Sustainable products and solutions
Projects within this focus area include product quality and integrity, product packaging and design, and lifecycle impacts of the products and services we offer.
Product quality &
We require all our major suppliers to sign a Supplier Code of Conduct (or operate under its own comparable business conduct principles) and reserve the right to terminate a business relationship with any supplier that violates any of our principles. This agreement includes requirements for social responsibility, including human rights and labor standards, standards for meeting environmental regulations and providing safe working conditions, measures for anti‑bribery and corruption and supply chain transparency. During 2019/20 we continued to strengthen our quality control procedures for sourcing products. Quality teams in our overseas sourcing entities continue to visit and assess our suppliers. Each business also assesses its suppliers against set criteria to provide protection to both us and our customers in the event of a product failure or breach of regulation in the supply chain.
A new role of Senior Director of Product Assurance, reporting to the Group General Counsel, was recruited in 2020 to lead product assurance, compliance and quality programs across the enterprise. This position also leads the Company’s ongoing development of own brand product assurance protocols and works closely with the Company’s sourcing and product teams to ensure effective and robust supplier assessment and product development programs are in place.
Sustainability and product design
We continue to develop products in our own brand offerings that are more sustainable with benefits to meet our customers’ requirements. These include products that meet WaterSense and EnergyStar industry standards. The PROFLOTM Kelper Faucet is an excellent example of a stylish and water efficient own brand fixture, WaterSense certified at 1.2gpm (gallons per minute).
To ensure that all sales associates are well trained in the benefits of higher efficiency products, Ferguson has developed an online Sustainable Product Training course, which is required for all sales associates and will be integrated into the onboarding process for new sales associates during 2020/21.
Since 2016, the Company has responded to the UK Government’s directive under the Modern Slavery Act for concerted action to tackle the occurrence of forced, involuntary and child labor in the global supply chain. While collectively Ferguson buys products from over 39,000 suppliers in over 40 countries, we source over 95 per cent of our manufactured goods from suppliers in North America and Western Europe where the risk of modern slavery is lower. As we continue to enhance our anti-slavery measures, we will focus our efforts on our international suppliers.
During 2019/20, key milestones included:
- Continuing to commit suppliers to Ferguson’s anti-slavery standards. In total, over 1,900 major suppliers have contractually pledged to abstain from use of child, forced, or involuntary labor in their operations. Approximately 13 per cent of these suppliers are in countries with a prevalence of modern slavery according to The Global Slavery Index.
- Harmonization of anti-slavery measures across our businesses. Our businesses have continued the process of incorporating ethical and antislavery elements in their supplier audit methodologies and we have centralized all own brand vendor audit activities. New significant international product vendors are audited prior to any purchases and we periodically audit existing vendors. We continued to develop the audit team through training and practical experience.
- Continuing to apply our third-party risk assessment tool to enhance the effectiveness of our anti-slavery engagement with our international suppliers. The risk assessment tool flags potential high-risk suppliers for review based on geographic location (linked to The Global Slavery Index 2018 and Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index).
We are determined in our commitment to eradicate any form of modern slavery in our global supply chain.
UK Modern Slavery Act