Published on: May 29, 2012
Morrisons has taken a lead in the grocery sector by becoming the first of the UK's big four supermarkets to commission independent assurance of an annual corporate responsibility (CR) or sustainability report using the AA1000 Assurance Standard (AA1000AS).
The assurance of Morrisons’ 2011-12 CR review was carried out by Two Tomorrows. It provides third-party confirmation that claims in the report come from genuine sources and are made with the backing of sound evidence.
We used Global Reporting Initiative principles to assess the report, the sixth annual CR report produced by Morrisons, by checking claims and evidence in five key areas of its sustainability performance: carbon, waste, training and skills, healthy food and the supply chain.
While we identified some areas for potential future improvement, we found the review to be a positive development by Morrisons in its approach to corporate responsibility and a fair representation of the maturity of the company’s management arrangements.
Notable highlights identified included programmes to minimise and reuse food waste and a range of approaches to providing employment for young people and those often excluded. Morrisons’ Farming Programme was seen as another demonstration of the company going beyond the minimum requirements through its farm-to-store business model.
Two Tomorrows recommended ways Morrisons could take its reporting programme forward, including developing the range of key performance indicators, increasing reporting on water use and reviewing its overall approach to stakeholder engagement.
Jason Perks, director of Two Tomorrows, says: “The enhanced coverage of issues compared to previous years provides a more complete account for review users. The linkage made in the review between the company strategy and the ‘Making Great Food Affordable for Everyone’ brand commitment is also helpful.
“We were encouraged that areas for improvement have been identified and the corporate responsibility leadership team recognises the need to address them. Future reviews should be even more specific and direct about some of these challenges.”
Steven Butts, head of corporate responsibility at Morrisons, adds: “This year, the management board asked Two Tomorrows to provide independent assurance of the review and related key processes in the programme. In addition to a third-party view on our work and how we communicate progress, the assurance process has provided valuable, critical feedback which will inform further development and how we report in the future.”
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