This week George picked up the RSPCA’s Large Company award in the RSPCA Good Business Awards 2011.
We are a value brand and if we can take animal welfare seriously, so can all the big retailers. We could make better margins if we compromised our principles but our commitment shows that big companies can do innovative things too – and its important – because what we do has a big impact on animal welfare.
Our traceability is driven by asking the right questions – which sounds easy but it is these unglamourous hard yards – which involves talking to suppliers, convincing them that we are serious – is the most important step to take.
And this is what consumers should be doing – asking questions – because our commitment to animal welfare is driven by consumer demand. Customers are looking for assurances and the worst position for a retailer to be in is if you can’t answer questions – so we need to have the answers and this drives us forward.
And our customers wouldn’t expect us to have different policies for our food and fashion sourcing yet although animal welfare is seen as important in food, people are still surprised that it is an issue in clothes. And it is win win for us because we have been able to integrate our Asda food and George fashion sourcing – for instance next year we will introduce a leather shoe sourced from UK farms – which is a by-product of food that is also sold in our stores.