Our Sustainability strategy
Pioneering a Sustainable Future was launched in 2019 and we are happy, in this document and through our third stand-alone Sustainability Report to give an update on progress and to explain why our report is subtitled Raising our Ambition.
Our current strategy was developed in 2018 based on our 2017 materiality assessment. We repeated a new biennial materiality assessment in 2019 and decided that the strategy at that stage still reflected the key issues faced by the business and our stakeholders . Our next scheduled materiality assessment would happen in late 2021, however as the pandemic developed in 2020 we could see clearly that this event, with all its implications, would have a significant impact on materiality. The relevance of key issues to our stakeholders and to our commercial goals was bound to be different post-pandemic to the situation pre-pandemic, and we considered doing a materiality assessment update during 2020 to try to capture this. We decided not to as we felt that the full impacts of the pandemic might not yet be apparent and that it was therefore appropriate to delay the update till 2021 but to do it early in the year rather than at the end.
This process is already underway and will be completed in the second quarter so that it can feed into a sustainability strategy review during the second half. The approach we are taking is similar to the 2019 review, we will evaluate each issue against its relevance to Coats’ three commercial goals (i.e. Profitable Sales Growth, Strengthening the Core and Value Delivery) and their importance to each of our key Stakeholder groups (i.e. Employees, Customers, Shareholders, the Environment, Communities and Suppliers). Any updating of our strategy that happens as a result of this accelerated materiality assessment will be reflected on our website and in our next Sustainability Report.
We have reviewed our existing strategy based on the new materiality assessment and concluded that the strategy remains appropriate and still relates to the key issues facing our business and our key stakeholders. The mapping of our material issues to our strategic pillars is shown below:
|Pillar||Why is this a priority?|
Water: Water is a precious resource and is coming under increasing pressure
globally. Textile manufacturing uses a lot of water, especially for dyeing
processes. To ensure that sufficient water is available for everyone
and the natural world, we have to ensure that we use no more than
is necessary and use it as efficiently as possible. Not prioritising this
would entail risks for business continuity and rising costs.
Energy: Climate change is a significant risk issue for our business and we
need to reduce our energy demand where possible and decarbonise
the energy that we do continue to use.
Effluent and emissions: While we continue to use water in our processes we will generate
effluent. It is essential that any water we return to the environment
is properly treated to ensure that there is no damage to the water
sources that we and our communities rely on.
Social: We employ nearly 18,000 people from 60 countries spread across 6
continents. Ensuring that our diverse people are skilled and engaged
and have the development opportunities they seek has always been
critical. The experience of the pandemic during 2020 has served to
reinforce this commitment.
Living sustainably: Our products are produced largely from synthetic materials that are oil
based. Because these materials don’t biodegrade, and the raw material
source is finite, we must ensure that we develop towards circularity of use.