Corporate Social Responsibility

Although the Company is accountable to its shareholders, it also recognises that it has responsibilities to other stakeholders which include employees (see pages 52 and 53 of the Annual Report and Accounts 2012), customers, suppliers, and the local communities in which it operates. The Board accepts its responsibility to be accountable to all stakeholders.

The Company is dedicated to supplying high quality products which meet the requirements of its customers in a manner consistent with high environmental and ethical standards. These principles form an integral part of the Company's management processes and operations throughout the world.

In order to maintain its high standards, Wolfson surveys potential new manufacturing subcontractors for acceptable environmental and Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) policies of their own. Our survey format refers to international regulations and standards. This exploits the steadily improving world-wide understanding of those regulations and standards.

In 2012, Wolfson introduced a review of its main suppliers' Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) policies into its supplier audit programme. Good CSR standards are a requirement for subcontractors to be added to Wolfson's Approved Suppliers List, but formalising this requirement reinforces Wolfson's commitment to CSR. The policy is based on the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC) which is a widely supported voluntary code developed by the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, an organisation representing most of the major companies in the industry. The code defines CSR standards in these four areas: terms of employment; health and safety of employees; environmental responsibility; and corporate ethical behaviour. A fifth section defines a management system to ensure the effectiveness of CSR policies. There are significant advantages of Wolfson's adoption of an external standard as the basis for its policy: it has wide acceptance; it comprises a uniform industry-wide approach; and its ownership by a large international collaboration ensures comprehensive surveillance and updating.

Environment

The Company's policy is to behave in an environmentally responsible manner, consistent with and in compliance with local legislation and protocols. The Company requires its subcontractors to have BS EN ISO 14001:2004 certification, and to conform to the Montreal Protocol for substances that deplete the ozone layer, and to relevant local legislation to ensure control and/or elimination of materials recognised as hazardous.

The Company attained BS EN ISO 14001:2004 certification in 2005. It has a mature environmental management system for assessing, controlling and monitoring the potential environmental impact of activities at the Company's premises and at those of its subcontractors. A programme of targets and objectives, subject to periodic review, is in place to ensure continual improvement. The Company's Environmental Policy and Environmental Manual are available for reference by all employees on the Company's intranet. The Environmental Policy is also available publicly through the Company's website.

The responsibility for the Company's environmental policy and management has been delegated by the Board to the Chief Executive Officer who reports back to the Board at least annually. This includes the setting of the policies of the environmental management system, its objectives and targets. The Vice President Quality is responsible for the implementation and maintenance of the environmental management system in accordance with the requirements of BS EN ISO 14001:2004. Wolfson's Environmental Management System is maintained through management review meetings, held on a regular basis, and by internal audits. Annual internal legal and other requirements compliance audits are also performed by a specialist consultant. Wolfson maintains certification by employing the British Standards Institution to conduct third party audits on a six monthly basis, and a strategic review on a three year cycle.

Wolfson's primary environmental objective is the reduction of energy consumption in the Company's UK offices. Key activities in 2012 were:

  • review and upgrade of air handling with more energy efficient systems;
  • upgrade lighting systems with low energy equivalents, typically achieving a 20% reduction in energy consumption by these systems; and
  • reduce waste to landfill by 15% by improved recycling.

As announced in 2012 by the UK Government, quoted companies (including companies listed on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange) will have to measure and report levels of greenhouse gas emissions and these new regulations are planned to be introduced during 2013. The Company will aim to address the relevant aspects of these regulations.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2006 (WEEE)
Wolfson's commitment to WEEE has entailed registration as a producer, for the Company's ANC headsets, and has joined the Transform WEEE compliance scheme. Wolfson is also registered on the National Packaging Waste Database under the Batteries Directive for batteries incorporated in the ANC headsets.

Hazardous Substances Management System (HSMS)
Wolfson has a formal Hazardous Substances Management System (HSMS). Our policy with respect to hazardous substances is total compliance with all regulatory and customer requirements. Our formal HSMS will support the continuation of our 100% compliance record. Also, as with CSR, it will facilitate selection and auditing of our subcontractors, to ensure that our record is not compromised by them.

A detailed list of Wolfson's regulatory and customer obligations with respect to hazardous substances, and particulars of our compliance with them, is published on the Company's website and regularly updated. There have been two further updates to the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) list of Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs). Wolfson uses none of these, which means that the registration and reporting requirements in REACH do not apply to Wolfson's products.

