Founded in 1792, WHSmith began as family-run newsagents before becoming the world’s first retail chain. Today, the company has more than 600 High Street stores as well as travel stores and a growing presence overseas in Europe, the Middle East, India, Southeast Asia, China and Australia.
As a household name, WHSmith is committed to making a positive impact in the local neighbourhoods in which it serves, particularly through its efforts to champion literacy and assist local causes.
As the UK’s leading bookseller and stationer, the company is particularly passionate about literacy and life-long learning. That is why WHSmith directs much of its charitable efforts and resources towards engaging children at a young age to read for pleasure, which has statistically been proven to help children reach their potential and help lead to greater progress in the areas of mathematics, vocabulary and spelling. Amongst its many initiatives is developing the National Literacy Trust’s Swindon Hub, a literacy hub located in the town of Swindon, England that promotes the love of reading to thousands of local children and young people.
WHSmith is also passionate about ending Modern Slavery. Employing over 12,000 colleagues in the UK and over 2,000 employees in our direct international businesses, they have a well-developed set of policies and processes to protect the human rights of those that work directly or indirectly with them. This includes through their business partners or supply chains.
The company’s Modern Slavery Statement states “Modern slavery, including all forms of slavery, servitude, forced and compulsory labour and human trafficking, is an abhorrent abuse of human rights. WHSmith PLC and its group companies are committed to ensuring full respect for the human rights of anyone working for us in any capacity and we take a zero-tolerance to modern slavery in our business operations and supply chains”.
For many years, WHSmith has been tackling climate action through its initiatives aimed at reducing the carbon emissions generated by its stores, the fuel used for transporting inventory and employees and the emissions from its supply chain.
Since 2007, the company has reduced emissions from its stores and distribution centres by over 60% by introducing a centralized building management system that allows it to quickly identify and address discrepancies.
The company has reduced operational waste by 20% over the past five years by introducing reusable pallets and recycling cardboard and plastic packaging. The company has also reduced waste from its ready-to-consume sandwiches by 30% over the past 5 years by introducing a program of discounting for food that is approaching its shelf-life.