As individuals, we all have an effect on the world around us. And when tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people are grouped together - for example, at a workplace - that impact can be considerable.
Social responsibility is the responsibility that Clarks accepts for the way in which our operations make a social, environmental, and economic impact. It's about making a difference by the practices we adopt - accentuating the positive and eliminating the negative.
We have always taken our responsibilities seriously - from providing education and housing for our very first workers in the 1800s to supporting international initiatives to improve people's lives today. We recognise the importance of caring for our employees, suppliers and stakeholders all over the world; and we are working to create a sustainable future.
Below are a few highlights of what we do:
Clarks is working hard across our global business to reduce our overall environmental impact. This is part of our commitment to sustainable business practices in both our own operations and those of our supply chain.
In 2009 Greenpeace highlighted the environmental impact of the increasing level of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Clarks shares these concerns regarding the environmental impact of the leather industry on the Amazon rainforest, and the subsequent effect on biodiversity and climate change.
We take a proactive stance on this issue, supporting effective measures that help protect the Amazon rainforest environment. Accordingly, Clarks' policy is:
Not to use leather in our products that is produced from cattle raised in the Amazon Biome
To maintain the principles of Greenpeace's 'Commit or Cancel' policy for halting deforestation for cattle ranching in the Amazon Biome
To work with Non-Governmental Organisations, the Leather Working Group, and Government authorities to support and promote a long-term strategy towards achieving zero deforestation in the Amazon Biome
To support the development and implementation of a traceability system for leather products, with the objective of ensuring that the leather within our supply chain is traceable back to where it originated.
We believe that the best way to progress is through collaboration with those who share our determination to make improvements. To this end we are working with Adidas, New Balance, Nike Inc, Puma, timberland and others via the Leather Working Group.
This group has developed a globally-recognised environmental stewardship protocol that enable the environmental performance of our leather producers (tanneries) to be consistently assessed, and promotes sustainable business practices in the footwear sector.
In 2009 we contributed to the inaugural 'Forest Footprint Disclosure' report. This initiative champions sustainable and sound business practice in the key commodities that, if managed badly, can encourage deforestation: soy, timber, cattle products, palm oil, and bio-fuels.
We continue to support this initiative through annual submissions and use their findings to guide our future strategy. Click here to find out more.
Reuse & Recycling
Beyond materials for shoemaking, in the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland we operate one of the biggest retail footwear reuse schemes in the world - "Shoebiz" (see below for more information), and are working alongside other brands and retailers to support Loughborough University's work to make recycling of footwear practical on a commercial scale.
Find out more from their website by clicking here.
Employment and Working Conditions
We put people's needs at the centre of all that we do, and have minimum standards for the treatment of people wherever we operate around the world, and those employed making our products. We promote family-friendly working for our employees, and give our people the tools and training to develop their potential to move forward.
Welfare of third-party workers
Clarks has an established factory audit programme that enables us to review working conditions in factories that we use and to identify opportunities for improvement.
To support us in improving conditions, Clarks collaborates with a range of major brands to carry out joint audits in shared factories where possible - enabling us to have more influence and reducing 'audit fatigue' for factories.
We've supported a variety of charities and campaigns over the years. These range from personal requests from employees - supported by an in-store scheme that encourages staff to apply for donations - to large-scale initiatives like those detailed below:
Soul of Africa
Soul of Africa
Soul of Africa is a self-sustainable charity initiative that helps orphans affected by AIDS. It aims are twofold: to raise funds and to create employment through the sale of hand-stitched shoes. Lance Clark set up the initiative in 2004 after visiting an AIDS-stricken community in Durban, South Africa. South Africa has been badly hit by HIV/AIDS, with many children left orphaned by the virus.
The scheme trains previously unemployed, and often unskilled, women to hand-stitch shoes, which are sold through Clarks' stores in the United Kingdom and the United States, plus other retailers.
Since it was founded, the charity has raised over $1,000,000 - which has been invested in facilities for the area's orphans, as well as given meaningful employment to many women in some of the worst affected regions of South Africa.
To find out more about Soul of Africa click here.
Shoe Biz - Transforming children's lives by recycling old shoes
Children at a UNICEF funded school
Launched by BBC television's "Blue Peter" programme and UNICEF in 2007, the Shoe Biz appeal encouraged UK viewers to donate old shoes for reuse to raise money for orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi. The campaign was a huge success; 1.5 million pairs of shoes were donated, enabling the partnership to support 43,000 children in 'Children's corners' which care for some of Malawi's most vulnerable children, many of whom are orphans, providing them with a meal and a safe place to play and learn.
Four years on Shoe BIz is going from strength to strength. The partnership is now helping some of the most vulnerable children around the world to access education. thanks to the support of Clarks customers donating their shoes, UNICEF is able to support children like those living in the remote Mae Hong Son region in Thailand. Thousands of children living in remote villages in rural Thailand miss out on an education because schools are too far from their homes, but a UNICEF supported project is helping to ensure that more of these children can learn by opening schools within their communities.
Despite the fact that around the world more children go to school than ever before, more than 100 million children, most of them girls, are still not in education. Educating girls is one of the best ways of reducing poverty - children are 40 per cent more likely to live beyond their fifth birthday if their mothers have had five years of schooling. Education helps families survive, and by donating old or unwanted shoes at your nearest participating store, you can help Shoe Biz reach even more of the world's most vulnerable children.
It couldn't be easier - there are collection points in more than 500 Clarks stores nationwide. Call your local store now to find out if they are participating in Shoe Biz.
To read more about UNICEF's work on education click here.
To read more about the UNICEF and Clarks partnership click here
To donate to UNICEF click here.
Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Wales)
Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Wales) Regulations 2010 - record for the period 7th April 2012 to 6th April 2013
From the 1st October 2011 new legislation required all businesses in Wales to charge a minimum of 5p per single use carrier bag sold or delivered to a destination in Wales. The scheme, which is enforced by the Welsh Assembly Government, is a way of encouraging consumers to reuse their carrier bags and reduce the number that end up in landfill sites.
All of the paper and plastic carrier bags we currently use in Wales are deemed as 'single use' and are included within the scheme regulations. We charge the minimum of 5p for each bag sold in our Welsh stores, and chose the Community Foundation in Wales as the beneficiary of the charge, deducting only VAT from the gross value raised.
Details of the number of bags sold and revenues are provided in the table below;
|Number of Carrier Bags Sold||Gross Revenue||VAT||Net Revenue|
|All Clarks stores in Wales||168,204||£8,410.20||£1,401.70||£7,008.50|
|Clarks owned stores||140,353||£7,017.65||£1,169.61||£5,848.04|
The Community Foundation in Wales works with Clarks to distribute the money raised to projects that focus on skill building and environmental protection, using their knowledge of community and charity projects across Wales.
To find out more about the Community Foundation in Wales and the projects they support, visit their website at www.cfiw.org.uk.