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Better Retail Better World

Better Retail Better World

Section 5

Decent Work & Economic Growth

The retail industry is the largest private sector employer in the UK and its supply chains impact of millions of people around the world. Committing to respecting human rights, supporting sustainable markets and developing skills are fundamental to all retail businesses.




In 2015, IKEA committed to paying the Real Living Wage and London Living Wage, whose rates are set independently, to all co-workers. In April 2016, IKEA became a principal partner of the Living Wage Foundation. As part of its wider Global Employment Standards strategy, IKEA UK also introduced one weekend off in four for retail co-workers. The Global Standards were introduced to further enrich co-worker satisfaction, well-being and to provide fair and equal opportunities for all. In 2015 John Lewis Partnership carried out a review of its human rights due diligence approach and identified the most salient issues faced by workers and developed a strategy to drive improvements in these areas. A key area of focus for the Partnership is worker engagement, an example of this is the John Lewis Model Factory Programme in the UK, which uses feedback from confidential online worker surveys to support managers to facilitate more meaningful discussions with their workers to address issues that will improve their experience of being at work.



In 2016, M&S signed-up to the United Nations Global Compact and published its first ever report on Human Rights. In 2017, M&S was ranked as the top retailer and second-best company overall, in the inaugural Corporate Human Rights Benchmark. Through M&S’s Global Community Programme the retailer has helped over 130,000 people in key regions of the world where it sources M&S products and, in addition, has provided training on employee responsibilities and rights, health care, numeracy and literacy to over 890,000 people. Schools are often far away from artisanal mining communities, so children miss out on formal education. In 2016, Signet partnered with Diamond Development Initiative (DDI), an international non-profit organization focusing on the political, social and economic challenges facing the artisanal diamond mining sector, to fund two mobile schools for mining communities in the DRC. These schools provide customized education to 50 children who might otherwise be working in the mining fields. Students are provided with uniforms, school materials and daily meals.