Operating Responsibly

SuperGroup strives to operate in a responsible manner and to be a sustainable business. It has made significant progress during the year and has agreed upon key projects for the year ahead.

Governance and structure

Accountability for Group corporate responsibility sits with the Chief Executive Officer, Julian Dunkerton. Matters particular to ethical trading in the supply chain are now led by the Chief Operating Officer, Susanne Given.

A sustainability team is responsible for delivering and managing all work streams associated with the environmental policy and ethical trading policy statements. This team operates independently of the sourcing and buying teams, and progress on the key issue of ethical trading is monitored by the Group's audit committee. Other Group functions, including health and safety and human resources, ensure the wellbeing of the Group's employees.

Factory conditions

The approach to ethical trading is designed to promote safe and fair working conditions wherever the Group operates. At the heart of this are the rights and welfare of all workers in the supply chain and also the wider community.

Since the end of the financial period the Group has launched a supplier manual. Containing the ethical trading terms of engagement, it forms a key element of the ethical trading communication and is designed to foster collaboration and transparency.

The Group uses audits, self-assessments, and factory visits and work collaboratively with suppliers to continuously improve conditions in line with the SuperGroup ethical trading code of practice. Information is continually fed back to sourcing and buying teams to assist with responsible purchasing practices.

SuperGroup has engaged with other retailers, Non-Governmental Organisations ("NGOs") and trade unions in order to get a wider understanding of issues. The Ethical Trading Initiative ("ETI") board has acknowledged the continuous improvement and commitment to ethical trade and upgraded SuperGroup to full membership status.

In 2012 the Group:

  • Audited 61% of the main production factories for autumn/winter 2012;
  • Implemented an audit programme to achieve more than 90% coverage by mid-2013;
  • Provided training to key internal design, sourcing and buying employees at SuperGroup;
  • Participated in a tri-partite ETI apparel and textiles programme focusing on supply chain working conditions in South India; and
  • Communicated the anti-corruption and bribery policy and guidelines to the suppliers.

Creating environmental value

The Group recognises the responsibility to minimise the impact on the natural environment and that efficient use of resources leads to direct cost savings for the Group. The sustainability team collaborates with departments across the Group to identify opportunities to reduce energy and waste.

Improvements implemented during the year include a continued reduction in the carbon footprint of new stores, the implementation of head office energy reduction measures, an increase in Group-wide waste recycling, including textile recycling, and the implementation of lower carbon, reduced cost logistics routes. Details of some of these are provided below.

The Group's carbon footprint calculations are being independently assured by an external specialist environmental consultant, providing the Group with confidence in the carbon figures and a benchmark from which to set targets.

This year, the Group signed a contract with sustainable energy providers, Good Energy Limited, to provide over 92% of all UK stores and office buildings with a 100% renewable electricity tariff through to October 2013. This partnership supports over 35,000 independent solar, wind and water energy generators all around the UK.

In 2012 the Group:

  • Created a new low-energy lighting solution for the Regent Street flagship store reducing lighting energy use by 68%;
  • Reduced waste to landfill from all head office buildings by 55%; and
  • Generated over £6,500 in net revenue through the warehouse recycling programme.

Recognising communities

  • As part of the Welsh carrier bag regulations introduced in 2011 the Group has raised £2,888 for its chosen good cause – More Trees, More Good for the Woodland Trust. This campaign aims to plant six million trees across the UK in 2012 and the Group is proud to contribute;
  • During the year the Group contributed £7,500 to Care International, an aid agency that works globally to provide relief against poverty and after natural disasters; and
  • Since the end of the financial year a donation of £25,000 was made to a Gloucestershire charity that helps young people develop their skills so that they are better equipped to find employment.

Health and safety

A key objective of the Group is to provide a working environment where the health, safety and wellbeing of employees is continually maintained and improved. The Group also seeks to ensure the safety of its customers and other business partners.

To provide assurance to the board, there is a formal health and safety audit and assessment process, conducted by trained staff, that ensures all the premises are assessed on a regular and frequent basis.

Employees

The Group has implemented an employee assistance programme, called 'EmployeeCare' a third party product, offering round the clock counselling on a range of matters.

To encourage wider share ownership for employees, a Save as You Earn scheme was introduced during the financial period. This has provided a secure saving platform for employees as they are not obliged to purchase shares at the end of the term.

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