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Our approach


Coats is a global business, operating on the ground in over 50 countries across six continents worldwide. We operate to the highest ethical business and employment standards across all our global operations.

During 2019 our Board confirmed their full commitment to the Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact, and as a result we were delighted to join as a Participant of the United Nations Global Compact. Taking an active role in helping extend the United Nations Principles, which are already embedded in our business, and promoting action in our business and through our supply chain to help deliver the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals comes through a natural alignment of our culture and strategy to those principles and goals.

Our 2019 Sustainability Report is our first Communication on Progress (COP) that formally renews our commitment, reports on our activities and outcomes in support of the Principles, covering human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and identifies the Sustainable Development Goals that our activities relate to. We will continue to align our Sustainability Report to the COP reporting obligations of the Global Compact in the future.

We believe that a strong approach to Sustainability can help us to achieve our business goals by improving efficiency, strengthening our reputation and customer relationships, and enabling more motivated employees and safer working practices.

Sustainability Management

Sustainability in Coats is regularly reviewed by the Board and is championed by the Group Chief Executive and the whole Group Executive Team (GET).

Delivery of the strategy is managed by the Sustainability Delivery Team (SDT). This is led by 3 members of the GET, the Chief Supply Chain Officer, the Chief Human Resources Officer and the President, Apparel & Footwear.

The Head of Sustainability manages the SDT which comprises eight further core members from a range of functional areas, and each of these has a designated area of responsibility for delivery of SDT workstreams or representation for stakeholders in the SDT.

There are then a large number of people in the organisation associated to the SDT via their participation in projects related to the sustainability strategy. In our view delivery of the Sustainability Strategy demands the participation and support of the whole organisation. The SDT meets monthly, and there are a number of sub-groups meeting as per the needs of their workplans.

Underpinning all of our sustainability efforts is a deep commitment to running our business in an ethical, responsible and transparent way. We expect our employees and our suppliers to behave ethically in all their dealing relating to our business. All our senior employees and those with customer or supplier facing roles receive regular training in ethics and compliance, including on modern slavery. These training programmes, available in 12 languages form part of the induction for new starters and are done every two years by all relevant employees. The last global round of training took place in 2018 and will be repeated again in 2020. This training is delivered to over 4,000 employees. To retain focus in 2019 relevant staff are required to do an Ethics Code self-certification exercise annually.

We support the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in all our operations. Underpinned by our global policies, we uphold the requirements of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the core International Labour Organisation Conventions and The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. We uphold the aims of the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010 and the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and we have published a statement on our actions to prevent modern slavery in our operations and in our supply chain.

Find out more about our key Sustainability policies.

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