At Alliance Boots, we believe we all have a part of play in facing the challenge of climate change. We believe that the success, or failure, of the world to solve this issue will depend on literally billions of individual decisions taken by businesses around the world. We have to act now before it is too late and while we still can influence the outcome.
Our Group’s focus on healthcare means that corporate social responsibility forms a natural part of our business culture. At the heart of our approach is the simple concept of embedding basic CSR principles into our day-to-day work and job processes.
The employees doing their jobs understand the processes best and are therefore in the ideal position to suggest improvements to make their activities more sustainable. For instance, it was our logistics people who developed the idea of sharing deliveries with other retailers to remote corners of the British Isles.
Our people have responded positively for two reasons: firstly, it is part of the fundamental essence of our business, the legacy left by the Boots family of working closely with the community and engaging in charitable work continues to be true today and secondly, it is often what people are used to doing at home anyway.
Many people already recycle their rubbish and turn off lights and electronic equipment when it is not being used
So why not follow the same practices at work?
In recent times, we have seen reductions in our energy use as our buildings have become more energy efficient. We have also reduced the amount of road kilometres driven due to improvements in routing and driver training and, in addition, we have seen reductions in waste generated through using less packaging.
For example our free standing display units are now made from recycled cardboard rather than a mixture of different materials, so they are now fully recyclable themselves.
This has saved 430 tonnes of waste and £156,000. None of these successes has required specialist technical knowledge, but simply that our colleagues fully understand how important this topic is - this is where leadership is key.
At Alliance Boots we have a dedicated Social Responsibilities Committee (SRC) at Board level that oversees the Group’s CSR agenda. The SRC, which meets four times a year, keeps under review and advises the Board on the Group’s policies and practices in the area of corporate social responsibility. CSR is measured and managed in the same way that any other business discipline is.
For us, local ownership of the corporate social responsibility agenda is the key to our success. We have taken the innovative approach of decentralising corporate social responsibility to enable local ‘champions’ to set local programmes in line with priorities set at Group level. We have established a Group-wide framework in which corporate social responsibility activities can thrive and which enables us to benchmark our performance and share best practice.
We have a shared sense of responsibility which is strongly in evidence as people throughout Alliance Boots continue to pursue, with dedication and enthusiasm, many corporate social responsibility activities. This reflects our commitment to doing business responsibly and building the internal and external trust upon which our success depends. Increasingly we are gaining recognition externally for our efforts across the Group and we are keen to celebrate our successes, particularly with our people, such as being awarded the Carbon Trust Standard or “Business in the Community Big Ticks”.
We are always looking forwards and trying to innovate and find new, more efficient ways of working. We have created a network of “critical friends” to help us develop our vision for the future and new thinking around the sustainability of our products, such as using the carbon dioxide emissions from our Combined Heat and Power Plant to grow algae that can be used as replacement ingredients in products.
The current economic climate remains uncertain, but our commitment to meeting the challenges of climate change remains the same. We at Alliance Boots are optimistic about the future. Why don’t you join us and start your own journey today? It’s easier than you think and the Mayday Team at Business in the Community can provide you with the support you need.
Chair of the Social Responsibilities Committee, Alliance Boots
Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division, Alliance Boots
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