Ethical trading: 2018-19 corporate social responsibility highlights

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A map indicating the countries from which Specsavers’ products are sourced

Trading ethically is integral to the way Specsavers operates globally, and the business continually works to ensure the people who make its products have safe and healthy workplaces and that its suppliers are taking the necessary steps to protect the environment. This commitment was upheld over the last 12 months, and plans are in place for further progress over the next year.

Specsavers is committed to its global ethical trading policy and ensures regular, independent audits of all major suppliers who do not operate in globally-recognised regulatory environments. Wherever possible, Specsavers develops strong, long-term relationships with suppliers so that they can collaboratively work towards a shared vision of providing best value eye care and hearing care to everyone.

The company continually strives to develop and promote high standards of social and environmental responsibility. Since 2008, Specsavers suppliers and their subcontractors have been required to operate and be assessed in accordance with the company’s code of practice based on internationally-recognised standards.

They must:

  • Commit to act in accordance with all the relevant laws, regulations and industry standards in the countries in which they operate
  • Treat people with dignity and respect
  • Protect the environment
  • Comply with anti-bribery and corruption policies.

Specsavers is also focussed on increasing transparency across its supply chain. The company works with over 70 suppliers and 200 factories in 20 countries to deliver the highest standard of products to its customers. Therefore, understanding where its products are sourced and made, and the risks inherent across its operations, is an essential part of Specsavers’ due diligence.

The company’s product origins are represented in the sourcing map above. The company’s products primarily come from globally-recognised regulatory environments or factories situated in low- and medium-risk countries. Specsavers continues to monitor activity in these countries to ensure that slavery and human trafficking does not exist in its supply chain.

Each Specsavers supplier is required to sign a Declaration of Conformity annually to acknowledge and confirm their compliance with the principles and requirements of the Specsavers supplier ethical trading code of conduct.

Progress in 2018-19
Globally, over the last financial year:

  • The Specsavers group completed 59 supplier audits across its product categories. These audits ensure compliance with the company’s social and environmental standards and adherence to regulatory requirements, enabling long-lasting improvements to be achieved.
  • Specsavers remained committed to acting responsibly and trading ethically, protecting the environment and ensuring that the people who make the company’s products are safe, healthy, and free from human right abuses.
  • As part Specsavers’ Modern Slavery Act compliance activity, the company developed new documentation to provide further clarity on its ethical trading position and a set of e-learning modules to provide its teams with both general guidance and awareness of associated risks.
  • Specsavers obtained declarations of conformity from its suppliers operating within globally-recognised regulatory environments.
  • Specsavers reviewed its Global Ethical Policy and Frame Purchasing Manual and issued an updated version to all suppliers. The company outlined its expectations concerning sourcing materials, specifically conflict minerals. All suppliers are required to verify that their source materials are from socially-responsible suppliers and conflict-free mines.

Plans for 2019-20
Over the coming financial year, Specsavers will:

  • Complete at least 70 compliance renewal audits to ensure existing suppliers meet its ethical standards, in addition to audits for new suppliers
  • Identify opportunities to share best practice and collaborate with its key supply partnerships to drive improvements
  • Develop its conflict minerals approach in accordance with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s five-step framework and adapt its compliance processes accordingly
  • Review and update its policies and practices concerning anti-bribery
  • Continue the development of educational resources for suppliers and colleagues to increase knowledge of modern slavery issues
  • Investigate ways to collaborate with non-governmental organisations and improve stakeholder engagement with its suppliers.

To read more about Specsavers’ ethical trading and corporate social responsibility work over the last year, read the Specsavers Annual Review 2018-2019.

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