CSR

 

CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY POLICY

VOW takes great pride in our business practices and procedures and takes its Corporate Social Responsibility seriously.

This policy outlines our key commitments to our employees, environment, suppliers, customers and our community.

 


OUR EMPLOYEES

VOW is an Equal Opportunity Employer and as such is committed not only to observing employment legislation but also to the promotion of equality of opportunity in employment.

All employees and job applicants will be given equal opportunity irrespective of their sex, sexuality, culture, HIV aids status, marital status, race, religion, nationality, ethnic or national origin, colour, disability, age and any other condition which cannot be shown to be relevant to effective job performance.

Selection for positions, opportunities for career development and the provision of training will depend solely on job requirements and the individual's abilities.

VOW is committed to the elimination of any type of harassment and will take appropriate steps to deal with complaints. Deliberate or repeated acts of discrimination by employees will be treated as serious disciplinary offences in accordance with the VOW discipline procedure.

 

Recruitment and Promotion

To ensure that VOW equal opportunities aspirations are met it is essential that professional procedures are carried out in cases when recruitment and selection is taking place. Compliance with the policy is mandatory and disciplinary action may be taken against any persons who wilfully or repeatedly fail to comply with its requirements. Further advice about all aspects of recruitment and selection are available from the Human Resources Department.

 

Training, Promotion and Career Development

It is the policy of VOW that it will not discriminate in the provision of training.

The Company is committed to ensuring that individuals have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively and are able to contribute towards the efficient running of their departments/location, by providing them with the necessary training.

It is the Company's policy to develop in house training programmes wherever possible so that they can be tailored specifically to meet the needs of the individuals concerned. In house courses will be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure that they are up to date and relevant. Requests for external courses may be granted if there is a genuine need for training, which cannot be satisfied within the Company.

Employees can request financial support/sponsorship from the business for vocational training and professional development which takes place over a period of months or years; applications are considered from all employees irrespective of service.

 

Internal Communications

VOW believes in the effective communication of information to all employees.

The Company communicates internally through a variety of mediums including the Intranet, briefings, notice boards, and employee forums.

The Company is committed to honest communication with employees in relation to our strategies, targets and performance.

We value the comments and ideas of our people and operate a "Bright Ideas at Work" scheme which rewards those ideas which make a difference to the business. 

 

Health and Safety

It is the Company policy that all reasonable steps will be taken to ensure the health and safety of persons whilst at work, and to prevent damage to Company property.

It is the duty of all employees to conform to Company policy and safety codes of practice, and to co-operate with the Company in meeting all relevant statutory obligations.

The management's responsibility cannot be discharged without the co-operation of all employees, whatever duties they are asked to perform.  Involvement by all in the prevention of accidents and risks to health is therefore clearly the responsibility of all personnel.

The Company regards it as essential to promote joint discussions on the subject of safety; thereby ensuring involvement at all levels throughout the organisation.  It is essential that all employees understand that no one person is the custodian of safety.

Safety at work can only be achieved by positive action and teamwork at every level in the business; everyone has a vital role to play.  At the highest level there is a duty to provide the means to secure a safe working environment and to monitor progress towards achieving this.

Middle and line management has a duty to ensure that they involve all their employees in this task.  Likewise, all employees have a responsibility to co-operate with management instrumental in achieving our safety objectives.

All contractors and other authorised persons working on, or visiting, Company locations, must receive written Company permission to use any plant, equipment, apparatus etc., and must ensure that there are health and safety facilities available and used, and that the Health and Safety Policy is observed at all times.

All work methods and systems of work will be periodically appraised for risk to ensure that the safest possible methods and procedures are adopted.

The Board of Directors will give full backing to this policy, and will support all those who endeavour to carry it out. Employees are responsible for their own behaviour and should ensure that they do not add to the dangers of others. Any employee involved in an accident or dangerous occurrence should report the facts to their supervisor immediately.

The Company Compliance Officer is responsible for assisting management and the Local Health and Safety Representatives to implement the Company's Health and Safety Policy in the work place.

 


 

OUR ENVIRONMENT

VOW is committed to helping to reduce our carbon footprint and ensuring we are making the greenest choices possible through improved energy awareness, clearer recycling containers and using recycled resources for our products.

