Our values make us different

Combine Harvester

Our values make us different

Our values are part of our long-term strategy for growth and make good business sense. As detailed in our 2015 Annual Report, we remain focused on delivering value and values for customers, suppliers, colleagues and shareholders. We anticipate that we will change our corporate responsibility commitments and key delivery goals, to further align with our new strategy.

Best for food and health              

We are committed to producing healthier baskets and set tough salt reduction targets for our own-brand products over 15 years ago. Historically, around ten per cent of our products missed the Government’s 2012 salt targets. We are addressing products such as bacon where, as signatories to the Government’s Responsibility Deal 2017 pledge on salt, the targets present the greatest challenge in terms of customer perception. During the last year, we have also worked with our suppliers to reformulate our own-brand soft drinks and have removed 2,256 tonnes of sugar annually from our customers’ baskets, equating to 8.9 billion calories per year.

Sourcing with integrity

British dairy farmers have come under pressure this year due to price volatility. Our dedicated Dairy Development Group protects members through a cost of production model that ensures they are paid a fair price and rewarded for environmental standards and animal welfare. We have nine other Agricultural Development Groups that contribute to our range of over 1,900 British own-brand products.

We continue to work with our suppliers to address the sustainability of our products. In 2007, we set a stretching commitment to use only sustainable palm oil by 2014, a target we did not reach. As of December 2014, 95 per cent of the palm oil we use to make own-brand products is certified sustainable. We continue to work with our suppliers to bring the remaining sustainable alternatives to market. We have also improved our seafood offer with the launch of the first Marine Stewardship Council (‘MSC’) certified tuna sandwich and our exclusive Freedom Food British rainbow trout. We have received external recognition for having the best own-brand seafood policy, coming joint top of the Marine Conservation Society’s 2014 survey.

Respect for our environment

We delivered industry leading environmental initiatives, including our Cannock store becoming the first retail outlet in the UK to be powered by food waste alone. Our Portishead store became our first to run fridges powered by ‘green’ gas created using waste from sugar beet suppliers. We operate the UK’s largest dual fuel lorry fleet and are working to increase this to beyond 12 per cent of our core fleet. We have also launched a unique lorry with a range of features designed to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

Our pace of innovation for energy efficiency initiatives has slowed so we are searching for new ideas. Our existing efficiency programmes continue to deliver through award-winning initiatives such as the installation of over 100,000 LED lights. Our energy usage and associated emissions are discussed in more detail in our Annual Report.

Making a positive difference to our community

This year, with help from our customers, colleagues and suppliers, we raised £52 million for charitable causes, including around £7 million in support of The Royal British Legion and over £11.5 million for Red Nose Day 2015. Through our Active Kids scheme, we have now donated over £150 million worth of equipment and experiences to schools and clubs since 2005, and the scheme was recognised in March 2015 by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, with a Big Society Award.

We have 384 stores with a local food donation partner, 59 more stores than last year. However, 71 per cent of our stores are without a partner so we are focused on increasing this number.

A great place to work

Recognising that our colleagues make the difference, we have continued to provide training for a range of skills, introducing a new Level 2 Apprenticeship for Craft Skills for our fishmongers and bakers. We have also opened a new college for our Team Leaders and Store Managers, purely dedicated to leadership training.

Our business is changing, and as part of our strategic review we announced restructuring plans as well as a reduction in our store opening programme, which has disappointingly resulted in fewer job opportunities. We are, however, committed to being a good employer and work hard to promote the opportunities available. In the last year, over 450 colleagues pledged their time to mentor young people about careers in retail and since 2008, we have helped over 24,000 people who have faced barriers into work through our You Can scheme.

We are also proud to pay our fair share of tax. Whilst we are obliged to pay tax in accordance with the law, we also ensure that our taxation policy is aligned with our corporate values. We maintain good corporate practice and strict controls in order to protect our shareholders’ funds. 

Our values

Our values guide us in everything we do - from key decisions to day-today activities.

Farmer with Combine Harvester

Our Sustainability plan

Our Sustainability Plan shows our journey addressing the challenges and opportunities not only relevant to our business but also to the world.

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