Last year’s widening of the Fashion Footprint programme to embrace our store-based colleagues has proven to be a springboard for further activity.
Our initial aims were twofold: to raise awareness of the role our store community could play in helping us operate more responsibly and to significantly reduce the consumption of resources across our retail operations.
A working party hosted a series of meetings with the retail teams to encourage engagement and identify some simple goals that would galvanise store efforts. The outputs were: a mission to reduce stationery consumption in stores, and to challenge employees to come up with their own Fashion Footprint pledges.
One year on, and we were pleased to be able to revisit the teams and update them with our progress.
Stationery orders have reduced significantly and new order forms have been adopted to focus attention on business-critical materials. A stationery amnesty was staged to help run down remaining stocks.
Stores have reduced paper consumption by switching from printed documents to email briefings for all operational actions. Any printing that does take place now defaults to double-sided. This has lead to a reduction in paper consumption of 18%.
Tickets used to reserve items for customers have been laminated so they can be re-used and light bulbs that can be switched to low-energy equivalents have been identified.
Meanwhile, awareness has been achieved via the pledge boards our store teams created last year. Messages have ranged from switching off the lights wherever possible to supporting local charities.
We recognise that maintaining this momentum requires commitment, so we are planning a Fashion Footprint Focus Week at the beginning of 2014. Each store team will be given a pack of blank recycled stickers that they can customise with their own messages to be shared with colleagues.
Stores will bid to win a prize for the best ideas, slogans and top tips highlighted by their stickers. Competition winners will support the retail working party, using the successful ideas to form the basis of future savings and targets for next year’s programme.
The pilot to introduce an employee-volunteering scheme, driven by our team at Wallis, is now complete.
Their initial target was to identify and deliver three volunteering events at partner charities relating to causes selected by our employees and located within easy striking distance of our central London head office.
The first project was completed last year with a further two realised this year. This year’s first event saw employees help out at Providence Row, a drop-in centre for the homeless in East London, while the second was a makeover day for cancer patients at Paul’s Cancer Support Centre in Battersea, south London.
The events have garnered enthusiastic support from the team at Wallis head office with over 270 working hours donated and 25% of the head office workforce getting involved across the three events.
Employees welcomed the chance to become actively involved in giving back and the charities have benefited from a transfer of skills, one of the key learnings of the pilot is the amount of time and resource that organising these events has absorbed.
This insight has prompted us to seek a brokering partner who are experts in the field and who can take control of the organisational challenges. Outsourcing the arrangement of our employee volunteering in this way will also enable us to extend the pilot beyond Wallis and across the rest of the business.
It will also provide the ability to market activities more effectively internally and it will bring the additional benefit of making our people’s investments more measurable in terms of their impact.
TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT
We have continued to ensure all new employees in Buying, Merchandising, Design and Technical Services attend our Introduction to Ethical Trading training session at the beginning of their employment. The workshop is mandatory and is managed by the brands as part of their induction process. This year over 750 employees have attended the workshops.
Our senior team members are reminded of their responsibilities in the area of purchasing practices via our Leadership Expectations framework.