Instilling trust through CSR
Message from our CEO,
Virginia C. Drosos
ear Fellow Stakeholders,
At Signet, we see CSR as a strategy and a clear competitive advantage. Our sphere of influence goes beyond just the places we do business, and we recognize that our people, values and culture require that we take responsibility wherever we have an impact.
Instilling trust among our key stakeholders — investors, employees and customers — means that we are transparent about our CSR goals, and that we must integrate them into our daily operations. We also work closely with suppliers, governments, communities and civil society to create value through responsible initiatives across our four CSR key areas: People, Responsible Sourcing, Environmental Stewardship, and Charitable Giving.
In last year’s report, we shared the news about the launch of our updated core values: People First, Lead Bravely, Own It, CUSTOMERS! and Straight Talk. It’s heartening how quickly team members adopted these values and how passionately they are living them in our stores and our support centers.
We are taking actions to build a more agile, responsive and engaged organization to support our Path to Brilliance transformation plan. All team members are actively engaged, Leading Bravely and Owning It through town halls, straight talk with senior leaders and using our new Workplace by Facebook social media platform to regularly inspire, update and share ideas.
We are proud of the progress we are making in our diversity and inclusion efforts. In 2018, we launched four business resource groups: LGBTQ, Multicultural, Women and Young Professionals. Signet was named to the Bloomberg 2019 Gender Equality Index as one of only a few retailers and the only jewelry company. This recognition is a reflection of strong progress, like our gender-equal Board of Directors and our field leadership being 74% women.
At the very heart of our business is the trust that our customers place in us regarding the integrity of our jewelry products. Our decades-long commitment to be a global leader in responsibly sourcing the metals and gems used to create our jewelry is a fundamental Signet value. In 2018, we expanded our award-winning, open-source Signet Responsible Sourcing Protocol (SRSP) beyond gold and diamonds to include silver and platinum through collaborative efforts with partners throughout our global supply chain. These efforts led to the launch of a new SRSP for Colored Gemstones in March 2019.
Additionally, we were elected chair of the Responsible Jewellery Council, a global standards setting and certification organization of more than 1,100 members supporting human rights, business ethics, and social and environmental performance in the industry. Our goal, both as a company and an industry leader, is to work closely with our partners to further strengthen standards and certification towards the continuous improvement in the integrity of the global jewelry supply chain.
In 2018, we were only one of four companies, and the only jeweler, to have nearly 100% of our gold supply chain verified as conflict-free for five consecutive years based on Dodd-Frank Section 1502 Conflict Mineral Report filings. We are also extremely pleased that SIGWATCH, an unaffiliated NGO tracking company based in the United Kingdom, ranked us as one of the top five most praised companies in the world – the only jewelry company on the list – for our responsible sourcing efforts.
Like other retailers, our operations require energy, water, and other materials. Our goal is to reduce waste and increase efficiency through such initiatives as lowering energy usage, reducing travel through video-conferencing, installing water-saving devices, and encouraging a paperless office. We reduced energy use by more than 7% and increased recycling rates by 6% compared to last year. And, in water-scarce Botswana, we reduced our water consumption by more than 60%. We also advocate for conscientious environmental stewardship among our suppliers and throughout our supply chain.
Signet supports charitable organizations that focus on underserved women and children. We encourage our team members and customers to join us in this effort. With partnerships that go back decades, we have raised tens of millions of dollars to support charities that meet our focus areas. In 2018 alone, we raised nearly $6 million for our national and international charitable giving partners, with an emphasis on helping sick children. We know that our charitable partners often need more than just money. That is why I am proud that in 2018, we increasingly complemented financial support with volunteer time from our team members. For example, during the academic year, 85 Akron-based team members volunteered weekly as mentors for underprivileged children in local elementary schools. And, thousands of hours are donated through volunteerism every year by our team members in communities where we operate. We are transforming our business and repositioning our company for success in a rapidly changing retail landscape. The Path to Brilliance transformation plan makes us more customer-centered by leveraging technology to deliver an OmniChannel experience and creating a more agile and efficient culture. Likewise, our CSR goals are evolving and addressing the challenges we face as a company. What isn’t changing is our commitment to making a difference for our people, the industry, our communities and other stakeholders.
Thank you for your interest in our company and what we are accomplishing through our CSR commitment. Part of our ethos is to never be satisfied. Every day we work to continuously improve. In the following pages, please note the progress we are making and the challenges we have ahead. We hope our report captures the passion every single person working for this company has to make memorable and meaningful moments for our customers every day. Corporate Social Responsibility is both a reflection of and a means to how we accomplish this.
Virginia C. Drosos,
Signet Jewelers Chief Executive Officer