Signet recognises that many different stakeholders have an interest in its activities, and that the Group's success is dependent on the strength and effectiveness of its relationship with them. Signet's approach to the governance of social, ethical and environmental ("SEE") matters, its framework of principles and policies, its relationship with key stakeholder groups and major initiatives that have occurred in 2007/08 are set out below.
The Group has a formal SEE governance framework with SEE principles and policies being included in the schedule of matters reserved for the Board. The Group Chief Executive has been designated as the director responsible for SEE matters including those relating specifically to climate change, and reports to the Board on a regular basis.
The Group SEE Committee ("SEE Committee"), chaired by the Group Company Secretary, and consisting of senior managers from the UK and US, has responsibility for the implementation of the various aspects of the SEE principles and policies, including climate change initiatives, through a programme approved by the Board. Both the US and UK have a divisional SEE committee, members of which make up the SEE Committee and are drawn from the merchandising and buying, human resource, corporate communication, finance and internal control functions. The SEE Committee meets at least four times a year. The Group Company Secretary reports to the Group Chief Executive regarding the Committee's work.
Matters for which the SEE Committee has responsibility include:
The procedures for SEE risk management are embedded within the management structure of the Group. SEE risks are discussed in 'Risk and other factors'.
Signet has important relationships with a wide range of different stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees, suppliers and communities. The Group engages with these stakeholders in a number of ways, including consumer research, customer service facilities, employee attitude surveys, supplier relationship management systems, investor relations programmes and participation in civic and community activities. In addition, Jewelers of America (the US speciality jewellery retail trade association) engages with stakeholders in the industry, including non-governmental organisations, trade unions, producers and manufacturers, governments and consumer groups, on major issues. Signet is the world's largest speciality jeweller. However, its share of the worldwide jewellery and watch market is less than 3% of the total. Therefore, it is the Group's belief that it can be most effective in influencing improvements in the supply chain by working with other industry representatives who together can, by concentration into a single industry voice, be representative of many aspects of the supply chain and use their combined influence in working to improve it as a whole. In support of this position, the Group Chief Executive is on the Board and is Chair Elect of Jewelers of America and chairs its Ethical Initiatives Committee. He is also a director of the Council for Responsible Jewellery Practices ("CRJP") (as is the Group Company Secretary), and during 2007 chaired the World Diamond Council ("WDC") Consumer Awareness Advisory Committee.
The Board has adopted a Statement of SEE Principles ("Principles") outlining the Group's policy to operate as a profitable and reputable speciality jewellery retailer, the Group's responsibilities to various stakeholders and the SEE principles by which it operates. The Principles cover the following areas:
The Group has a Supplier Code of Conduct ("Supplier Code") and policies on business integrity, health and safety, the environment and labour standards. The Principles, Supplier Code and other policies are now incorporated, as appropriate, into the Group staff induction process and operational procedures within the business. More detailed information is available on the Group's website (www.signetgroupplc.com).
Signet's principles and policies are intended to provide a framework with which the divisional policies and procedures conform. They do not replace detailed divisional policies and procedures.