SuperGroup is committed to operating in a responsible manner and strives to become a more sustainable business. For the Group this means working with suppliers, engaging communities, attracting and retaining the best staff and reducing environmental impact to broaden business benefits to all stakeholders.
Governance and structure
Overall accountability for Group corporate responsibility, including matters relating to ethical trading in the supply chain, sits with the Chief Operating Officer ("COO").
The Group has a sustainability team responsible for delivering all work streams associated with the Group's environmental and ethical trading policies. This team collaborates with key areas of the business to identify opportunities to act in a more sustainable manner. The team reports directly to the COO on issues pertaining to corporate responsibility. Other Group functions, including human resources and health and safety, ensure the well-being of the Group's employees.
SuperGroup has improved upon its ethical trading activities through financial year 2013, building on lessons learnt in previous years, in order to promote safe and fair working conditions within the supply chain.
The Group has expanded its monitoring and assessment capabilities through auditing and other mechanisms whilst also helping suppliers improve working conditions through capability improvement programmes, ethical trading projects and tailored support. These are designed to support continuous improvement against the SuperGroup Ethical Trading Code of Practice.
SuperGroup prides itself on transparency and collaboration and continues to make regular in-country visits to key sourcing countries to maintain the support and buy-in from the supply chain. Participation as a full member of the Ethical Trading Initiative provides the Group with guidance and support to ensure that the ethical trading programme remains on track.
In 2013 the Group:
- Made improvements in supporting supplier factories through the assessment and monitoring programme which led to a decrease in audit issues in key sourcing countries;
- Supported the delivery of a multi-supplier capability improvement workshop in China which provided factories with assistance and guidance on improving conditions for workers; and
- Made further in-country visits to work with suppliers on country specific, industry-wide issues.
Creating environmental value
SuperGroup recognises that it has a global responsibility to minimise the impact of the business on the natural environment. This objective is set out in our Environmental Policy Statement signed and endorsed by the Chief Executive Officer.
In order to achieve these objectives, the sustainability team cross-collaborates with many departments and external stakeholders to identify opportunities to reduce the environmental impact of the company. In doing so the Group continues to reduce the use and cost of resources such as energy.
Progress is tracked using a number of databases that monitor key variables. The Group annually measures its carbon footprint and uses the information to put in place programmes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013 a programme was initiated to roll out automated meter reading devices to all stores to provide better electricity data for analysing, troubleshooting and billing.
The Group continues to increase its use of renewable electricity. In the UK 87% of stores and offices are supplied with renewable energy purchased from micro-generators across the UK, whilst in Europe renewable energy is being purchased from similar tariffs in different countries.
In 2013 the Group:
- Decreased its UK carbon footprint relative to business growth;
- Rolled out a number of energy reduction measures across the store portfolio focusing primarily on reducing lighting loads; and
- Diverted 13.2 tonnes of textile waste from landfill and arranged for it to be recycled. Improved head office and UK warehouse recycling rates to 75% of total waste, from 50% in 2012.
During the year we have provided financial support to the following:
- Cheltenham Design Festival – a donation of £25,000 was made towards this Festival that promotes design excellence through their annual event, and the Saturday Design Academy (free to local students) introducing them to all areas of design.
- CARE International – the Group contributed £6,500 to CARE International, an aid agency that works globally to provide relief against poverty and after natural disasters.
- Neets project – £25,000 was donated to this local charity that helps young people develop their skills so they are better equipped to find employment.
- As part of the Welsh carrier bag regulation the Group has raised more than £4,000 for its chosen charity the Woodland Trust. The trust aims to plant six million native trees across the UK in 2013.
- During the year the Group made one-off in-kind donations to various local charities and community groups.
Health and safety
A key objective of the Group is to provide a working environment where the health, safety and well-being of employees is continuously maintained and improved. The Group also seeks to ensure the safety of its customers and other business partners and to provide assurance to the board that there is a formal health and safety audit and assessment process, conducted by trained staff, that ensures all the premises are assessed on a regular and frequent basis.
Our people are ambassadors of our brand responsible for delivering our business plans, designing and sourcing our extraordinary range of products, and making the Superdry experience a memorable one. We employ over 2,800 people, including part-time colleagues, across the UK and Europe and this is set to grow over the coming year. We're working hard to equip our people with the skills to drive our business forward and offer them rewarding careers. Sharing in our success is something we value and for a second year we offered employees the opportunity to join our Sharesave scheme.
The Group encourages our employees to participate fully in community projects and as part of this in May 2012 ten of them took part in one of the CARE International events raising £6,500 to help provide relief against poverty.
SuperGroup continues to be an attractive place to work and as a result receives a high volume of applications for jobs in Superdry stores. To manage this and improve the candidate experience the Group has invested in technology to support the initial stages of recruitment online. During the year more than 35,000 applications were received and the Group recruited in excess of 800 Christmas temps directly through the website to support the 2012 peak trading period.
With the Government's pension auto-enrolment changes effective from September 2013 the Group is preparing to extend its existing pension plan to all employees. In particular the aim is to help many of the young people in our business understand the importance and value of investing in a pension.
The Group will be investing in a new payroll and HR system which will enable employees to book time off online and receive electronic payslips. It will also provide insight into the Group's rapidly growing workforce both within and outside of the UK.
SuperGroup recognises that as a people business it needs to continue to develop its HR function to support the future plans of the business. Next year will see the Group focus on building leadership capability, training and development to further enhance employees' skills. In addition, career frameworks will be developed to ensure a pipeline of talent ready to meet the next phase of the Group's growth.