Corporate Social Responsibility
Debenhams Sustainability Report
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Key Fact
£1 million
Annual fundraising target


A sustainable business knows the importance of engaging with people. At Debenhams we are proud of our strong and enduring relationships with customers, employees – past and present – and the communities we serve.

Customers are at the heart of our decision making. We put a lot of time and effort into getting to know our customers, helping us speak their language and meet their needs.

Delivering on our customer promise relies on the commitment of our employees. Debenhams is a major employer with around 30,000 staff in the UK, Republic of Ireland, Hong Kong and Denmark, plus thousands more who work in our franchise stores. We are committed to attracting, retaining and growing the very best talent in the industry.

Debenhams is proud to support the communities in which it serves.  In line with our mission we aim to support charities that boost confidence and wellbeing, with particular focus on empowering women.

In addition to fundraising we endeavour to support charities and our local communities through empowering our colleagues to conduct volunteer activities, recognising those who are ‘doing their bit’ and investing in our people to build confidence internally and provide a workplace with wellbeing of its staff at the forefront.

Community Achievements

This year we raised £1.5m for our national charity partners’ Look Good Feel Better, Help For Heroes, Breast Cancer Now, Children In Need and Make A Wish Ireland. These funds are generated from a variety of activities including; a donation of profits from the sale of exclusive products; the sale of charity partners’ merchandise; an annual supplier and business partner funded charity ball as well as a range of colleague challenges from a 500km bike ride to bake sales. Customer and colleague donations raised throughout the year linked to specific events and causes complete the effort.

We also raise funds and make donations to the Debenhams Retirement Association, Retail Trust and Regent’s Place Community Fund.  Further funds are raised by the Salvation Army Trading Company through the donation of unwanted and unsalable goods.

We have developed a number of volunteering initiatives this year to empower our colleagues to support our partner charities.  Over 400 of the beauty sales consultants have voluntarily completed training with Look Good Feel Better to advise those undergoing treatment for cancer on how to deal with physical side effects.

A number of our London Support Centre colleagues have more recently volunteered to become mentors for the C4WS Jobs Club as part of its support for the Regent’s Place Community Fund.  In addition, colleagues are also invited to support fundraising activities instores on a voluntary basis.

We have a number of community initiatives in place to support activities taking place in the areas that we serve including hosting Look Good Feel Better workshops in a number of our stores where customers can receive advice and support from trained colleagues.  In addition, we have worked with Help For Heroes to support the Band of Sisters and create respite areas in our restaurants to meet and socialise with women who understand what it is like to care for a loved one, who has been wounded injured or sick as a result of their service.

For one participant, the Debenhams Band of Sisters event was their first touch point with Help for Heroes and was the first time she felt strong enough to leave her loved one at home in 3 ½ years. This opportunity allows much needed time for self-care and enables individuals to find new confidence following periods of social isolation.

Later this year, 14 trained volunteers will commence their support for C4WS Jobs Club by mentoring members of the homeless community gain employment.

Look Good Feel Better


Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) is the only international cancer support charity that helps women and teenagers manage the visible side effects of cancer treatment.

Our free confidence boosting skincare and make-up Workshops and Masterclasses are held across the UK for women undergoing treatment for any type of cancer. Led by LGFB Beauty Volunteers, the sessions are an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation whilst being taught vital skills such as how to draw on missing eyebrows and eyelashes.

Introduced in to the UK in 1994, the first LGFB Workshop was hosted at the CancerKin Centre in the Royal Free Hospital, London. Workshops are now held regularly in 98 locations across the UK, alongside more than 300 Masterclasses – supporting over 19,500 women and teenagers annually.

Each two hour session is led by volunteer beauty professionals who donate their time and expertise to the LGFB Programme. They share tips and techniques to help with problems such as eyebrow and eyelash loss and changes to the skin.

LGFB receives no government funding, so relies entirely on the support and generosity of member companies, supporting organisations and individual fundraisers.

Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes believes that anyone who sustains a life-changing illness or injury in the line of duty deserves the very best support, for life. Their holistic approach to recovering is underpinned by three core objectives, to improve:

Physical wellbeing – when a previously active and physically fit person is faced with a life-changing injury or illness, it can seem as if sporting doors have closed. Help for Heroes’ world-leading Sports Recovery Programme enables individuals to lead a more active, healthy and independent life.

Psychological wellbeing – thousands of those who served are suffering from ‘hidden wounds’ – low level mental health problems such as depression, anger management and stress. By developing their new psychological wellbeing service, support can be provided to Veterans and families of the Armed Forces community living with the everyday challenges of anxiety, depression and stress.

Social wellbeing – becoming wounded, injured or sick, whether physically or mentally, impacts on every aspect of life. The Help for Heroes Band of Brothers and Band of Sisters Fellowships have helped to support both the individuals and their family through the transition back into civilian life, and to forge a happy and purposeful future.

Nepal Earthquake


Debenhams also supported the Disasters Emergency Committee in its work to provide emergency shelter, food, clean water, blankets and support to rebuild lives to the survivors of the June 2015 Earthquake in Nepal. Over £14,000 was raised through customer donations collected at Debenhams stores.