Corporate Social Responsibility
The Board recognises that the long term profitability of the business depends, amongst other things, on appropriate protection of the Group’s assets, reputation and brand names and is subject to the long-term sustainability of the supply chain.
IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
The use of resources to manufacture and supply our products utilise finite global resources. The source of the raw materials and the manufacture of the finished products is spread globally and provides employment, income and personal security at many different points in the process. We recognise, however, that our products utilise global resources some of which are limited in their nature.
Some of the initiatives we have implemented include:
- In the UK, the business meets its responsibilities under the packaging waste regulations through membership of Valpak;
- Wooden hangers are sourced from sustainable sources and we do not give them away with the products;
- Reduction in packaging materials for finished goods i.e. no plastic banding, no inner cartons;
- Plastic returnable tote bins for shipping to our own UK stores to reduce cardboard;
- Plastic and cardboard waste is collected from our UK stores for recycling;
- In our US operations, corrugated cartons are re-used whenever possible and ultimately recycled using a band machine so they are crushed into bails for collection;
- In Canada we are participants in 'Stewardship Ontario', paying a fee for all point of sale materials to be recycled. All lighting has been replaced with LEDs; and
- Donation of end of life stock to local and national charitable organisations.
|Carbon emissions||Tonnes of CO2e 2020||Tonnes of CO2e 2019|
|Scope 1 (vehicles, fugitive emissions, gas)||95||174|
|Scope 2 (electricity)||1,844||2,869|
|Group chosen intensity measurement||£m||£m|
|Emissions reported above per £m of turnover||16||22|
The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions report is in line with UK mandatory reporting requirements, set out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
The mandatory requirement is for the disclosure of scope 1 and 2 emissions only. We have captured all material qualifying emissions from around the Group. Some extrapolation and estimation techniques have been used to calculate the Group CO2e in respect of less than 5% of our stores and the final month of our data.
The reported sources fall within our consolidated financial statements. We do not have responsibility for any emission sources that are not included in our consolidated financial statements. We have computed our emissions using the DEFRA Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including mandatory greenhouse
Our total GHG footprint in line with these guidelines is 1,939 tonnes CO2e (2019: 3,043 tonnes). The decrease in our footprint has been supported by our targeted reduction in our retail portfolio during the year including the closure of our flagship store in Oxford Street.
The Group has used third party manufacturing facilities around the world for over thirty years but has specifically avoided suppliers or regions where the employment or environmental practices are known to be below acceptable standards. The Group requires all of its product suppliers to abide by its guidelines contained in the Supplier Guide. Our staff visit the factories we use for garment production on a regular basis and consider the environment and work practices during those visits, however currently our ability to formally audit the facilities is limited. Our Supplier Guide and the employment standards required of our suppliers accord with industry standards including inter alia that employees should: be given a safe and healthy environment to work in; be given the right to free association; be paid a fair wage; not be forced or bonded labour; be of an appropriate age; and work only reasonable hours.
The Board recognises that it is not possible to provide absolute assurance that standards expected of our suppliers are adhered to. Where transgressions are identified we would work with the supplier to develop an appropriate remediation programme. However we will not hesitate to stop using any supplier who we identify is persistently operating in contravention of our standards or failing to implement agreed remediation programmes.
The Group supports the non-use of animals in testing and challenge our suppliers on this matter – our glycerine soaps as an example, do not contain any animal derived ingredients and are suitable for use by vegetarian and vegans.
In 2018, the Group published its supplier payment practices in line with UK government ‘Duty to Report on Payment Practices and Performances’ legislation.
The Board has considered the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and has accordingly published a ‘Modern Slavery Statement’ on its website. The statement sets out the actions taken by the Group and the steps going forward to aim to prevent modern slavery from its business and supply chains. French Connection is committed to ensuring it maintains high ethical standards and due diligence processes in place which aim to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its supply chain.
The Board is committed to ensuring full compliance with the law and making all tax payments on a timely basis.
The Board is committed to ensuring that openness, honesty and transparency will be paramount in all dealings with the tax authorities and other relevant bodies.
We run cycle to work and childcare voucher schemes in the UK for our employees.
We are committed to providing equal opportunities for all of our employees.
We ensure that every employee, without exception, is treated equally and fairly and that all employees are aware of their responsibilities. The Group published its UK ‘Gender Pay Gap’ reporting on its website in 2018 in line with UK government requirements.
The breakdown of the gender of Directors and employees at the end of the financial year is as follows:
|Other senior managers||5||2|
|All other employees||238||762|
Company Directors consist of the Company’s Board.
Other senior managers is as defined in The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013, and includes: i) persons responsible for planning, directing or controlling the activities of the Company, or a strategically significant part of the Company, other than Company Directors; and ii) any other Directors of undertakings included in the consolidated accounts.
The business complies with locally applicable health and safety regulations in the countries in which it operates. This includes the provision and maintenance of safe environments for our employees, appropriate design of our stores, health and safety training for appropriate personnel, electrical installation reviews, risk assessments and risk monitoring in our offices, stores and warehouses.