Inevitably, the Group's operations impact on others and so we strive to do business ethically and sustainably- for the environment, our people, our customers, our suppliers and the communities we operate in. The Group is dedicated to ensuring, as far as possible, that its actions have a positive impact on its stakeholders. We acknowledge that businesses can and should be a force for good and see engagement with our stakeholders as a vital tool to ensure that our commitment to ethical and sustainable business is translated into the actions of the Group.

The environment

The Group is dedicated to being environmentally responsible through our commitment to eliminate waste and wasteful practices. We strive for operational excellence whilst reducing environmental impact. 

The Group will continue to recycle its main waste streams: off specification product, plaster of Paris moulds, glass, paper and cardboard, as appropriate. As part of the initiative to reduce waste, during 2019 Nambé stopped purchasing disposable items such as cups, plates, bowls and utensils for the kitchen at its Espanola warehouse and instead encouraged employees to utilise reusable alternatives. Portmeirion USA also started repairing wooden pallets which were deemed salvageable rather than discarding them. Wax Lyrical has a collection point for the recycling of batteries and also collects spectacles which are then donated to charities who send them to developing countries.

Over half of the energy used at Wax Lyrical’s production site in Cumbria during 2019 was provided by wind turbine, supplying 555,460 kWh of “green” electricity and preventing generation of 195 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Wax Lyrical continues to be an active member of the Furness Waste Consortium. The Consortium members represent a wide range of industries within the Furness and South Cumbria area committed to sustainable waste management.

Portmeirion UK’s commitment to reducing its carbon emissions is evidenced by having been subject to a Climate Change Agreement since 2000. During 2019, it continued to meet the challenging targets on energy efficiency set as part of its ongoing membership of this agreement and is committed to achieving this again in the period 2020 to 2021.

Our people

Growing our business generates opportunities for our employees and creates value for our shareholders. Our focus is to create a high performance culture through effective employee engagement, excellence in people development and diligent resource management.

Building a diverse workforce and maintaining an inclusive workplace is vitally important to the Group in achieving our strategic vision and is an integral element of our values. We recognise and value all forms of diversity in our employees and endeavour to promote diversity in our workplace to enhance the success of our business. To demonstrate our commitment to this, we have adopted a formal Diversity Policy complementing our Equal Opportunities Policy.

As a Group we strive to eliminate any gender bias in our pay and employment policies and practices and understand that equal pay and treatment of males and females is both a moral and legal obligation. We have a robust recruitment policy which stipulates that the Group will recruit, train and reward based on merit.

See our latest Gender Pay Gap Report for more information.

Developing talent and supporting diversity across our business helps to ensure that we have the best teams motivated to deliver our goals. The Group provides a number of learning and development opportunities across all areas of the business to ensure that our employees have all of the necessary skills to competently perform their roles. 

Investment in our people stretches beyond their careers to their wellbeing generally. Portmeirion UK is accredited for the Workplace Wellbeing Charter.

Both Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical are officially recognised as Investors in People at gold level. This prestigious accreditation is recognised across the world as a mark of excellence and demonstrates our commitment to employee engagement, health and wellbeing and skills enhancement.

Key to the retention of our employees is recognising and rewarding their hard work. Our reward strategy aims to provide a package that offers competitive pay and distinctive benefits. We are committed to paying the National Living Wage. Within the UK, all employees are offered membership of our group personal pension plans, which provide employer contributions for all members, and are included in generous life cover and healthcare policies. Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical operate employee recognition schemes including discretionary incentive schemes, 100% attendance awards, Christmas gifts, VIP “family and friends” Christmas shopping evenings and retirement afternoon teas. The Group also provides long service awards to its employees.

The Group promotes a positive health and safety culture throughout the business through safety programmes and learning opportunities to ensure that all of our people consider health, safety and welfare issues while at work and make an effective contribution towards maintaining and improving health and safety standards.

Our people are our greatest asset. Effective employee engagement is therefore key to growing our business. Read more.

Community and social

The communities where our operations are based are important to us and every employee has the opportunity to make a difference within our local communities through our charitable programmes.

Portmeirion UK's employee-chosen Charities of the Year for 2019 were the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, Arch and Approach. Fundraising included a charity football match, which was very popular with our employees and families in attendance, a five kilometre run/walk, an Easter fundraiser, several raffles and a mindfulness walk. Just over £14,000 was raised during 2019. In addition, 657 volunteering hours were delivered by Portmeirion UK, which authorised at least two employees per month to have a paid day off to volunteer for our Charities of the Year. Volunteers helped with activities such as gardening, coin counting, retail and event day support and the very popular mobile lithography workshop for inpatients at the Douglas Macmillan day therapy unit. For the first time Portmeirion UK provided a lithography workshop at Approach, which was thoroughly enjoyed by the day centre patients. In addition, Portmeirion UK also donated over 5,000 products to local charities and schools.

Portmeirion USA and Nambé support local and national charities within the USA in a number of ways including through the donation of products.

In 2019, St Mary’s Hospice, North West Air Ambulance and MIND Furness were Wax Lyrical’s chosen charities. A total of over £6,500 was raised through the dedicated support of Wax Lyrical’s employees, exceeding their fundraising target for the year.

Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical have also supported other fundraising initiatives throughout 2019, delivering well received support to other charities and fostering employee team work and community spirit. Both Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical provide support to their local schools through staff presentations supporting science curriculums, careers advice, CV writing and interview techniques.

Ethics and relationships

Our strategy and business model, as well as mitigation of our principal risks and uncertainties, relies on positive relationships with our stakeholders. To ensure the maintenance of these relationships in line with our corporate culture, the Group has a suite of measures in place.

The Group has a formal recruitment policy and comprehensive employee handbook which contains information on issues such as working hours and grievances. The Group also has policies for dealing with gifts, hospitality, bribery, corruption, modern slavery, whistle-blowing, conflicts of interest and inside information.

The Group is committed to putting its customers at the heart of everything it does by providing safe, value for money, high quality products and developing and maintaining positive relationships. All employees are expected to behave respectfully and honestly in their dealings with customers and the general public.

The Group expects its suppliers to adhere to business principles consistent with the Group’s own. Suppliers are expected to adopt and implement acceptable health and safety, environmental, product quality, labour, human rights, social and legal standards in line with the Group’s product supplier Code of Conduct. The selection of new suppliers will continue to be subject to them meeting high international standards of compliance. Conformance to these standards is assessed by on-site audits at the supplier’s premises. All suppliers are requested to complete pre-prepared compliance declarations.

The Group does not make political donations and charitable donations are made only where legal and ethical according to local law and practices.