Corporate Social Responsibility
Debenhams Sustainability Report
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Previous Ethical Trade Initiatives

Benefits for Business and Workers (BBW)

The ‘Benefits for Business and Workers’ programme was launched in 2014 by Impactt, who are a leading consultancy specialising in ethical trade, human rights, labour standards, gender and international development. The objective of the programme was to train factory management on productivity, HR practices, improving management and worker engagement, as well as creating a more productive and efficient workforce with reduced absenteeism and labour turnover.

In Bangladesh BBW reached 88 factories and over 162,000 workers, involving 15 brands including Debenhams. Our own participation reached over 30,000 workers, which included over 18,000 female workers in Bangladesh, across 14 factories. All of our factories in Bangladesh had graduated by August 2016 and we saw some impressive results across increased efficiency, reduction of absenteeism and labour turnover.

Labour turnover for Bangladesh factories since starting the programme – Top 10% of factories achieved a reduction of between 84% – 72%

Factory management “biggest benefit from the programme was the upskilling of workers and financial gains from cut to ship improvements”

Overall job satisfaction significantly improved; Workers “the programme gave us access to promotion and increased take home pay”

Following the success seen in Bangladesh the BBW programme was extended to India. Under the India programme 5 Debenhams factories graduated by June 2017. We saw improvements in efficiency rates, worker turnover and an increase in average pay per hour. Despite the challenges faced in the key agricultural months when workers often take leave and migrate, we saw further positive improvements in reduced absenteeism and turnover.

Worker satisfaction also improved across all areas included, but not limited to training, opportunities, absenteeism and recognition.

All factories continue to receive support from Debenhams to help them sustain the changes and continue to improve after they complete the programme.

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