Corporate Social Responsibility

The Board recognises that the long term profitability of the business depends, amongst other things, on appropriate protection of the Group’s assets, reputation and brand names and is subject to the long-term sustainability of the supply chain.

Impact on the environment

The use of resources to manufacture and supply our products utilise finite global resources. The source of the raw materials and the manufacture of the finished products is spread globally and provides employment, income and personal security at many different points in the process. We recognise, however, that our products utilise global resources some of which are limited in their nature.

Some of the initiatives we have implemented include:

  • In the UK, the business meets its responsibilities under the packaging waste regulations through membership of Valpak;
  • Wooden hangers are sourced from sustainable sources and we do not give them away with the products;
  • Reduction in packaging materials for finished goods i.e. no plastic banding, no inner cartons;
  • Plastic returnable tote bins for shipping to our own UK stores to reduce cardboard;
  • Plastic and cardboard waste is collected from our UK stores for recycling;
  • In our US operations, corrugated cartons are re-used whenever possible and ultimately recycled using a band machine so they are crushed into bails for collection; and
  • In Canada we are participants in ‘Stewardship Ontario’, paying a fee for all point of sale materials to be recycled.
Carbon emissions Tonnes of CO2e
Emissions from
Scope 1 (vehicles, fugitive emissions, gas) 428
Scope 2 (electricity) 5,139
Total footprint 5,567

Group chosen intensity measurement £m
Turnover 189
Emissions reported above per £m of turnover 29

This is our first greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions report in line with UK mandatory reporting requirements, set out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). There is no year on year comparison.

The mandatory requirement is for the disclosure of scope 1 and 2 emissions only. We have captured all material qualifying emissions from around the Group. Some extrapolation and estimation techniques have been used to calculate the Group CO2e in respect of less than 5% of our stores and the final month of our data.

The reported sources fall within our consolidated financial statements. We do not have responsibility for any emission sources that are not included in our consolidated financial statements. We have computed our emissions using the DEFRA Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting guidance issued in June 2013.

Our total GHG footprint in line with these guidelines is 5,567 tonnes CO2e.

Supply chain

The Group has used third party manufacturing facilities around the world for over thirty years but has specifically avoided suppliers or regions where the employment or environmental practices are known to be below acceptable standards. The Group requires all of its product suppliers to abide by its guidelines contained in the Supplier Guide. Our staff visit the factories we use for garment production on a regular basis and consider the environment and work practices during those visits, however currently our ability to formally audit the facilities is limited. Our Supplier Guide and the employment standards required of our suppliers accord with industry standards including inter alia that employees should: be given a safe and healthy environment to work in; be given the right to free association; be paid a fair wage; have freedom of association; not be forced or bonded labour; be of an appropriate age; and work only reasonable hours.

The Board recognises that it is not possible to provide absolute assurance that standards expected of our suppliers are adhered to. Where transgressions are identified we would work with the supplier to develop an appropriate remediation programme. However we will not hesitate to stop using any supplier who we identify is persistently operating in contravention of our standards or failing to implement agreed remediation programmes.

There are a number of other CSR topics, such as business ethics, anti-bribery, animal testing and use of chemicals, which are subject to set standards within the business, examples of which are as follows:

Our suppliers have previously confirmed to us that all of our angora is carefully collected by shearing and cutters which does not cause any harm or distress to the animals.

Toast supports the non-use of animals in testing and challenge our suppliers on this matter – our glycerine soaps as an example, do not contain any animal derived ingredients and are suitable for use by vegetarian and vegans.

Tax

The Board is committed to ensuring full compliance with the law and making all tax payments timeously.

The Board are committed to ensuring that openness, honesty and transparency will be paramount in all dealings with the tax authorities and other relevant bodies.

People

We are committed to providing equal opportunities for all of our employees.

We ensure that every employee, without exception, is treated equally and fairly and that all employees are aware of their responsibilities.

We run cycle to work and childcare voucher schemes in the UK for our employees.

The breakdown of the gender of Directors and employees at the end of the financial year is as follows:

Men
Number
Women
Number
Company Directors 4 1
Other senior managers 8 7
All other employees 500 1,639
Total 512 1,647

Notes

Company Directors consist of the Company’s Board.

Other senior managers is as defined in The Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013, and includes: i) persons responsible for planning, directing or controlling the activities of the Company, or a strategically significant part of the Company, other than Company Directors; and ii) any other Directors of undertakings included in the consolidated accounts.

The business complies with locally applicable health and safety regulations in the countries in which it operates. This includes the provision and maintenance of safe environments for our employees, appropriate design of our stores, health and safety training for appropriate personnel, electrical installation reviews, risk assessments and risk monitoring in our offices, stores and warehouses.