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Our commitment

We are committed to meeting our customers’ expectations to provide a wide range of products while operating a responsible business. Our customers expect us to provide them with choice, value for money and a good shopping experience. Customers also expect assurance that our products are safe, made with care for the environment and that factory workers are treated fairly. We have active programmes in place to work towards exceeding our customers’ expectations, in our stores, online, and behind the scenes across our supply chains.

Customer focus

Maintaining a high level of customer service across the Group is a strategic priority for our business. We have a number of initiatives in place to ensure customers continue to enjoy the experience in our stores and online. More...

Responsible sourcing

Paper sourcing

Paper-based products are a core part of WHSmith’s business and sustainable timber sourcing is one of our key CR priorities. We are committed to minimising the environmental impact of the paper used in our own-brand products, and aim to ensure that all virgin (i.e. non-recycled) material used in our products is from known, legal, well-managed and credibly-certified forests.

As part of our work towards this objective and in line with the requirements of the EU timber regulations, we carry out an in-depth and rigorous assessment of supplier forest sourcing systems. We have set certified or recycled timber as a minimum standard, which gives additional assurance that pulp is from low risk sources. We use the two leading global standards developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) for certification. Our sourcing teams both in the UK and the Far East work with our suppliers to help them understand our requirements and how the data they provide is needed to demonstrate that the pulp used in a WHSmith product is sourced from a certified or recycled source.

We have made significant progress and this year we are able to report that we have achieved our 2020 target, moving our percentage of certified and recycled material to 95 per cent from last year’s value of 90 per cent. This progress has been made by continued dialogue with our suppliers and getting more of them to move to using certified or recycled materials. This improvement has been delivered as a result of the efforts of our buying teams both in the UK and the Far East, working to communicate our forestry requirements to suppliers and increasing the number of products produced from certified or recycled papers.

Ethical trade

We are committed to maintaining good labour standards across our supply chains. Ethical trade is a key part of our CR programme and one of the most important risks for us to address. Our ethical trade programme has three elements – training for buyers so that they understand the role they need to play, factory audits to assess risk, and supplier engagement projects to improve conditions for workers.


Board accountability
Carl Cowling
Group Chief Executive
Executive accountability
Sean Toal
Managing Director - High Street
Toby Keir
Managing Director - Travel