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Our approach to responsibility

Quite simply, acting with responsibility is the right thing to do. Today’s business environment is dynamic and unpredictable, so we need to identify and manage our current and potential risks.

Our purpose


Our purpose is to provide safe, nutritious, affordable food and clothing that offer great value for money. In doing these things well, we know we are helping to make millions of people’s lives better. Being a purpose-driven business has helped us get through 2020, a year like no other.

Our commitment

We are proud of our history and, at the same time, we are focused on making a positive difference, now and in the future. 

A great deal has changed since we were established more than 80 years ago, but one thing has remained constant: our commitment to operating responsibly and ethically at all times. This was never more important than in 2020, when our businesses were put under enormous pressure but rose to the challenge.
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Our values

We have consolidated and distilled the different values expressed by our individual businesses into four values:

  • we respect everyone’s dignity;
  • we act with integrity;
  • we progress through collaboration; and
  • we pursue with rigour.

Through our daily activities, our people bring these values to life, to the benefit of our many stakeholders.

Read more about our values

Responsibility governance

Responsibility governance

Our company is built on integrity, strong principles and ethical business practices, and good governance is vital to our continued success.

The Director of Legal Services and Company Secretary is accountable for all responsibility issues, and our Chief People and Performance Officer oversees operational safety and environment matters. Both report to the Chief Executive.

Each of our businesses is empowered to identify, prioritise and manage the risks it faces. These are initially identified at individual sites, then collated at business, division and group levels.This decentralised structure has been a key factor in our ability to weather the challenges associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

Each business’s chief executive submits an annual summary and mitigation plan for all risks, including safety, environment and other material responsibility issues. These are reviewed by the group board to monitor our overall exposure.

These processes complement regular Responsibility and Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) group meetings, helping to share best practice across the group.

For further information, see our ESG Appendix (PDF) and Annual Report (PDF)

Responsibility policies

We have a series of policies in place to help every business in the group operate to the same high standards.

Responsibility downloads

We make our reports and other responsibility-related documents available to download.

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