As a retailer, serving millions of customers in more than 1,600 stores across eight countries, we are well aware of our impact on society and environment. Governments, agencies and regulators set the regulatory framework in which we operate, providing rules and regulations affecting all aspects of our business. However, we believe that our responsibility extends beyond compliance.
As we grow, our impact on society and the environment is increasing. We are therefore responsible for ensuring sound ethical and environmental practices covering our operations throughout our supply chain and in the communities in which we operate.
For this reason, we have developed our Action Social Responsibility strategy. It is our roadmap to do business while respecting human rights, trading ethically and protecting the environment - in our own operations and in our supply chain.
The Action Social Responsibility strategy has four building blocks, each closely related to our business:
- Product: We want to make sure that our products are safe, of good quality and are produced sustainably, e.g. we set the frame, implement and control proper working conditions for products that we import directly with support of an agency.
- People: We want to be a responsible employer. This includes that we offer jobs to people of every age, educational level and background, that we develop our employees and ensure a safe working environment.
- Environment: We try to minimise our impact on the environment as much as possible in all areas of our business, from the stores, to the distributions centres and the transportation of our goods up to the headquarters.
- Good Citizenship: We support the local communities of our stores, as well as communities where we produce.
In 2019, we updated our Action Social Responsibility Strategy. It is now inspired by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were ratified in 2015 as a global development agenda towards 2030. During the strategy update process, we selected four of the SDGs on which to focus our efforts. By aligning our ASR strategy with the SDGs, we contribute to the fulfillment of global goals and the realisation of clearly defined action points which are a joint effort of NGOs, states and economic players. To expand and strengthen our ASR strategy, a dedicated ASR committee was established in the first half of 2020, comprised of our CEO Sander van der Laan, our Commercial Director Hajir Hajji and our Supply Chain Director Joost Bous. Rob Wesseling, our General Counsel and company secretary will assume overall ASR leadership and will coordinate the implementation of the ASR strategy.