We strive to do business ethically and sustainably – for our shareholders, the environment, our people, our customers, our suppliers and the communities we operate in. We 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. 

Policies are designed and implemented to minimise any damage that might be caused by the Group’s activities. Initiatives to reduce the Group’s potential impact on the environment include the recycling of manufacturing waste, reducing carbon emissions and utilisation of recyclable packaging materials. Both Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical have dedicated Green Teams who have implemented various programmes to encourage recycling within their offices and reduce energy consumption.

Efficient use of resources is important to the Group. Products are designed and production processes formulated to target high manufacturing yields, which in turn optimises the utilisation of resources. Portmeirion UK’s products in particular are designed to achieve a long “product life cycle” so that they need only be replaced after a lengthy period of time. Other measures include the safe disposal of manufactured waste, energy recycling and reducing the amount of disposable plastic used in packaging.

We fully appreciate the quality and safety responsibilities to our customers and to consumers who use our products. We also take environmental responsibilities seriously and, where possible, work with customers and accredited ecological bodies to reduce potential environmental impact.

Streamlined Energy & Carbon Reporting (SECR)

From this year, the Group will begin disclosing its annual UK energy use, associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and information relating to its energy efficiency action, in accordance with the Companies (Directors’ Report) and Limited Liability Partnerships (Energy and Carbon Report) Regulations 2018.

This table details the energy and GHG emission sources for the year ended 31 December 2020 for both Portmeirion Group UK Limited and Wax Lyrical Limited.

Whilst there is no regulatory requirement to report carbon and energy information of Wax Lyrical, we are committed to full transparency in reporting and adhering to best practice as well as fully understanding any potential environmental impact with the aim of minimising it wherever possible. The data covers two manufacturing sites, two warehouse facilities and one retail site in the UK.

The methodology to calculate energy and GHG emissions data is in accordance with the GHG Reporting Protocol – Corporate Standard and SECR guidelines.

The following data sources have been used for the report:

  • Electricity – metered kWh consumption taken from supplier invoices;
  • Transport Scope 1 – emissions have been calculated based on mileage expense claim records and relevant UK Government GHG conversion factors depending on fuel type and assumption of medium sized car; and
  • Transport Scope 3 – emissions have been calculated based on mileage expense claim records and average UK Government GHG Conversion factors and assumption of medium sized car.

The Group will continue to recycle its main waste streams: off specification product, plaster of Paris moulds, glass, paper, cardboard and water, as appropriate.

Wax Lyrical remains an active member of the Environmental Resource Forum with our Health, Safety and Environment Manager currently being Chair of the Forum. The Forum members represent a wide range of industries within the Furness and South Cumbria area committed to sustainable waste management, improved environmental performance and increased energy efficiency.

Nearly 60% of the energy used at Wax Lyrical’s production site in Cumbria during 2020 was provided by wind turbine; supplying 545,256 kWh of “green” electricity and preventing generation of 191.65 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. During 2020, Wax Lyrical installed new boilers on site and reduced unnecessary pipework to reduce energy demands.

At our Portmeirion UK manufacturing site, a change in production method during 2020 allowed product to be processed through our jubilee gas powered kiln leading to the mothballing of electric kilns and a £52,000 saving on energy consumption. We were also successful in the introduction of a glaze with improved firing properties that lead to the reduction of firing temperatures of the glost kilns. This resulted in an average 35 degree Celsius reduction across two kilns, removal of 7 x 2.5kw burners from use, reduction of cycle time and increased throughput. All these initiatives have contributed to our commitment to reduce energy usage.

Social

The lifeblood of our business is our people. We have an open culture in the business achieved from effective employee engagement, people development and diligent resource management. We are a caring employer with an excellent health and safety record, fair and balanced equality policies, a wide diversity in our workforce and management structures and a consultative approach with our people. The way that we have dealt with the Covid-19 pandemic is testimony to our people based approach.

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

The Group’s performance and its success within our marketplace are directly related to the effectiveness of our people, who deliver the high-quality products and provide the exceptional service that we are renowned for. The Group aims to attract, retain and motivate the highest calibre of employees.

During 2020, we were extremely proud of our teams throughout the world who responded admirably to the challenges of Covid-19. We reacted to implement new Covid-19 secure protocols, policies and practices; immediately put in place home working where suitable and adapted our sites to make them secure including by erecting safety screens, providing personal protective equipment and strict operational guidelines. Our social distancing ambassadors have supported our policies and procedures to ensure all measures have and are being adhered to consistently. Our priority was and remains the health and safety of our staff, customers and suppliers. In November 2020, Portmeirion UK was visited by a HM Specialist Inspector of Health and Safety (Health & Safety Executive) who conducted a full onsite inspection on the steps that we had taken to ensure that our factory, office and warehouse were Covid-19 secure. We were rated at ‘sustained compliance’ and commended for the innovative work that had taken place at our manufacturing site with photographs being taken by the Inspector as examples of best practice.

We recognise and value all forms of diversity in our employees and endeavour to promote a culture of inclusiveness in our workplace to enhance the success of our business. We have a 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. We have a robust recruitment policy which stipulates that the Group will recruit, train and reward based on merit and provide opportunities for our employees to fulfil their ambitions regardless of gender or any other protected characteristic. Portmeirion UK published its gender pay gap statistics in April 2020 which noted a mean pay gap of 12.4%, marking a reduction from 13.9% in April 2019.