Ethical business practices

Wolfson is a fabless semiconductor company specialising in the design and supply of high performance audio solutions which meet the high quality standards expected by our customers in a manner consistent with industry recognised environmental and ethical standards such as the Electronic Industry Code of Conduct (EICC). As a fabless company, Wolfson subcontracts its manufacturing operations to silicon wafer foundries and assembly and test providers that are based mainly in Asia. In order to maintain its high standards, Wolfson surveys potential new subcontractors for acceptable environmental and Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR) policies of their own.

All employees are expected to behave ethically when working for the Company and this is reflected in the policies which are detailed extensively in the Employee Handbook. Ethical business practices are integral to the Company and are reflected in the practices in relation to recruitment, disciplinary matters and grievances. The Employee Handbook underwent a further review in 2012 and was updated for new practices and legislation where necessary.

The Company has an ethics policy which has been communicated to all employees. The Company enhanced this policy in 2010 to incorporate a specific anti-bribery and corruption policy. The anti-bribery and corruption policy continues to be communicated to all employees, especially new joiners, in line with the requirements of the Bribery Act 2010. Employees concerned about ethics within the organisation are encouraged to raise their concerns with the Human Resources team or their line manager, or to follow the guidance in the Company's 'whistle blowing' policy.

Wolfson is committed to the principle of equal opportunity in employment and its internal procedures reflect this. The principle is supported by the Company's recruitment, disciplinary and grievance procedures.

The Company takes its legal and ethical responsibilities very seriously and constantly reviews case law and new legislation to ensure that it continues to follow good and ethical practices globally.

The Company recognises its legal responsibilities to ensure the well-being, safety and welfare of its employees and to maintain a safe environment for visitors and any subcontractors while they are on the Company's premises. All staff are instructed on the Company's health and safety policy which can be accessed by all employees on the Company's intranet. The Vice President Quality has responsibility, delegated by the Board, for the Company's health and safety matters.

Local Community

The Company strives to make a contribution to the communities in which it operates. The responsibility for community matters has been delegated by the Board to the Chief Executive Officer within agreed budgetary parameters.

The Company has a Charity and Community Council (CCC) which comprises employees from across the business and across locations. The CCC is responsible for reviewing and proposing the charity and community activities within the agreed levels and budget available. The CCC also approves employee charity matching and nominates different charities for Company support. Wolfson employees continue to be committed fund-raisers to a wide variety of different charitable causes, by taking part in a range of events including 5km runs, marathons, cycle-rides and sponsored silences.

Wolfson has provided community support to local Scottish schools by supporting Generation Science – the national education programme which brings science to life with a range of exciting shows and workshops delivered in the classroom. Furthermore, Wolfson provided sponsorship to RNIB's (Royal National Institute of Blind People) inaugural "Technology for Life" conference held at Glasgow Science Park in September 2012. Wolfson employees based at the office in Newbury continued to support The Castle School during 2012. The Castle School caters for young people, with a variety of complex learning difficulties, from 2 to 19 years of age. During the course of 2012, various successful and fun events were held in support of The Castle School such as a summer fundraising barbecue, a breakfast morning and a charity bowling night.

The Company provides a scholarship programme for a number of students at Edinburgh University during their engineering degree courses and for post-graduate research fellowships. As well as providing financial support, the programme includes placements for work experience and project work within the Company. During 2013 this will be extended to supporting PhD students from both Edinburgh and Southampton Universities.

As with previous years, the Company sponsored an exhibit in the Edinburgh International Science Festival in April 2012 aimed at raising children's awareness and interest in science.

In 2012, the Group supported charitable and community activities, including the scholarship programmes, with donations and sponsorships totalling $97,000 (2011: $186,000).

Contacts

Press Relations

Harry Chathli

Director
Luther Pendragon
Priory Court
Pilgrim St
London
EC4V 6DR

t: +44 (0)20 7618 9100
f: +44 (0)20 7329 7301

Company Contacts

Derek Milne

Communications Director
Wolfson Microelectronics plc
Westfield House
26 Westfield Road
Edinburgh EH11 2QB
United Kingdom

t: +44 (0)131 272 7000
f: +44 (0)131 272 7001
e: info@wolfsonmicro.com

Mark Cubitt

CFO & Finance Director
Wolfson Microelectronics plc
Westfield House
26 Westfield Road
Edinburgh EH11 2QB
United Kingdom

t: +44 (0)131 272 7000
f: +44 (0)131 272 7001
e: info@wolfsonmicro.com

Jill Goldsmith

Company Secretary
Wolfson Microelectronics plc
Westfield House
26 Westfield Road
Edinburgh EH11 2QB
United Kingdom

t: +44 (0)131 272 7000
f: +44 (0)131 272 7001
e: info@wolfsonmicro.com