Sustainability 2020

When you sit on one of our sofas, we want you to feel comfortable - in every way.

As well as a comfortable place to sit, our customers want to buy a sofa from a company they’re happy with. In the same way, we want our investors and colleagues to feel comfortable with the way we run our business.

We’ve been making sofas for over 50 years now, so we do know a thing or two about them. In that time, we’ve seen huge changes in people’s needs and tastes, and in their concerns about the effect on our planet of the things they buy.

We’ve been listening - and changing the way we make and sell our products, so we reduce our impact on the environment. At the same time, we’re continuing to build a healthy, sustainable business - where our people can make a difference, and where we can serve our communities and benefit the economy.

Here we outline what we’re doing to make our business better by stepping up to the environmental and social challenges we all face.

Our Group purpose is to bring great design and comfort into every living room, in an affordable, responsible and sustainable manner. But actually, we don’t necessarily see this responsibility as an obligation. We see it as a big opportunity to continue growing our business while putting our customers and colleagues - and planet - at the heart of everything we do.

Our strategy follows a circular approach based on the life cycle of a sofa. All the way from the raw materials we source through to the end of the sofa’s life. Within that cycle, we have our crucial day-to-day business policies and initiatives - our Foundation activities. Plus we run our externally facing Flagship projects. The two go hand in hand on our sustainability journey.

Our Foundation activities cover the ESG issues we tackle in our business every day, with agreed targets across the Group. These include key environmental matters such as packaging, wood and leather sourcing, and our use of energy. We monitor and adjust these targets so we can keep improving.

Getting rid of an old sofa responsibly and conveniently is a real issue for many of our customers. Unless old sofas are passed on to family or friends, many go into landfill. Uniquely in the furniture market, our customers who buy a new sofa can choose Sofa Rescue. Our experienced specialist partner firm will then collect their old sofa, and break it down to its component parts to reuse, recycle or create new energy.

Deforestation is a massive global problem. While we work hard to source wood as sustainably as possible, we want to go further, and contribute significantly to reforestation. That’s the aim of Sofology’s PlanTree campaign, where for every sofa order, we plant a tree in the UK, as part of accredited reforestation schemes run by the Woodland Trust. It’s been so successful, we’re rolling the scheme out across all DFS Group companies.

Our main aim is to never stop improving. We’re working towards the Foundation targets we’ve set for Phase 1 of our ESG strategy, and will continue to do that. But we’re looking ahead with Research & Development already underway for Phase 2. We’re always looking to see if there’s a better solution to what we’re doing. With two Flagship campaigns based on Product, the next Flagship will focus on People, aiming to help address any inequalities in our workplace.

Protecting our colleagues, communities and business

The culture and ethos across the Group is all about doing the right thing. We set clear standards for conduct, which we expect colleagues and suppliers to adhere to, including a zero-tolerance approach to bribery, corruption and infringement of human rights. We maintain long-standing relationships with our suppliers, ensuring the high quality and rigorous safety standards of all the materials and components we use.

Our ability to provide fantastic products and services comes from the expertise, experience and commitment of our colleagues. Our success is based on our ability to attract people with the right skills and aptitude, and to motivate, develop, support and reward them appropriately. Here you can read more about our approach to diversity, engagement and career development.

We recognise we’re in a position to make a difference to peoples’ lives in the communities where we live and work. We make a positive contribution in many ways across the Group, whether raising money for charity, donating products to help those in need, or volunteering in the community. This year we launched our Giving Back at DFS initiative, to build on all these activities.

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