Creating a global process that enables transparency of ingredients and their traceability for the exclusive consumer retail product brands that we sell
Created in 2015, our external Advisory Panel for Sustainability is comprised of seven independent experts from industry, civil society, and corporate governance. The panel is chaired by Mark Goyder, founder and chief executive of Tomorrow’s Company, and the other members are Oonagh Harpur, senior advisor on strategy, reputation and governance; Tobias Webb, founder of Innovation Forum; Stephanie Draper, deputy chief executive of Forum for the Future; community development consultant Tom Levitt; Alex Maitland, corporate relations manager at Tomorrow’s Company; and Yogesh Chauhan, director of corporate sustainability at Tata Consultancy Services. The panel offers insights, anticipates opportunities and responds to risks.
During fiscal 2016, the panel helped guide a sustainability assessment covering our product brands such as No7, Botanics, Soap & Glory and Liz Earle. This process was conducted with 150 stakeholders, including suppliers, sustainability experts, investor houses and consumers, and collated more than 2,000 data points. We received views on transparency and traceability of product ingredients and on how to ensure we address issues around manufacturing, climate change and supply chains. The panel helped us identify business targets for fiscal 2017 to build responsible and sustainable supply chains, create brands with a caring social purpose and build engagement on sustainability and CSR across our company.
Within their end of year review the panel stated: “We warmly welcome the high level ambitions expressed by the leadership of the Company in relation to social and environmental supply chain issues and the steps they are considering making towards creating a sustainable supply chain. If these ambitions are fulfilled then, in our view, the Company has the potential to become a recognized leader among sustainable brands.”
Another example of how the Company has worked with external stakeholders on traceability is around the issue of plastic microbeads, a type of waste that can enter watercourses and oceans and contribute to marine litter.
The Company has worked with a range of stakeholders, including UK industry group the Cosmetic, Toiletry & Perfumery Association, to understand and address this industry-wide issue. We have also been working with our suppliers, many of whom have already committed to phase out plastic microbeads, to develop further measures in this area.
Boots brands and exclusive beauty and personal care products that contained microbeads were reformulated, and as of the end of 2015, are being produced without plastic microbeads. Boots as a retailer will no longer purchase any products with plastic microbeads after December 2017. In the USA, the Company is working with its suppliers to reformulate its product brands to eliminate plastic microbeads in advance of U.S. state and federal legislation deadlines.
Boots UK has also been working collaboratively with the water treatment industry, suppliers and stakeholders to address other materials which are prone to being incorrectly disposed of in waste water systems and to develop consistent labelling for non-flushable products.