Business conduct/Code of ethics

What procedures has the Company put in place to ensure that it is adhering to the requirements of the UK Bribery Act and Bunzl's CR policy and procedures?

The Group has in place comprehensive CR policies and procedures to address the requirements of the UK Bribery Act including a thorough Bribery risk assessment of the operations and a well established reporting framework to ensure that all employees comply with the relevant standards and regulations.  In addition, new processes were introduced to undertake appropriate due diligence checks as part of the acquisition of new businesses or the appointment of new agents.  During 2011/2012 all of Bunzl’s management and sales and purchasing employees undertook our tailored Corporate Responsibility (‘CR’) training modules.  These modules are available in 13 languages.  In a series of short animated videos, the Company’s CR policies (including those relating to anti-bribery matters) are explained.  Every new employee at Bunzl is required to undertake the same training and is required to confirm they have completed all the CR modules.  In addition, each employee contract includes a CR handout which also covers in greater detail our CR framework and the Company’s practices and policies relating to anti-bribery matters. 

In early 2015 we are requiring all relevant employees to revisit the existing suite of nine tailored e-learning modules, including modules which provide an overview of the business conduct/code of ethics policy and anti-bribery issues such as facilitation payments and gifts and entertainment. In addition we have added further modules on cybersecurity and competition law. Finally we refreshed the posters which are displayed in all our facilities to advertise our whistle blowing facility – ‘Speak Up’.


  • Does Bunzl have a specific policy on child labour and forced labour?

    Bunzl prohibits child or forced labour in all of its operations and we monitor the age of our workforce across the world.Our CR policy relating to employees states that Bunzl adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (‘UDHR’) as well as local laws. Article 4 of the UDHR bans forced labour, Article 25 refers to children being entitled to special care and assistance and Article 26 gives a right to education. We also work closely with our suppliers to ensure that they meet internationally recognised minimum requirements for workers’ welfare and conditions of employment, as defined by the International Labour Organization or the Ethical Trading Initiative. However, the majority of countries in which Bunzl operates have their own laws banning child labour.

  • What is the proportion of female employees in Bunzl across the total workforce, at senior management level and at Board level?

    Bunzl supports the principle of equal employment opportunity and this approach includes our monitoring of the gender mix throughout our businesses. In 2014 the male to female workforce ratio varied geographically with our Australasia, Continental Europe and UK & Ireland business areas having a male to female ratio of roughly 3:2. In Latin America the male to female ratio was roughly 1:1 and in North America 7:3. The Executive Committee includes one female. Bunzl’s board appointment processes incorporate diversity principles in line with the requirements of the UK Corporate Governance Code. The Board currently includes two female non-executive directors.

  • What is the distribution of Bunzl’s staff across the world?

    Bunzl currently operates in 27 countries and has around 14,500 staff across the world. Most of our staff, approximately 36%, are based in North America. UK & Ireland and Continental Europe have approximately 24% of Bunzl’s total staff respectively. Finally Rest of the World, which is comprised of Australasia and Latin America, have a total of 16% of our staff.

  • What is the makeup of Bunzl staff across the Group?

    The majority of our workforce is employed within operations, many of whom have no formal qualifications. We seek to recruit the right people who are passionate about our business and to provide opportunities for people to progress within the organisation on the basis of their skills, experience and aptitude.

  • Does Bunzl respect freedom of association and collective bargaining for its employees?

    Bunzl adheres to the UDHR.  Article 20 refers to the right to freedom of association. Bunzl is also committed to upholding the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work policies, defined by the International Labour Organization.In the US some of our operations, particularly in the northeast, are represented by trade unions with which we have negotiated pay contracts. Bunzl does not restrict any of its employees in any of the countries in which it operates joining a trade union if they wish to do so.

Environment & Climate change

  • Bunzl provides data for Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions. Why does Bunzl not provide information on Scope 3 emissions too?

