How The Mark has helped Boots stay on track with their sustainable business practices

Members News - Strategy - Mar 09, 2022

Boots Ireland is a leading Pharmacy, Beauty & Wellbeing retailer with 91 stores and 2200+ employees in Ireland. They have been operating in Ireland for 25 years, with their first store opening in Jervis St in November 1996.

Business in the Community Ireland

Going for the Mark

Why did the company decide to go for the Mark?

We have been accredited with The Mark since 2013, we were the first retailer to achieve it. We have gone for re-accreditation since then because we believe The Mark is a recognisable and respected indication to our stakeholders of how we operate as a sustainable business, taking into account the communities we work within, the environment, our colleagues and customers.

Working through the process

How was the process managed internally? How was the CEO & leadership team involved?

The process was managed internally by the CSR team, which in Boots is aligned to our HR function. Key people were identified at the start as information owners for each pillar, for example, it was the Head of HR in the case of the Workplace Pillar and the seven different indicators which were assessed under it. Once the data owners were identified for each of the pillars, we set about gathering the information which demonstrated compliance and agreed actions if there was any potential non-conformities or gaps. Boots leadership team were involved in the process depending on the pillar being assessed and our CEO Stephen Watkins was involved at various stages, especially in relation to the Governance Pillar.

What was the most challenging part of the process?

Boots is part of Boots UK which in turn is part of Wallgreens Boots Alliance so evidence and key information owners were often not in Ireland, so gathering evidence and arranging interviews with the relevant information owner wasn’t always straightforward or speedy, I would advise any international company to take this into account when planning and allow enough time for this.

How did the process itself help the company? 

We could see, as each pillar was assessed, if our evidence was strong enough to meet the audit criteria, any non-conformities were flagged in plenty of time allowing us to address them and close gaps ahead of our audit, for example our Stakeholder Engagement plan was re-assessed and improved based on feedback form BITCI via the Initial Assessment Report. The process allowed plenty of time for the reviewing and updating of processes and guidance was available throughout from the Business Mark Team in BITCI.

Being certified

What is the business value to the company now that you have been certified? What are the benefits for the business?

The benefit to us is the visibility The Mark brings to our customers, colleagues and the wider community, of Boots Ireland’s values. It demonstrates, to our stakeholders in a highly visible way, that we care about doing business in a responsible and sustainable manner.

If a company was to start the certification process what’s one top tip you could give?

I would advise speaking to another certified company in a similar industry and of a similar size to get a feel of what’s involved and to get tips on how to manage the process internally.

For more information on Boots Ireland as a responsible, inclusive and sustainable business, visit their website.

Check out the other Business Working Responsibly Mark certified companies and learn more about the Mark. 


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