Corporate social responsibility report

Running our business in a responsible way is fundamental both to the way we operate and to delivering sustainable profits and long-term value for our shareholders. This corporate social responsibility report explains how we carry out our responsibilities with respect to the environment, our employees and the community.

Environment

Our ambition is to be the UK's greenest, most innovative and best value grocery retailer, by providing a greener, more sustainable alternative to store-based supermarkets. Some elements of our operations have been developed with the aim of reducing the business' environmental impact.

  • Closed-loop recycling: Carrier bags from Ocado as well as from other shops or supermarkets are collected from customers and recycled to make new carrier bags.
  • Green van slots: Customers can choose a 'green van slot' to minimise the carbon impact of their delivery.
  • Reducing food wastage: The Directors believe that our food waste as a percentage of revenue (0.7% of the revenue for the period) is significantly less than any of our competitors. Some of this food (despite being accounted for as waste as it is beyond the Ocado guaranteed product life) is still within the use-by date, and is donated to various charities or sold at a discount at the staff shop.
  • Anaerobic digestion: Some of our food waste is sent to Biogen, who use the waste to produce electricity and fertiliser.

Suppliers and products

We now have around 600 products in our Ocado own-label range. We support British and EU farming, and where possible, source own-label products from the British Isles. All Ocado own-label is responsibly sourced: Ocado fish is responsibly caught, Ocado fresh meat and poultry is raised to British, EU or New Zealand welfare standards and Ocado boxed eggs are free-range.

People

We deliver superior customer service and business success through our people, which is why it is important for us to reward appropriately, engage, listen to and develop our employees.

We aim to be an exceptional employer; one that recognises talent and develops people to the best of their abilities. One way in which we try to achieve this aim is by offering a range of employee benefits, including granting share options in the Company to each new employee as part of their employee benefits package, so that all of our employees have the opportunity to own a part of the business. The employee benefits package also includes a pension, life assurance, healthcare, an employee assistance programme, a staff discount on grocery orders, free delivery on certain days and a discounted staff shop.

The charity committee with Macmillan

We conduct an annual employee survey across the whole business to measure levels of employee engagement and identify the areas where we can become a better employer. Our employees are given a voice through the Ocado Council, which is our employee representative body, that helps facilitate employee participation and consultation in our rapidly growing business. Representatives of the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers ("USDAW") participate in the Ocado Council, giving employees a choice of independent or union-sponsored representatives to voice their views on pay, holiday entitlements and the number of working hours, along with other topics of general interest.

Our employees are kept well informed of the performance of the Group and key events concerning the business through briefing meetings and communications via the internet, email, video and audio recordings (which are particularly helpful for communicating with our large number of CSTMs). These are intended to help our employees become aware of the various factors that affect the Company's performance.

Every employee plays a part in our success and we are focused on developing our people. Our in-house training team deliver customer focused training that prioritises the health and safety of our people and meets individual needs. Each year we hold a "Driver of the Year" event, to promote driver safety and provide some of our CSTMs with the opportunity to receive training through various driving events. We have created and rolled-out a management development programme, which gives our employees the opportunity to progress their careers. We also run a graduate programme which plays an important part in developing talented people for our future. We have also implemented appraisal processes and succession plans for the business.

During the period, the average number of employees employed by the Group increased to 5,256 employees, excluding agency workers (2011: 5,180).

We are committed to equal opportunities for all of our people, regardless of disability or background. We value diversity and through our equal opportunities policy we are dedicated to creating an environment that is free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation, where everyone is treated equally regardless of age, colour, disability, race, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, political views or religious belief. It is our policy that applications for employment by disabled persons are always fully considered, bearing in mind the respective aptitudes and abilities of the applicant concerned. In the event of employees becoming disabled all reasonable effort is made to ensure that their employment within the Group continues. It is our policy that the training, career development and promotion of a disabled person should, as far as possible, be identical to that of an able bodied person.

Charitable donations

The Ocado 2012 Charity of the Year was Macmillan Cancer Support, which was elected by our employees through the annual employee survey. During the period, our charity committee organised a number of events, which helped to raise £50,711 for Macmillan.

In addition to the money raised by the charity committee, Ocado made charitable donations during the period of £11,100 (2011: £29,250) which included a donation of £10,000 to 10:10 UK (a private sector initiative committed to reducing carbon emissions) as well as a donation to Cancer Research UK.

Social and community issues

We support the community through a number of initiatives.

Peace One Day: Peace One Day is a non-profit organisation which has established a ceasefire and non-violence day that occurs on 21 September each year. They are committed to raising global awareness of the "peace day" through education and encouraging the global community to take action. In September, we worked with Peace One Day and Tamarind's Alfred Prasad to create the Sri Lankan 'Love Cake' recipe to encourage families across the UK to unite for peace in the kitchen. This was included in the Peace One Day Primary Education Resource sponsored by Ocado and was rolled out to schools across the UK as part of the national curriculum.

Root Camp: In July we partnered with Root Camp, an organisation providing unique and engaging camping cookery courses for teenagers. The hands-on rural residential course allows teenagers to source and prepare their food, both in the kitchen and in the field. Root Camp's aim is for students to make more thoughtful decisions about how they feed themselves and others, leaving them better equipped for independent life.

Waitrose Foundation: We make donations to the Waitrose Foundation through our Sourcing Agreement with Waitrose. The Waitrose Foundation is a partnership created in 2005 to help improve the lives of farm workers and smallholders in South Africa, Ghana and Kenya who grow produce for the Waitrose Foundation range of products.

Prince's Charities Foundation: During the period, we made a donation of over £212,000 to the Prince's Charities Foundation, a group of 20 non-profit organisations, through our sales of Duchy branded products.

Political donations

No political donations were made by the Group to any political party, organisation or candidate during the period (2011: nil).

CSTM training at a "Driver of the Year" event at Rockingham Raceway