    Bunzl is an international Group operating on a multi-site basis across 27 countries. We have prioritised our efforts to reduce our environmental impact to the areas that we can most easily control and we have reported our progress in this area through publishing our performance in relation to our Scope 1 and 2 carbon emissions.  We have sought to develop our Scope 3 carbon emissions reporting in line with our CR reporting guidelines. While much progress has been made, we have found it difficult to obtain suitable and consistent data from our third party carriers. We have now identified a methodology which we will implement throughout the Group and are in the process of developing the 2014 footprint to form a baseline for future years

  • Why is water usage and emissions not mentioned as one of the key elements of Bunzl’s environmental impact?

    As a Company our direct water usage is minimal due to its principal use only being for workplace cleaning and hygiene purposes.  As a result we have chosen not to include this as a key environmental measure. In 2011 a water audit confirmed that water usage and emissions were low. If we lease a purpose built site, wherever possible the specification includes water harvesting to minimise further our use and, on some large sites where there are extensive outstanding periods on the lease term, we will investigate the cost-effectiveness of implementing water harvesting. We continue to measure water usage across a sample of our sites worldwide and our usage per employee is largely unchanged since the 2011 water audit.

  • Why are only 30% of Bunzl’s operations ISO 14001 certified?

    All Bunzl businesses comply with the Group’s CR policies including those relating to the environment. Some businesses choose not to become ISO 14001 certified if they feel that the certification is neither valued nor required by the majority of their customer base.


  • How do you ensure that your suppliers adhere to appropriate CR standards?

    Our suppliers are asked to adhere to our Suppliers’ policy whereby they are expected to aspire to similar CR standards as Bunzl’s own operations. Bunzl’s principal suppliers are world class organisations with well developed policies and practices in this area, for example, SCA tissue, Kimberley-Clark, Georgia Pacific, Ecolab and 3M. We first wrote in 2011 to those suppliers that provide us with 50% of our product by value to make them aware of our CR policies and aspirations and to encourage them to adopt a similar approach. We wrote to these suppliers again in 2015 to update them on our progress and to understand how their policies and practices have evolved.

    We have our own quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) audit team (based in Shanghai) whose main aim is to perform regular social and environmental audits of our suppliers in Asia to ensure that such matters as labour, health and safety and environmental practices meet our standards. This team audits approximately 80% by value of product purchased of our suppliers in Asia. We work with any suppliers who do not meet our standards to help them improve. We have identified a number of issues within the audit which we consider to be “zero tolerance” issues relating to labour practices. Any suppliers identified as having zero tolerance issues in their operations become a key focus for the audit team and the relevant procurement professional within Bunzl. Such suppliers are provided with an action plan to correct the identified issues and completion of these actions are monitored by our audit team. The Board of Bunzl plc monitors these identified suppliers and the ensuing actions to ensure suppliers are working with us to reach the standards we require.

    As Bunzl expands its own operations into new territories our supply chain continues to expand. In 2015 the remit of the Bunzl Risk Management Committee was extended to include supply chain risks and its membership now includes senior procurement professionals. In 2016 the Committee commissioned a project to confirm and identify social risks across Bunzl’s supply chain based on geography and product category. The initial data collection has been completed and we are now analysing the results, reviewing our current supplier interventions and considering the need to develop further actions to engage with those suppliers identified as high risk to ensure they are all working towards our CR standards. In addition we are developing a training programme for our procurement teams worldwide to promote their understanding of social risks.

    We recognise continuous improvement in supplier management as an integral part of our CR programme and are committed to delivering goods which are produced sustainably.

  • How will Bunzl comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015?

    As required by the Act, in February 2017 Bunzl will provide a statement on the steps taken during the 2016 financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains, and in any part of its own business. This will be published on

    Bunzl has for over ten years been taking steps to address these issues and has a comprehensive suite of Corporate Responsibility policies that cover key impacts to our business, full details of which can be found on this web-site.

