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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 sharesave 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 prepared an initial statement, published in December 2016, regarding the procedures in place to limit the risk of slavery or human trafficking events occurring within its business and supply chain. This statement was updated in May 2018 and 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 2017, and the future development of procedures for identifying risks and preventing abuses. An updated statement is currently under preparation.

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 long standing relationships with our suppliers, where through a strengthening of trading commitments, we can make clear our expectations of business behaviour. A review of primary trading partners has been completed 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 has not identified any substantial risks to date. Procurement policies have been updated to include ethical and supplier codes of conduct where appropriate, in addition to any usual commercial contract terms. This process is intended to be rolled out to all appropriate supply relationships. Our procurement policy is intended to comply with the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and incorporates 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 Group. 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 Group’s own employment environment, and particularly with regard to temporary or agency staff use. A review of such hiring practises has taken place, and a list of approved providers is maintained.

Health and safety – the Group takes the health and safety of its staff, customers and everyone else involved with its activities 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 6 across the Group, which was an increase on the previous year when there were 4 incidents.

Sustainability and limiting environmental impact – the Group 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 continued to implement improvement opportunities identified from the audit conducted to comply with Phase one of the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme managed by National Resources Wales. Further LED lighting schemes have been installed in several locations, and a number of projects completed to improve the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings in a number of buildings. Significant capital expenditure on environmental and water management projects at Carmarthen mill has been ongoing, and a new Environment Permit was issued for the site during the year. At Llansantffraid mill, a new Environment Management System (EMS) received Green Dragon environment system accreditation in November 2018, and further site improvements are planned for the new year. 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 Group. We play an active part in communities surrounding our depots 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 significance 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, with donations to these and other organisations last year amounting to £3,072. As 2018 was also the Company’s centenary year, staff agreed to additionally support Children With Cancer UK, which is a UK-based charity dedicated to raising money for research and providing care for children with cancer and their families. The main fund raising event was a Black Tie Dinner, which took place in January 2019 to mark the official end of the centenary year, with 400 people closely associated with the business coming together to mark this significant milestone, and raise a substantial figure for the charity.

Additional Information and New Developments – During the year under review and in accordance with Schedule 19 of the Finance Act 2016, the Group has published a Tax Strategy document on its website, which confirms that the organisation is committed to full compliance with all statutory obligations and adopts a policy of full disclosure to HMRC. The Group refrains from using offshore tax jurisdictions, and will not use specifically constructed tax avoidance schemes or arrangements. The Board also recognise the importance of protecting personal data in accordance with the new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) which came into force in May 2018, and has commenced a program of training and education for all appropriate staff.