These are as follows:
(a) the likely consequences of any decision in the long term,
(b) the interests of the company's employees,
(c) the need to foster the company's business relationships with suppliers, customers and others,
(d) the impact of the company's operations on the community and the environment,
(e) the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and
(f) the need to act fairly as between members of the company.
The consideration given to each of these matters for Specsavers’ large UK companies is set out below.
In the below discussion, Specsavers means the group's ultimate parent and all its subsidiaries. The board of the company is responsible for fulfilling the company's legal and fiduciary responsibilities. It achieves this in conjunction with two other bodies: the Specsavers Executive Committee (SEC) which is the main decision-making body for Specsavers, the majority of whom are also board members of the group's ultimate parent; and the territory operating boards. These are all internal executive committees with powers delegated from relevant boards, not linked to any one specific company within the organisation, but are responsible for the delivery of the Specsavers strategy within the context of each territory. The SEC directs the overall strategic direction of Specsavers globally; determines risk appetite and control measures; promotes professional standards, corporate responsibility and regulatory compliance; and upholds high customer service standards.
Long term decision making
The Specsavers Long Term Framework (LTF) was established prior to the pandemic to underpin all strategic decisions taken by the board of Specsavers International Healthcare Limited (SIHL), Specsavers' ultimate parent company, and had provided a framework to deliver the success seen in previous financial years. The pandemic had a significant impact on this and resulted in the LTF being stopped in April 2020. As trading conditions returned to more normal levels, the SIHL board took the decision during the current year to revise and relaunch the LTF to focus on our people, customers and growth and this will be used to set the direction for the business for the next five years.
Throughout the year, the overall organisation vision to change lives through better sight and hearing has remained unchanged.
Consideration of employee interests
We place much focus on helping everyone to feel valued, cared for, and supported in achieving their full potential.
We are passionate about supporting our people to be the best they can be, helping them to maintain positive mental and physical health. Through our wellbeing offer, our colleagues have access to a wide range of services including an employee assistance programme and access to various wellbeing services.
To continue being recognised as a great place to work and achieve our long-term goals, our focus must be on our people and their development, providing a safe space to learn, fail, stretch and prosper. Creating and investing in opportunities for everyone to realise their full potential while feeling valued and inspired will ensure we attract and retain the best people to meet the needs of our business today and in the future.
Nurturing business relationships with suppliers, customers and partners
Our success lies in our unrelenting passion to make a difference for our millions of customers worldwide.
Offering the best possible experience, value and choice in eyecare and hearing care ultimately enables us to help our customers live a better quality of life. Hearing directly from our customers continues to be an invaluable part of our business. Over the past year, our global customer feedback system provided us with 1.4 million responses – all of which are used by our teams to improve every day. The scores we received were fantastic across our regions.
The Covid-19 pandemic prompted us to accelerate some of our innovation activity to support customers outside of the traditional retail environment. For example, RemoteCare our free virtual consultation service enables our clinical experts to be available by video call or over the phone to provide essential health advice for eyes and ears. We also improved our online chat capability, giving customers quick and easy access to answer their queries.
Our success is undoubtedly down to the strength of our partnership. Providing exceptional support to our partners enables them to focus on what they do best - changing lives by inspiring their teams and caring for our customers.
Wherever possible, we develop strong, long-term relationships with our suppliers so that we can work together towards our mission of passionately providing best value optometry, audiology and other healthcare services to change lives through better sight and hearing.
Specsavers will identify opportunities to share best practice and collaborate with our key supply partnerships to drive improvements.
Community and environmental impact
At Specsavers, we are passionate about giving back to and working with our local communities, wherever in the world we operate. We support many local, national and international causes, and are committed to supporting eyecare and hearing care projects in developing countries. We also want to help those in our communities who might not otherwise be able to access sight and hearing care services. This includes providing broader access, increasing awareness of prevention, and early detection support.
Specsavers is committed to taking responsibility for the impact our business has on the environment and has adopted a risk-based approach to understanding, minimising and mitigating this impact. This is conducted in line with our values and the responsibilities we have to our customers and our people, as well as our obligations in the countries in which we operate.
Sustainability is a key component of our new LTF, and our environmental programme is an important element within it. Both global and local environmental issues can have a wide-reaching and long-term effect on our society, now and in the future and the SIHL board is committed to helping the planet.
We aim to be carbon net zero, starting with achieving climate positive status (taking out more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than we put in) by 2035.
We plan to do this by:
- Reviewing our product offer and manufacturing processes - looking at the materials we use, the way they are produced, where they come from, and how they get to us. Our aim is to ensure all the plastics we use are sustainable by eliminating problematic materials or, where that is not possible, substituting or reducing their use.
- Reducing our carbon emissions - those we directly control through our operations as well as those in our supply chain. During 2022/23, we will focus on better understanding our carbon baseline and where we need to make necessary changes, setting out detailed carbon targets and planning our journey towards a net zero future.
- Reducing our packaging - not only on our products, but also the materials used to transit our products across the world, without compromising the quality.
- Understanding the types of waste we create - identifying where we can reuse or recycle by changing how we
- operate and eliminating materials that typically end up in landfill.
- Introducing water efficient technologies - to limit the amount of waste water we produce.
- We also require our suppliers to take the necessary steps to protect the environment.
Specsavers has in place a Global Ethical Trading Policy, which enshrines the key requirements of obeying all applicable laws, treating people with dignity and respect, protecting the environment and complying with anti-bribery and corruption policies.
Trading ethically is integral to the way we operate. We work to ensure the people who make our products have safe and healthy workplaces, where human and civil rights are respected.
We develop strong, long-term relationships with our suppliers so that we can work together towards our vision of providing best value eyecare and hearing care to everyone.
We are focused on increasing transparency across our supply chain. We work with over 70 suppliers and 200 factories in 20 countries to deliver the highest standard of products to our customers. Therefore, understanding where our products are sourced and made, and the risks inherent across our operations, is an essential part of our due diligence.
Primarily our products come from globally recognised regulatory environments or factories situated in low- and medium-risk countries. We continue to monitor activity in these countries to ensure that slavery and human trafficking does not exist in our supply chain.
We ensure regular, independent audits of all our major suppliers who do not operate in globally recognised regulatory environments. However, we recognise a need to continuously evolve and enhance how we manage ethical and sustainability risks in our supply chain. As such, in 2022 we launched our new Sourcing Responsibly Framework. This will make sure we are fully equipped to make positive impact on the lives of the people we work with, the communities we serve, and the planet we share.
Broadening our understanding of modern slavery risks, strengthening our due diligence processes, and increasing transparency of reporting continues to be a focus for us while also embedding knowledge and awareness of human rights across our teams.
Full details of our Modern Slavery Statement can be found on our website.
Treating all shareholders fairly
Specsavers' large UK companies are 100% owned by Specsavers Optical Group Limited, and Specsavers is beneficially owned by DJD and ML Perkins.