Supply Chain Management
The Group has comprehensive internal controls and holds laws and regulations of each country with the utmost regard. The Group implements international best practices and conducts fair and unbiased tender processes. Steps are also taken to ensure that our partners and suppliers do not employ child labour or abuse human rights.
As one of the largest health and beauty retailers in the world with over 11,400 stores, A S Watson joined the Business Social Compliance Initiative in 2008, a leading business-driven initiative for companies committed to improving working conditions in the global supply chain.
Protecting our consumers and safe-guarding their privacy are some of the top priorities of our employees. In addition to guidelines and handbooks, the Group issues periodic reminders and run workshops to customer-facing employees to continuously remind them of the importance of protecting personal data.
The Group has established a strong internal control framework, put in place a set of stringent policies, and has instituted a vigorous enforcement regime against corruption and fraud.
In particular, the Audit Committee and executive management set a tone of zero-tolerance on corruption and fraud. This is reflected in our policy on the subject, as well as many of our operational procedures, where we emphasise our values of integrity, fairness, transparency and accountability are evident.
Also, our Group’s strong stand against corruption and fraud is communicated to all our employees, and suitable clauses have been incorporated into our contracts with third party suppliers to make them fully aware of our position. These measures are further bolstered by independent audits conducted by the Group’s internal audit function.
Moreover, incidents or suspected incidents are immediately looked into by the business units concerned, and those that fall within certain criteria are also reported to the Audit Committee and executive management, and investigated by the Group’s internal audit function. On top of this, the whistle blower channels that our Group has established allow an informant to report anonymously any suspected or actual irregularities or misdeeds, and 12 cases have reached us via this route in 2014. Also, we co-operate fully with any investigations conducted by law enforcement agencies.
Furthermore, our Group is keenly alive to the ever-changing landscape of corruption and fraud, and relentlessly searches for more effective measures to combat them. Trend and transaction analyses are carried out and incidents are dissected to find the cause, course and cure of the underlying ills, and periodic sharing sessions are held within the Group to spread knowledge, skills and experience.
In all, our Group believes that a strong anti-corruption and anti-fraud stance forms a vital part of the overall governance framework, and is prepared to mobilise adequate resources so as to safeguard the assets and the hard-earned profits of our shareholders.