About Fashion Footprint
Fashion Footprint is Arcadia Group’s programme to monitor and manage the social and environmental impacts of our business. It also provides our ethical activities with a focus and framework, underpinning our objective to be a responsible retailer.
Now in its sixth year, Fashion Footprint reinforces our commitment to sustainability; a commitment that we believe makes just as much sense from a business perspective as it does from an ethical one.
Our Fashion Footprint vision is to produce fashionable products in an ethical way and demonstrate a responsible attitude towards people and the environment.
Last year saw an evolution in the structure of Fashion Footprint and the way we report the activities of our workstreams. This approach of four key pillars – Our Products, Our Environment, Our Employees, and Our Communities – has provided greater clarity and we continue to follow that new template to drive both activities and reporting.
Our Fashion Footprint workstreams are organised into four main areas:
Our annual report continues to provide tangible and anecdotal testimony of the progress we have made in the year ending 31 August 2012 along with insights into the challenges we have faced and our plans for the coming twelve months.
In 2012 we published a summary version of the report for the first time this year. This shorter document was produced following feedback from employees that they would prefer to receive an overview of the company’s performance and access the full report online. It is also aimed at those stakeholders who would welcome an edited version of this report and can be downloaded from our website.
Fashion Footprint GoveRnance
All successful initiatives that bring together a diverse range of stakeholders require strong leadership and Fashion Footprint is no exception. This is the role fulfilled by the Fashion Footprint Steering Group, which comprises senior managers from across our business.
The Steering Group continues to meet quarterly to provide governance, guidance and risk assessment across all our social and environmental responsibilities and to ensure that these activities remain integral to Arcadia’s strategy.
Endorsed by Group Chief Executive Ian Grabiner, the Steering Group is chaired by Alda Andreotti, Group Supply Chain Director. Activity is divided across a series of working groups, each of which is aligned with one of the four key pillars and has a Steering Group member as their sponsor to oversee progress towards monthly key performance indicators (KPIs). The day-to-day running of the Fashion Footprint programme is the responsibility of Derek Mackay, Group Head of Supplier Management, and his Ethical Trading Team.
Along with the Fashion Footprint Advisory Panel (see below), the Steering Group has helped to drive some of the key developments in the Fashion Footprint programme again this year. Each member recognises the role they play in inspiring our teams to reflect the values and vision of Fashion Footprint.
Last year’s addition of the Wallis Retail Operations Director, Carole Simpson, as a retail representative on the Steering Group has proven invaluable in supporting the programme’s roll out to our store teams. The strong appetite demonstrated by our retail colleagues to be part of Fashion Footprint has been very gratifying.
This year we have been pleased to welcome another new and crucial member of the Steering Group, Andrew Clarke, Group IT Director. Andrew has been working with us throughout the year on the significant role that IT can play in achieving our goals and allowing us to aim for more ambitious ones. You can read more under Our Environment.
Steve Guy left the business this year so Ian Poulton joined the Steering Group as Group Head of Purchasing. The remit of the Steering Group was extended last year to encompass risk and compliance issues. We have seen significant regulatory changes with the recent introduction of the Bribery Act while a new Data Protection Act is anticipated. It is fitting that a Compliance Function has been formed to gather and assess the risks faced by our business and to consider our legal and governance obligations.
fashion footprint advisory panel
It is three years since we launched our Fashion Footprint Advisory Panel that acts as the voice of our employees. FFAP members represent brands and functions across our business.
The FFAP has supported the work of our Green Champions and was instrumental in getting an employee volunteering pilot off the ground. As usual, they have been the sounding board and opinion gatherers, supporting our Fashion Footprint Festivals and running a group-wide survey on attitudes to our social and environmental work. More on the FFAP can be found in Our Employees.
Stakeholder engagement is a vital element of all four of our key pillars. It plays a strategic role in the success of our workstreams and how they feed into the pillars as well as how we communicate progress. The following six groups represent our principal stakeholder groups.
1. OUR EMPLOYEES
Our people are such vital stakeholders that we have dedicated a specific pillar to them. We know they want to work for an organisation that takes its social and environmental commitments seriously and we recognise that they play a vital role in helping us achieve our Fashion Footprint vision.
2. SUPPLIERS, THEIR FACTORIES AND FACTORY WORKERS
This group of stakeholders is vital to our business and to the activities within the Our Products pillar. Feedback from them influences change, from translating the Code of Conduct Guidebook to working with us on projects such as RAGS (page 13) and ARC (page 14).
Knowing that the topics we cover in Fashion Footprint are important to our customers is one of the key drivers for this work. We want our customers to be confident we trade ethically and with consideration for our environmental impacts. Contact from customers – usually via letters and emails – ensures we can reflect their interests and concerns when we are carrying out Fashion Footprint initiatives. This is particularly relevant to the rollout of our programme to our stores, which means the people who interact with our customers on a daily basis can be proud of the work we do.
4. TRADE UNIONS, GOVERNMENTS, NGOs, CAMPAIGNING GROUPS AND STUDENTS
This is the most diverse group of stakeholders we work with and can be broadly seen as civil society and government. All input and feedback from this group has a significant impact on our work. This year, as with others, we have been busy working with various members of this group. For example, we continue to work with DFID, the Government department responsible for overseas aid, to build management skills and improve working conditions in factories in the Indian sub-continent.
We attended an Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) conference in India in March to address the issue of Sumangali, a scheme under which young women workers in mills and factories report exploitation (page 17). We continue to liaise with campaigning and pressure groups that bring our attention to important issues or concerns, such as Labour Behind the Label or the Environmental Justice Foundation. We are keen to maintain a collaborative position with these groups.
Our work with trade unions and students has been quieter this year. The International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation has this year become IndustriALL Global Union and although over the last year many students have been involved in campaigning, their main contact with us has been over animal rights questions (see page 19).
5. OTHER RETAILERS AND BRANDS
We regularly collaborate with other high street retailers on a wide variety of projects and initiatives. A good example of this is the RAGS project organised by DFID as mentioned above. We are also working closely with two other retailers on ARC spearheaded by TOPSHOP and TOPMAN to find an alternative to traditional factory audits.
6. THIRD PARTY SERVICE PROVIDERS
We work with many third party service providers, whether it is to test our products or audit our suppliers’ factories. These companies work in partnership with our own teams, providing valuable specific expertise to support our programmes.
For more information about our Fashion Footprint work, you can follow the links above or go to our FAQs.
You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.