The business is fully compliant with UK, Republic of Ireland and EU regulations where they apply. In order to minimise our affect on the Environment we have implemented a Management System that conforms to ISO14001:2004. The Management System includes processes to plan, identify, control and review all environmental activities. Any adverse impacts are dealt with through a robust Corrective Action process to identify and eliminate the cause, thereby preventing further problems in the future.

 

In 2010, VOW overachieved on their target for reducing their energy use at their Distribution Centres and Head Office by 160%.  VOW also overachieved on their waste recycling targets by recycling over 91% of the waste at their locations. 

VOW is committed to continually investing and monitoring the energy used and waste recycled throughout its UK premises. This is to establish what alterations can be made to further improve the businesses impact on the environment.

 

Products

The business currently sells more than 2400 products which have a recyclable content of 50% or more. VOW is continually attempting to increase this number of products within the portfolio with the assistance of suppliers.

 

Packaging

VOW's delivery boxes are the most efficient way of providing a one way delivery package. The design of the box ensures that the products arrive undamaged to their destination and 95% of the products are packaged in fully recyclable cardboard with other materials kept to a minimum and only used when no other form of packaging can be utilised.

VOW is continually investigating ways to improve the business’s waste disposal operations at all locations in order to minimise the effect on the environment. Wherever possible reusable plastic boxes are used on conveyers within the warehouses and transportation to and from suppliers and local branches.

 

Printing and Publications

VOW continues to make more publications available in a digital catalogue format eliminating postage and printing in their Digicat service. The business has also increased the level of VOW Marketing material made available to Resellers online and via email thus providing an environmentally responsible solution.  

VOW also continues to process Reseller artwork approvals for publications and mailers using a web based solution thus minimising the impact on the environment by reducing the necessity to print sample-marketing material prior to actual order.

The business will continue to evaluate and optimise how it processes Print and Publication orders to ensure it continues to reduce its impact on the environment. 

 


 

 
 OUR SUPPLIERS

VOW is committed to working with its suppliers to ensure that the welfare of workers and labour conditions within the supply chain meet or exceed recognised standards.

The Company will not knowingly deal with any suppliers where:

• Forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour is used
• Workers are required to lodge deposits or their identity papers and are not free to leave their employer after reasonable notice
• A safe and hygienic working environment is not provided
• Workers do not have access to clean toilet facilities and potable water
• Recruitment of child labour takes place
• Workers are not paid fairly and consistently
• Workers are required to work excessive hours
• Harsh or inhumane treatment of workers is permitted
• Wages paid are not enough to meet basic needs
• Deduction  from wages is permitted as a disciplinary measure

Senior members of the Merchandise team undertake regular reviews with all suppliers, including factory visits, to ensure that recognised standards are adhered to.

Each supplier is required to sign up to a CSR code of practise to ensure they meet with the above criteria.

 


 

OUR CUSTOMERS

VOW is committed to providing the highest level of service and is driven by developing long-term, loyal relationships with all our customers. It is the policy of VOW to act with the upmost integrity when dealing with any existing or potential customer.

VOW’s commitment to their customers is not only exemplified in their mission statement and company values but can be demonstrated through their continued efforts to create a partnership with their customers through the creation of initiatives like the VOW+ Program.

We are committed to communicating fully with our customers through a variety of mediums including direct communication through the sales team, emails and posted letter but also through the internet, trade press, annual road shows, customer forums and presence at industry events.

 


 

OUR COMMUNITY

VOW understands its responsibility to the local community and as such is constantly striving to contribute further. We endeavour to give time and financial aid to a range of charities both nationally and locally. Our chosen charity is the Institute of Cancer Research who we have raised in excess of £190,000 for since 2007. In 2010 VOW colleagues, family and friends helped raise £65,380 for the charity on the 2010 ‘Climb for Life’ walk in the mountains of the Peak District.

From 2010 VOW has also chosen to support a smaller charity The Rutland House School for Parents and have launched the innovative ‘Pennies from Heaven’ scheme. Pennies from Heaven is a coin collection method that enables employees to donate spare pennies from their income to charity.

Our commitment to the community also extends to the development of future generations and we welcome work placement students and school party visits. As part of our commitment to the education sector any surplus office supplies are distributed to local schools.