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. Where possible, e-learning is utilised to provide training in a more interactive and time convenient manner. This has been particularly effective in a Covid-19 environment. Development opportunities include National Vocational Qualifications, professional development, first aid training and other specific job related training courses. Management development is offered through accredited qualifications in leadership and management.

Our commitment to health and safety is embedded in management training with a further ten Portmeirion UK managers completing their Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) programme in 2020 and seven at Wax Lyrical completing the National Compliance and Risk Qualifications (NCRQ) Health and Safety for Managers level 3 course.

During 2020, Portmeirion UK had 27 team members undertake Apprenticeship programmes ranging from Level 3 to Level 7 Higher Level Apprenticeships. Wax Lyrical has 1 current Apprenticeship member at Level 4. This development is supported by workplace mentoring.

Investment in our people stretches beyond their careers to their wellbeing generally. Portmeirion UK is accredited for the Workplace Wellbeing Charter. Our commitment to the wellbeing of our people is demonstrated by support or providing access to support on wide ranging matters including pension planning, smoking cessation, health and wellness initiatives. During 2020 and 2021 as we all cope with the implications of a worldwide pandemic, we have been particularly conscious of the mental wellbeing of our employees and have provided particular support in this regard.

Within our manufacturing and distribution centres we aim to multi-skill employees so they can perform in a variety of roles to aid operational flexibility. We use training needs analysis and appraisals to highlight any skills gaps within our processes and to drive succession planning.

We are particularly proud of our succession planning with a number of promotions to the Portmeirion Group PLC, Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical Boards during 2020 and early 2021. Equally this planning has been efficient for senior management positions. Through 2020, we identified new roles needed to achieve our strategic growth plans.

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 is true testament 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, VIP “family and friends” shopping promotions, retirement afternoon teas and long service awards.

During 2020, Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical recognised the long service of 14 employees. Unfortunately our annual ceremony has been postponed due to the pandemic as have our retirement afternoon teas but we look forward to celebrating our colleagues as soon as we safely can.

Our employee appraisal process involves performance measurement against a series of core objectives which are aligned to each operating unit’s strategic aims.

Portmeirion UK operates Employee of the Month and Employee of the Year awards to recognise and celebrate employee successes. Having been Employee of the Month, Matthew Bailey won Portmeirion UK’s Employee of the Year 2020 award for his dedication and commitment to helping us to achieve our vision. Employee of the Month and Team of the Quarter awards also continued at Wax Lyrical in 2020, enhancing our teamwork ethos.

Portmeirion UK is committed to compliance with all relevant Health & Safety legislation. 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. This approach has seen year on year improvements in accident statistics. The Group continues with its aim to reduce accidents and provide a healthy workplace and working environment.

All new employees receive in-house health and safety training with further training undertaken as the employee role or need requires.

Portmeirion UK and Wax Lyrical hold scheduled health and safety meetings which are attended by representatives from across the business. Health and safety performance, accidents, training and legislation are among the topics discussed. Minutes of these meetings are displayed on employee noticeboards.

The Group uses incident, hazard and near miss reporting to identify opportunities for improvement to drive a culture of positive behavioural safety across the business. Health and safety reporting at Board level is comprehensive and includes information on accident/incident statistics, results of audiometry testing, improvement plans, the outcome of health and safety audits as well as near miss reports so that focused priority is given to safety at the highest level. Benchmarking against industry standards is used to assess Portmeirion UK’s health and safety performance.

One of the ways we measure employee engagement is by opinion surveys. Our surveys have consistently shown that our employees are happy to be working for the Group.

Further information on how we engage with our employees can be found on our Corporate Governance page.

 

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.

We play an active part in our local communities and strive to make long lasting contribution to the socio-economic well-being of our local communities. Most of our financial contributions to charities come from the efforts and personal involvement of our employees, with support from the Board.

We are proud to have provided donations of products and hand sanitiser to local charities, the NHS and care homes during 2020, supporting our communities in the most testing of times.

Portmeirion UK’s employee-chosen Charities of the Year for 2020 were the Douglas Macmillan Hospice, Arch and Approach. Portmeirion UK managed to raise just under £3,000 during the year for their chosen charities.

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

In 2020, St Mary’s Hospice, North West Air Ambulance and MIND Furness were Wax Lyrical’s chosen charities. Over £820 was raised through the dedicated support of Wax Lyrical’s employees.

Governance

We are members of the Quoted Companies Alliance (QCA) and have continued to apply the QCA Corporate Governance Code, complying with its principles throughout 2020.

Corporate Governance Statement

The Group’s established values underpin everything we do. Our vision to be a leading force in the global homeware sector will only be achieved through a culture of honesty, integrity and openness and by respecting human rights and the interests of our employees, customers and third parties.

We are committed to upholding human rights and have specific policies in this regard including our Modern Slavery Statement and Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy. 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.

For more information refer to our Stakeholder Engagement.

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, freedom of association, conflicts of interest and inside information.

The Company maintains a reasonable and effective dealing policy setting out the requirements and procedures for Directors’ and Applicable Employees. The Portmeirion Group Share Dealing Policy and Share Dealing Code were adopted by the Board on 19 November 2019 and we have continued to comply with the Dealing Code throughout 2020.

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 all 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. All suppliers are requested to complete pre-prepared compliance declarations. Conformance to standards is normally assessed by on-site audits at supplier’s premises. Due to Covid-19 and consequential travel restrictions we adapted our processes for 2020 to virtual meetings and frequent contact with the suppliers.

The Group will either agree terms of payment with suppliers at the start of business or ensure that the supplier or contractor is aware of the Group’s payment terms. Payment will be made in accordance with contractual or other legal obligations.

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