    Our policies commit to compliance with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the’UDHR’) and to working with suppliers to ensure that adequate standards are maintained in all areas of CR and in particular relating to their employees where we require that at least internationally recognised minimum requirements for workers’ welfare and conditions of employment are met. The minimum requirements are those defined by the International Labour Organization or the Ethical Trading Initiative”. The UDHR, the International Labour Organization and the Ethical Trading Initiative all prohibit forced labour i.e. slavery and human trafficking.

    Within our own operations our Employees policy is implemented and monitored by a team of human resource professionals. In addition we have a team of internal auditors who periodically visit Bunzl locations and audit the operations to ensure that they meet relevant standards. Further the profile of our operations in terms of locations and roles, (the majority of our businesses are based in North America, Europe and Australasia and are involved solely in the procurement, consolidation and supply of manufactured goods) means in our view the risk of the use of forced labour is low.

    Within our supply chain, the majority of our suppliers are based close to our selling companies. Bunzl has written on a number of occasions to the top 50% of suppliers by value of goods purchased, to ask them to aspire to similar standards of corporate responsibility as Bunzl, including no forced labour within their own operations or within their own supply chain.

    We also import supplies from south-east Asia and in 2008 we set up a procurement office and a quality assurance and quality control (‘QA/QC’) team based in Shanghai. The QA/QC team audits our key suppliers across south-east Asia and specifically check if there is any forced labour within supplier’s operations. If such issues are identified then Bunzl will work with the supplier to rectify the issue and if the issue is not rectified within an appropriate time frame then Bunzl will cease trading with that supplier. We are currently reassessing the risk profile of all of the countries in which we operate and from where we receive supplies to consider whether we need to add any further safeguards with regard to forced labour.


  • What types of charitable organisations does the Company support and what particular criteria must be met in order for Bunzl to consider making a charitable donation?

    Companies and employees within the Group have a longstanding tradition of supporting local initiatives as part of their involvement in their local communities. In 2014 Bunzl contributed a total of £572,000 to charities (not including employee fundraising and in-kind donations). We encourage our employees to participate in local initiatives and, subject to certain restrictions, employee donations are matched by the relevant Bunzl Company. We focus on five areas: healthcare, disability, environment and education and benevolent societies. It is Bunzl’s policy not to donate to sectarian or political projects and parties.

  • What is the process for applying to Bunzl to obtain support for a local community project?

    Each business is encouraged to support its local community and it is our policy to continue to support appropriate local community activities. Please feel free to write to your local Bunzl company with information about your project or alternatively use the details found in the ‘Contact Us’ section.

  • Which charities has Bunzl supported over the last financial year?

    In 2014 Bunzl provided support to, amongst others, The Eden Project, a charity that runs social and environmental projects, Crisis, a charity undertaking work to support the homeless and Carers Trust, a UK charity supporting those who care for family members and friends with disabilities and chronic illnesses. In addition we supported a number of healthcare initiatives, which assist both our employees and the communities in which they live, through Macmillan Cancer Support and Diabetes UK.


  • Does Bunzl have a policy/standards for handling customers?

    At Bunzl a main goal of ours is to build strong relationships with our customers and to provide high levels of service at all times. We acknowledge that our business largely depends on our customers and, as part of our customer policy, we ask our employees to act with professionalism, efficiency and honesty. Each Bunzl business handles customer relationships locally in keeping with local norms and standards. Our Customer Policy can be viewed within the CR policies section of the Bunzl website.

  • Does Bunzl have government or public sector contracts?

    Bunzl does service a number of government and public sector contracts within a number of different businesses. The number of such contracts as a proportion of the total is relatively small being less than 5% in the majority of our businesses across the world. Whilst the number of government contracts Bunzl has is low, for all our contracts we have a rigorous tender process which includes controlled procedures outlined by the relevant authorities.

Performance indicators

  • Bunzl’s objectives are all for only one year, why hasn’t Bunzl set longer term objectives?

    Bunzl has integrated its target setting for the environment/climate change and health and safety performance indicators with the annual financial budgeting process. Currently only annual targets are set during this process.

