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Corporate Social Responsibility

The Directors recognise the importance of managing the business in a responsible, fair and ethical manner, and strive to engender such values in every aspect of the Group’s
operations. Social, environmental and sustainable considerations are taken into account in the formulation of polices in the following areas of activity:

Human resources

the relationship nature of much of the Group’s trading activities makes it heavily dependent on the quality and efficiency of the personnel involved in the business. People management and development is therefore critical to the success of the Company, and considerable effort and investment is put into the recruitment, training, welfare and support of all staff. The Group is committed to creating a fair, enjoyable and fulfilling work environment and has policies in place to create opportunity, prevent discrimination, encourage engagement and keep staff informed on aspects of the business. All eligible employees are offered the opportunity to become shareholders in the business through regular invitations to join share save schemes. The Board believes that these tax effective and relatively risk free arrangements are an ideal way of aligning staff interests with those of other stakeholders.

Modern slavery and human trafficking – following the introduction of the Modern Slavery Act 2015, the Group has adopted a statement, to be reviewed annually, regarding the procedures in place to limit the risk of slavery or human trafficking events occurring within its business and supply chain. This statement sets out Wynnstay’s current approach to understanding the potential risks of such abuses, and the steps in place and to be implemented, to prevent modern slavery or human trafficking events occurring within its own business and associated supply chains. This statement relates to intentions and actions taken during the financial year, and the future development of procedures for identifying risks and preventing abuses.

The Wynnstay Board has committed to preventing modern slavery and human trafficking acts within its corporate activities, and to ensure that its national and international supply chains are free from such abuses. Where possible the organisation prefers to build longstanding relationships with our suppliers, where through a strengthening of trading commitments, we can make clear our expectations of business behaviour. During the year, a review of primary trading partners has been commenced with a view to identifying relationships where a risk may exist. This categorisation approach is intended to allow the Company to prioritise its limited resources initially to any areas of perceived highest threat. Engagement with these suppliers is then planned to ensure that an agreed procurement policy, expressing ethical and supplier codes of conduct, is implemented in addition to any usual commercial contract terms. This process is intended to be rolled out to appropriate supply relationships during 2017.

Our procurement policy is intended to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and incorporate a risk assessment protocol which identifies and assesses potential risk within that particular supply chain. Appropriate investigative and auditing processes commensurate to the scale of the enterprise and risk, are intended to be executed as necessary. Our staff will be provided with sufficient training enabling them to identify risk and ensure the expectations of the procurement policy and its associated processes are understood at all levels across the Business. All suspected cases of modern slavery and human trafficking are requested to be reported to the Head of Procurement, and any such report will be investigated on a case by case basis, with appropriate remedial action taken immediately. The Board also recognise that concerns about modern slavery are not just limited to the Company’s supply chains, but may also be a risk within the Business’s own employment environment, and particularly with regard to temporary or agency staff use. Therefore a review of such hiring practices was requested during the year, and improvements to employment due diligence processes are expected during 2017.

This statement has been approved by the Company’s Board of Directors, who will review and update it annually.

Health and safety

the Group takes the health and safety of its staff, customers and everyone else involved with the business very seriously. All staff receive basic training and where individual roles require, additional specialist support is provided. Occupational health specialists are utilised to screen employees who operate in environments with an added risk of exposure to noise, vibration or other hazards that may cause harm. The Group and subsidiary Boards routinely consider health and safety matters and ensure adequate resources are in place to enable all personnel to fulfil their obligations in this regard. The Audit Committee considers an annual report on safety, risk and compliance management and will require appropriate action be taken where areas of concern are identified. Reportable injuries (Riddor) during the financial year numbered 5 across the Group, which was a significant reduction on the previous year when there were 10 incidents.

Sustainability and limiting environmental impact

the business seeks to operate all activities in a sustainable manner, and management are actively encouraged to consider and minimise the environmental impact of their operations. Energy usage is recorded across the Group and reported centrally for monitoring, with individual departments tasked with efficiency improvement targets on a unit productivity basis. During the year the Group completed the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme managed by National Resources Wales, which required a full audit of all energy consumption and the investigation of initiatives to specifically reduce such consumption. As a result, a significant number of capital investment projects have been approved which should produce considerable environmental and financial benefits in future years. Recycling processes operate across the Group for plastics, paper, cardboard, metal, wood, electrical equipment and used oils. Fuel efficiency is paramount in vehicle investment decisions, and mileage management is a key task for all fleet responsible personnel.

Supporting the community

Making a positive difference to the communities in which we operate is important to the business. We play an active part in communities surrounding our stores and business offices by supporting local events, fundraising activities and community groups. Offering support to educational establishments such as schools, colleges and universities in the form of donations, group visits and support with research projects is of particular importance as we recognise the importance of the future generation within the industry. Alongside this we support the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution (R.A.B.I) and local Young Farmers Clubs in all regions as our nominated charities, and together with other staff fundraising efforts, a total of £6,000 has been donated during the year. Additionally, customers at Just for Pets Limited have continued raising funds for the training of guide dog puppies. The total raised over the last five years now amounts to over £55,000, which has contributed to the training of ten dogs for this very worthy cause.

Auditor Independence

The Board is satisfied that KPMG LLP has adequate policies and safeguards in place to ensure that auditor objectivity and independence is maintained. The Company meets its obligations for maintaining the appropriate relationship with the external auditors through the Audit Committee whose terms of reference include an obligation to consider and keep under review the degree of work undertaken by the external auditor, other than the statutory audit, to ensure such objectivity and independence is safeguarded.