The Board of Directors, in line with their duties under s172 of the Companies Act 2006, consider, both individually and together, that they have acted in a way that supports and promotes the success of the company, for the benefit of stakeholders as a whole. Any key decisions and matters of strategic importance are informed and influenced by factors set out in s172.
END. was established to create exciting and memorable retail experiences for our customers and provides an inclusive shopping experience through our omni-channel offering. END. serves a global audience and continually looks to develop and improve its customer proposition. The company has a strong social media following and the engagement and feedback from its community provides inspiration to move forward. The Directors led initiatives to improve the customer experience during the year through: expanding the breadth and depth of product offerings, improving the customer experience on the websites and Apps, increasing international currency options and improving the delivery proposition.
The Directors are hugely proud of our people, and the commitment, passion and dedication they demonstrate. This drives the company forward and enables us to provide excellent customer experiences. The health, safety and well-being of our people is a responsibility we take very seriously and maintaining a high-quality safety culture is one of our priorities. We continue to ensure that our people are treated fairly and respectfully, and we proactively promote diversity and inclusion so people can be themselves at work.
Job applications are welcomed from all parts of the community and we treat all job applicants and employees equally throughout the employee life cycle, regardless of their age, ability, marital or partnership status, race, religion or belief, gender or sexual orientation. Through developing and embedding our values and behaviours, the Directors are creating an environment where our people feel valued, engaged and perform to the best of their ability.
The Directors have invested and created jobs in all key departments in the year, to support growth and to further develop the business for continued success.
END.’s success is underpinned by the strength and depth of its supplier relationships that have been built over 15 years. The Directors take our responsibility to represent our brand partners very seriously and we work positively and collaboratively with them to develop our relationships and customer offering. This includes co-design work that enables us to deliver exclusive and differentiated products to our customers. Examples in the year include: END. X Off-White “Chemical Wash” capsule, END. X Adidas “Three Bridges”, END. X Mastermind World X Dr. Martens ‘101 and END. X Stone Island capsule.
END. works closely with its key shareholders to monitor performance, support governance, and develop the company’s strategy. Key strategic decisions in the year include: significant investment into physical infrastructure (stores, offices, and our new distribution centre), continued investment into stock (including new brands and product lines), further investment into technology infrastructure to enhance scalability and the performance of our digital platforms, and increased marketing and investment into social channels to help build our customer base.
The Directors are committed to making a positive contribution to the communities in which END. operates and the environment. END. is a key employer in the North East of England and the growth we have been able to deliver has enabled us to create many new jobs (164, based on average employee numbers in the last year alone). The Directors are committed to ensuring END. is a responsible taxpayer. END. has a simple company structure and an open and transparent relationship with HMRC.
We believe that all companies have a duty to consider and understand how their operations can impact the environment. The Directors and teams work closely with suppliers and partners to explore opportunities for improvement. We have been investing to develop our recycling capabilities, for our inbound and outbound operations, and more generally in our offices, distribution centres and stores. We are also working closely with our delivery partners, and in the UK and Europe we have a carbon neutral delivery service.”
This statement has been published in accordance with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps that END. (trading name of Ashworth & Parker Ltd.) has taken and continues to take to ensure that modern slavery and human trafficking is not taking place within our business or supply chains. This statement relates to the financial year ending 31 March 2020.
END. is absolutely committed to preventing slavery and human trafficking in its corporate activities, and to ensuring that its supply chains are free from slavery and human trafficking.
END. is a global omni-channel retailer, offering a unique customer experience online, via our mobile apps and physical stores. END. sells to customers around the world and has a large following on social media.
We recognise that fashion supply chains present a risk for modern slavery, particularly as a result of the pressure to keep costs low within seasonal demand. As we source product from many countries, including high risk areas, it is important to take steps and set-out policies to ensure instances of modern slavery do not occur. We do not tolerate modern slavery, either within our business itself or within our supply chain and would take the issue of tackling it extremely seriously. We focus on working with premium suppliers and expect our supply chain to share the same values.
Since we do not directly employ workers within our supply chains, nor do we manufacture any of the product we sell, we appreciate that achieving our objectives as set out above will not be a simple task. There are many constraints on our ability to improve working conditions, particularly where local government do not enforce the law. However, we aim to tackle these constraints through our partnerships with key suppliers and a process of continuous improvement.
In our business we source products, packaging and services through these three main routes:
In acknowledging the importance of responsible sourcing and the promotion of fair and safe working conditions within our supply chain, all supply partners must meet, or exceed, our sustainability requirements.
As a minimum, these require supply partners to meet their legal obligations in the following areas:
Our responsible sourcing recognises that a supply chain can be complex, including diversity or product lines and the global citizens who produce them. Our intention is to promote high ethical standards within a supply chain without imposing unachievable conditions.
Where non-compliance is identified through a third party, we will agree corrective actions with the supply partner alongside an agreed deadline. Satisfactory evidence of non-compliance resolution must be provided within an agreed timeframe.
We recognise that global influences on the environment, employment conditions and human rights are ever changing. To enable us to keep up to date with these changes, and any developments, we review our policies and procedures periodically and update them when necessary. We take this into account whilst developing our business internationally.
This statement has been approved by the Co-Founders / CEOs, Christiaan Ashworth and John Parker, and has been made pursuant to section 54 of the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015 with respect to the financial year ending 31 March 2020. A signed copy is available upon request.
The delay in publishing our 2020 statement is due to the global pandemic.