  • Is the Bunzl CR programme externally verified?  

    In 2014 we engaged PwC to undertake a limited assurance engagement, reporting to Bunzl plc only, using International Standard on Assurance Engagements (‘ISAE’) 3000: ‘Assurance Engagements Other Than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information’ and ISAE 3410: ‘Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements’ over certain information relating to carbon emissions, fuel usage and accident incident and severity rates in 2014. They have provided an unqualified opinion in relation to the relevant KPIs and data and their full assurance opinion is available here.


  • Which quality systems is Bunzl certified to?

    Some of Bunzl’s companies hold ISO 9001 quality accreditation.

  • Where can I find prior year CR reports?

    Previous CR reports can be found on our website using the CR Reports Archive.

  • Does Bunzl have a policy on animal testing?

    Bunzl is a distributor of a variety of products and our policy is not to source products tested on animals. Our goal is to use only suppliers that assess the safety of their products by non-animal, in-vitro testing. However, some of the raw materials used in products distributed by Bunzl may have been tested on animals in the past or may need to be so tested in the future under ‘REACH’ (EU Regulation concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) to assure human and environmental safety. REACH testing ensures that the level of such testing is kept to an absolute minimum (forced data sharing). Bunzl’s policy is to avoid products with ingredients which have been tested on animals unless it is proven to be mandated by a legal requirement.

Health & Safety

  • How does Bunzl manage Health and Safety across its sites worldwide?

    The health and safety of our workers is a priority for Bunzl and we are committed to achieving continuous improvement in health and safety performance. With our bespoke risk management system (BRMS), we are able to measure time lost due to accidents. We are also able to use BRMS to report on and manage Health and Safety performance across the Group. In addition to this all our sites are subject to Group-wide safety policies. Our sites are audited by our own Internal Auditors, qualified Safety Practitioners and our Insurers. Around 65% of our sites are audited in compliance with OHSAS 18001 and the remaining sites are audited using a framework that is aligned to these standards.

  • What is the number of employees within Bunzl who have been trained in Health and Safety in the past two years?

    All new employees receive induction training that includes safe working practices and emergency arrangement. Ongoing refresher training will be provides for high risk activities such as driving vehicles inside the warehouse and manual handling.
    As we view our high risk areas to be on-road driving, manual handling and operating warehouse vehicles, our driver and warehouse employee population are provided with additional health and safety training. For example Bunzl UK & Ireland use Safety Media, an online training course which covers manual handling, workstation set up and control of substances hazardous to health. The course involves a quiz at the end to test employee knowledge and is also reviewed as part of the Group audit process. A similar e-learning course is run in North America for the same employee population.

  • Does Bunzl have Emergency Response/Business Continuity plans in place?

    Bunzl plc has a risk management framework designed to identify and assess the likelihood and consequence of risks and to manage the actions necessary to mitigate their impact to acceptable levels.  Business continuity forms part of the Company’s risk management framework which is assessed by each business and business area, the Executive Committee and ultimately the Board.  At Bunzl plc level the business continuity plan addresses the provision of essential business services during any incident or emergency situation, while providing for the protection and safety of all employees.  Business area management undertake business risk reviews to identify key facilities which if unable to operate would adversely affect the Group’s ability to serve its customers.   Plans are developed for each of these key sites and these plans are tested periodically in order to ensure that our businesses are able to respond effectively to emergencies.  As Bunzl grows through acquisition, the number of sites requiring plans is reviewed regularly by the Bunzl Risk Management Committee.  In addition the Group seeks to reduce the impact of destruction of, or damage to, facilities through the use of multi-site facilities with products stocked in more than one location.

    Evidence of the effectiveness of these plans can be seen in our North America business area’s response to various US hurricanes such as Hurricane Catrina and our businesses in Australasia also successfully implemented their plan during the flooding in Queensland.

  • What are Bunzl’s high risk areas in terms of Health and Safety?

    We view on-road driving, use of warehouse vehicles and manual handling to be our biggest high risk areas.