NEXT is committed to the principles of responsible business. This means addressing key business related social, ethical and environmental matters in a way that aims to bring value to all of its stakeholders, including customers and shareholders. Continuous improvement lies at the heart of NEXT's approach and is achieved by acting in an ethical manner, developing positive relationships with suppliers, recruiting and retaining successful and responsible employees, taking responsibility for our impact on the environment and through contributions to charities and community organisations.
NEXT has a Corporate Responsibility ("CR") forum of 15 senior managers and directors representing key areas of the business to develop and implement strategy. The forum identifies potential issues and opportunities and evaluates the success of NEXT's response. The CR Manager holds regular updates with the executive director responsible for CR.
A third party provides independent assurance on the Group's CR report which is published on the Company's website each year. Commitment to CR matters is recognised externally by its membership of the FTSE4Good Index Series.
NEXT is a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and operates its Code of Practice ("COP"), an established set of ethical trading standards, as an integral part of its operations. The NEXT COP has ten key principles that stipulate the minimum standards with which suppliers are required to comply in relation to workers rights and conditions of work including working hours, minimum age of employment, health, safety, welfare and environmental issues. NEXT seeks to ensure all products bearing the NEXT brand are produced in a clean and safe environment and in accordance with all relevant laws.
NEXT is committed to its supplier audit and management programme and has a COP audit team of 44 staff (2012: 45). The COP team works directly with suppliers to identify and address causes of non-compliance. Each audited factory is measured against the COP's six tier rating system. The supplier is made aware of its rating and what is required to improve via a corrective action plan. This direct approach allows NEXT to build knowledge and understanding in local communities and monitor suppliers through its auditing process.
NEXT's supplier payment policy is to agree terms of payment at the start of business or to ensure that the supplier is aware of the Group's payment terms. Payment is made in accordance with contractual and other legal obligations. Trade creditor days of the NEXT Group at January 2013 were 27 days (2012: 27 days) based on the ratio of the trade creditors at the end of the year to the amounts paid during the year to trade creditors. The Company had no trade creditors at January 2013 or January 2012.
NEXT is committed to offering stylish, excellent quality products to its customers, which are well made, functional, safe and are sourced in a responsible manner. Its team of technologists works closely with buyers, designers and suppliers to ensure NEXT products comply with all relevant legislation, and its own internal standards where these are higher. The expertise of independent safety specialists for clothing, footwear, accessories, beauty and home products is used where required.
NEXT endeavours to provide a high quality service to all customers, whether they are shopping through its stores, catalogues or website. These different ways of shopping must be easily accessible for all customers and be responsive to their needs.
NEXT Customer Services interacts with Retail and Directory customers to resolve enquiries and issues. Findings are recorded and the information is used by other areas of the business to review how a product or service can be improved.
Health and safety
NEXT recognises the importance of health and safety and its management is designed to contribute to business performance. Policies and procedures are reviewed and audited regularly to make safety management more robust and current.
The Group's objective is to manage all aspects of its business in a safe manner and take practical measures to ensure that its activities and products do not harm the public, customers, employees or contractors. Procedures exist to enable two way communication and consultation about health, safety and welfare issues in order to achieve a high level of safety awareness.
NEXT recognises that it has a responsibility to manage the impact of its business on the environment both now and in the future. For a number of years we have measured and reported against environmental targets for NEXT in the UK and Eire. The targets are measured from 2007 and look forward to 2015.
Key areas of focus are:
- Energy use and emissions from stores, warehouses, distribution centres and offices
Target: Electricity consumption – 35% reduction in kg CO2e/m2
Progress: 4% reduction compared with last year, and 30% electricity reduction achieved to date
- Fuel emissions from the transportation of products
Target: Retail Distribution – 10% reduction in litres of fuel used/m2
Progress: 8% reduction compared with last year, and 16% reduction achieved to date
- Waste created in stores, warehouses, distribution centres and offices
Target: To send less than 5% of operational waste to landfill
Progress: 86% of operational waste diverted from landfill achieved to date, in line with last year
NEXT is committed to reducing its carbon footprint by reducing energy consumption throughout its operations, minimising and recycling waste, cutting transport emissions and reducing the packaging in our products.
NEXT supports a wide range of charities and organisations, and provided the following financial support during the year:
|Individual requests, local and national groups and organisations||110||75|
This support was supplemented by the following additional activities:
|NEXT charity events||182||–|
|Gifts in kind - product donations||2,187||1,652|
|Charity linked sales||357||425|
No donations were made for political purposes (2012: nil).