When John Spedan Lewis set up the Partnership, he created a governance system – set out in a Constitution – that would be both competitive and democratic.  The terms of our Constitution clearly define how the business, and individual Partners, are expected to behave towards customers, suppliers, the environment, the wider community and each other.

Keith Williams
Keith Williams, Non-Executive Director and Chair of The Corporate Responsibility Committee

Our New Governance Arrangements

The growth of our business has required us to adapt our organisational structure and ways of working to be more productive and efficient. So we have refreshed our governance arrangements to ensure they provide strategic direction and a sound system of internal control.

In 2015/16 the governance of Corporate Responsibility was transferred from the Chairman’s Committee to a newly created Corporate Responsibility Committee.  This is chaired by an independent Non-Executive Director, an additional Non-Executive Director, two Elected Directors, and the Partners’ Counsellor.  In 2016, Dame Fiona Reynolds joined the Committee, bringing with her a wealth of corporate responsibility experience and further bolstering its independence.  Of her appointment, Dame Fiona says: 'I am delighted to have been selected to join the Committee and I look forward to working with the Partnership on these vitally important issues.'


Dame Fiona Reynolds
Dame Fiona Reynolds, External independent member of the Corporate Responsibility Committee

The Role of the Corporate Responsibility Committee

The Committee is responsible to the Board for the oversight of the Partnership’s Corporate Responsibility Policy and objectives.  It ensures these are consistent with the Partnership’s obligations under the Constitution towards Partners, customers, suppliers, competitors, the environment, and the communities in which we operate.  It also makes sure that our policies and objectives are effective in safeguarding the Partnership’s corporate reputation.

In 2015/16, the Committee held two meetings and was engaged in the following activities:

  • Adopted the Terms of Reference of the Committee
  • Reviewed the CR Governance framework
  • Approved our approach to annual reporting.

Managing Sustainability

The Partnership's dedicated CR team is responsible for developing our Sustainability strategy, policies and objectives. With its technical knowledge and expertise, this team supports the divisional teams and the wider business by providing guidance and support to deliver a wide range of projects and initiatives.  Divisional Management Boards, supported by steering groups and committees, are responsible for ensuring our CR Policy is implemented within each division.

Mark Williamson, Commercial Director, Waitrose

'Maintaining commercial success requires a real commitment to doing business responsibly. For Waitrose, this commitment is not only driven by good economics, but also by the Partnership spirit and a sense of doing the right thing.'

Mark Williamson
Commercial Director, Waitrose

Craig Inglis, Customer Director, John Lewis

'Our customers expect the best quality products.  For us, quality includes how a product is sourced, the human rights of those who make it and consideration for its environmental impact.'

Craig Inglis
Customer Director, John Lewis


Report & Accounts

See our Annual Report & Accounts for further information