Our strategy

Our Partnership is governed by a written Constitution which is based on clear and enduring principles and rules. It sets out our responsibilities to each other,  to the environment and those with whom we build strong relationships including suppliers, customers, and communities.

 

The Partnership takes an integrated approach to being a more sustainable, ethical business. Focusing on six areas, each is critical if we are to protect the planet and respect and support the interests of all those touched by our business.

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People in supply chains

Protecting the rights of workers in our supply chains and championing worker voice.

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Agriculture

We guarantee a fair deal for producers, and support them to farm with nature.

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Aquaculture

We ensure that all of our fish and seafood is responsibly sourced.

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Climate action

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions in operations and supply chains.

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Raw materials sourcing

Sourcing our raw materials more sustainably, and collaborating with others to drive industry wide change.

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Social impact

Connecting and giving back to communities and charitable causes.

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Circularity & waste

Designing with circularity in mind and eradicating waste.

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Nutrition, health & wellbeing

Enabling customers to lead a healthy and happy life.

OUR APPROACH

Building strong relationships with people inside and outside our business is key to delivering our vision for ethics and sustainability and long-term business success. It is important we listen and respond to their concerns, are honest in our expectations and fair in how we communicate our performance.

MATERIALITY

When sharing our ethics and sustainability priorities and progress we consider material information to be that which is of greatest interest to, and which has the potential to affect the perception of, those stakeholders who wish to make informed decisions and judgements about our commitment to sustainability. Our key stakeholders are our Partners, customers and local communities where we operate, our suppliers, Government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and campaign groups.


In 2020 we completed a full review of our Ethics and Sustainability Strategy. This enabled us to identify priority focus areas where we can have the greatest impact, as well as the key areas where we need to take sufficient action to remain credible; these are an integral part of our five-year Partnership Plan.


Our approach is guided by reporting frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI) Sustainability Reporting framework.

GOVERNANCE

Strong governance of our management and mitigation of our sustainability and ethics risks is critical to ensure we meet and exceed our commitment to be a force for good. The Executive Team, led by Sharon White, sets the strategic direction for sustainability and ethics across the Partnership. The delivery of the agreed strategy is overseen by the Partnership Board. Nina Bhatia, the Partnership’s Executive Director of Strategy, has accountability for the performance of sustainability and ethics across both our brands, John Lewis and Waitrose. 


Beneath the Executive Team is the Sustainability & Ethics Committee. Membership of this Committee is currently under review and will be updated later this year.

ASSURANCE

In line with end of year reporting, we undertake annual independent limited assurance over selected data points. For the 2020/21 financial year this process was carried out by KPMG LLP. Their Assurance Statement, and scope of work, can be found here. The reporting criteria can be found here.


For any remaining reported information, the Partnership’s sustainability and ethics team determine which assertions are deemed to be high-risk, or to have an inherent significant risk of error and/or impact on reputation if mis-stated. The team then carries out testing, which includes a range of evidence-gathering procedures. For some assertions testing might be directing specific and targeted enquiries to other Partners closely involved in relevant activities, while for some it may include corroborating information with third-party documentation, or recalculating data sets. Where the team is unable to obtain appropriate corroborating evidence, the assertion is not published; where evidence contradicts the assertion, amendments are made.