Human Rights Stakeholder Advisory Group whose insight and challenge has proved invaluable. We have shared our insight in the hope it will be helpful for others. Our 16/17 modern slavery statement
also includes the detail on the collaborations we are finding helpful and it includes the summary video from our modern slavery conference
and our first Modern Slavery Toolkit for Suppliers and Partners
. We are keen to improve the effectiveness of the toolkit and would welcome feedback to improve a subsequent version. To further strengthen our insight we have entered into a new three year collaboration with Oxfam to take an independent review of our supply chains in the UK and India.
We’ve increased our transparency on human rights, extending our factory transparency map to cover our beauty and home suppliers to add to the food and clothing suppliers already listed
. It now covers over 15,600 factories and over 950,000 workers. We know employee engagement, effective representation and the right to Freedom of Association are strongly linked to enabling businesses to respect all other human rights. Globally many workers across many different industries don’t have effective representation to have their voices heard and acted on. Therefore, as a first step towards encouraging improvement across industries, we have included site level worker representation status on to our supply chain map.
We have also disclosed additional information on our policies, auditing protocols, and how we have resolved allegations raised through grievance or whistle-blowing channels. It was great to see the culmination of some of this activity recognised by Corporate Human Rights Benchmark
and Fashion Transparency Index
ranking as this supported the business extending our ambition. We have reflected on the insights and feedback, listened carefully to the views of colleagues, suppliers supply chain workers and stakeholders to group our future work around three key themes – taking the lead on modern slavery, tackling in work poverty and fostering an inclusive economy. These three key themes map back to the sustainable development goals 5, 8 and 10
. There is lots more detail in our Human Rights Report
that helps explain the linkage to our new commitments. We have been bold in setting our commitments and will need collaborative partners to help us define scope and measure impact. Our aim is not just to minimise risk, we are committing to making a positive impact and developing the business case for standing up for human rights.