Raw Materials

We depend on the world’s natural resources for the 400,000 different product lines we source and sell each year.  Our commitment is to gain assurance that raw materials are sourced in ways that protect and enhance local ecosystems and improve the livelihoods of the people in our supply chains. 

In order to understand the impact of the key raw materials in our products, we are committed to tracing raw materials in our own-brand products back to source. Many of these contain key forest commodities such as leather, palm oil, soy, timber and paper.  These can present operational, reputational and regulatory risks. As a consequence, we are continually working with our buyers and suppliers to ensure that we have traceable and well-managed supply chains, allowing us to source products in a way that does not harm forests and that respects human rights

Our focus for 2015/16 has been to gather much deeper insight about our timber, cotton, leather and feather and down supply chains.  We have employed the expertise of external organisations to help us to do this.  Streamlining our processes and systems to capture supplier information and continuing to train and develop suppliers and buying teams have been at the forefront of our activity.


Lumberjack cutting timber

Timber & Paper

We have focused on improving the transparency and risk assessment processes of our timber and paper supply chains. This year Rainforest Alliance provided recommendations for enhancing our timber policy (PDF 664KB) and worked with our sourcing office in Delhi alongside key suppliers to explore opportunities for improving their sourcing practices.

We are also taking action to strengthen our due diligence systems and focused our efforts this year on completing a full supply chain mapping exercise.  This has allowed us to understand our global and dynamic supply chain in much more detail.  We aim for 100% of our own-brand timber and paper product to come from fully verified responsible and sustainable sources  by year end 2020/21.  Currently 100% of our garden furniture is FSC-certified and we will continue to work proactively through our strategic supply chains to support successive stages from source to final product in order to target other categories.  For example, we are working to establish where in our supply chains certified material is readily available and working with suppliers to replace conventional sources.

We are also strengthening and building relationships with our direct suppliers to empower them to affect change in their own supply base.  Our supply base optimisation process is helping us to address this.  Together with quality and commercial criteria, the ability to meet our Sustainability goals is central to evaluating our existing supply base.  Consolidating our timber and paper products through fewer suppliers will enable us to concentrate on moving significant volumes from conventional sources to responsible and sustainable alternatives.

Target Progress
100% of our own brand timber and paper products will be from responsible and sustainable sources by year end 2020/21. By volume, 19% of our own brand products are certified sustainable and 4% are verified responsible which includes non-controversial sources and pre-and post-consumer waste – see our policy (PDF 664KB) for further detail.

Better Cotton Initiative logo

Cotton

Cotton is one of the most significant raw materials we use.  Recognising the social and environmental risks inherent in the sourcing of cotton, we have a target that by year end 2020/21 50% of cotton (by volume) in own-brand products will come from sustainable sources. 

To do this, we are implementing a number of key changes to our sourcing strategy.  This includes improving our data collection systems, working with key suppliers to update product specifications and aiming for a full phase-out of conventional cotton in key categories. We will support this by continuing to provide training to our suppliers and buying teams.  As members of the Better Cotton Initiative, for example, we have developed a sourcing toolkit for Buyers to help them incorporate Better Cotton into their ranges. 

We are also members of working groups on Sustainable Clothing Action Plan (SCAP).  This will provide us with the tools to help us reduce the environmental footprint of our clothing.


Luxury Hungarian Goose Down products

Leather, Feather and Down

Leather has a considerable environmental footprint at every level of the supply chain, from animal farming to hide processing and manufacturing of the final product.  For this reason, we first aim to improve the quality of data we have on our leather consumption, and to target increases in leather suppliers audited to the Leather Working Group standard. 

We are on the WWF Leather Buyers Platform working group – we see this relationship as key to supporting us in our approach.   Similarly, we recognise animal welfare concerns associated with feather and down.  Our aim over the next year is to gather sourcing data and to set a strategy for full accreditation of these supply chains.