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 truthful in how we communicate our performance.
Protecting and Restoring Nature
Further to the 2020 review of our Ethics and Sustainability Strategy and in line with our Founder John Spedan Lewis’ passion as a keen naturalist, we concluded that restoring nature and a focus on preventing biodiversity loss should be at the heart of our Ethics and Sustainability Strategy. We will regalvanise our efforts to protect and restore nature and our responsibility for the Partnership’s impact on the planet, in an effort to create a more sustainable future for generations to come.
You can find out more within this section of our website and in ‘Our Plan for Nature’. Across both platforms you will find details of our commitment to be bolder in protecting and restoring nature, and how our commitments to reducing the impact of our commercial activity on the natural world will be put into place.
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 will take action to ensure we are acting credibly; these are an integral part of our five-year Partnership Plan.
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.
The UN SDGs were created in 2015 to establish a path towards a more sustainable and better future for all. The 17 goals are an interconnected call to action, recognising that activity against one target affects the outcomes of others and that progress must be made across many areas to achieve real change. We have assessed the impact of our strategy, policies and commitments and selected 12 SDGs to which we directly contribute through our work in our own operations and our supply chains.
Strong governance of the management and mitigation of our ethics and sustainability risks is critical to ensure we meet and exceed our Purpose ‘Working in Partnership for a happier world’. In 2021, our Partnership’s Board established a board-level Ethics & Sustainability Committee, recognising the importance of our responsibility to our Partners, the environment and those with whom we build strong relationships, including suppliers, customers and communities.
Committee Terms of Reference.
In line with end of year reporting, we undertake annual independent limited assurance over selected data points. For the 2022/23 financial year this process was carried out by KPMG LLP. View their Assurance Statement, and scope of work.
For any remaining reported information, a robust internal assurance process is undertaken by the Partnership’s Ethics and Sustainability team. The team 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 others 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.