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We're committed to doing the right thing for our people, our communities and our planet.

We have an obligation to grow our business sustainably, making the right decisions and acting in the right way to earn the trust and respect of everyone associated with our business. We are regularly recognised as sustainability leaders by independent benchmarking organisations and have won several awards for our social and environmental programmes.

  • People
  • Community
  • Planet

Here are just some of the brilliant initiatives we’re supporting along our journey…

Our sustainability programme

Our sustainability programme highlights the social and environmental issues that are close to our hearts, and guides us in making the changes we need to tackle them. It’s all about minimising our impact on the planet, making sure our people can thrive, and leaving a positive impact on our communities., making sure our people, our communities and our planet end every year in a better place than where they began. You can read more about the work we're doing in our Sustainability Report.


We think that looking after our planet should be everyone’s number one priority. We’re proud to help lead the way with our commitment to reaching Net Zero emissions by 2050. We’ve already massively reduced our carbon emissions through major investments in energy efficiency, by switching to 100% renewable energy, and by diverting 99% of our waste from landfill. We’ve also started working with our suppliers to find even more innovative ways we can reduce emissions in our wider value chain. Find out more about what we’re doing for our planet.

Ethical Trading & Human Rights

Our business relies on a network of thousands of suppliers providing tens of thousands of different products. We need to be confident that the goods and services we buy have been made ethically and without any harm to the environment. We expect our suppliers to follow the same standards as our own, providing safe, fair and decent conditions for their employees and treating everyone with dignity and respect. We monitor our supply chain to make sure that these standards are being upheld, and work with suppliers and others in the retail industry to try and continually improve conditions for workers. Find out more about our Ethical Trade programmes and projects in our Code of Conduct.

Forest Sourcing

Books, newspapers, stationery - as you can probably tell, we love paper based products! So, we make sure that all of our own-brand stationery items come from recycled materials or sources that have been certified as being sustainably sourced. Read more about our Forest Sourcing work.

Health & Safety

The wellbeing of all those who work at WHSmith is important to us and we're committed to providing the right support network to help everyone thrive. That’s why we have wellbeing first aiders across the business who have been trained to spot any signs of mental health issues and to help anyone who wants to talk. We’re raising awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing and reducing the stigma associated with mental illness to encourage people to seek help when they need it.

Community & charities

As a familiar face on almost every high street, we’re valued members of communities across the UK. What’s more, we’re committed to making a positive impact wherever you’ll find us. Over the past decade, we’ve invested more than £10m in local community and charity projects, and we support all kinds of amazing fundraising initiatives from our store teams and customers. For example, we were excited to be able to play a part in 2022's DIY SOS: The Big Build for Children in Need, which was featured on BBC One. Our High Street team donated stationery and arts and crafts supplies as part of the life changing transformation of the fantastic @GetawayGirls’ new charity headquarters in Leeds. And what really makes us smile is that our Charity Christmas cards continue to be just as popular with customers as ever, raising valuable funds for our partners at an important time of the year. Read more about our community investment activities.

Supporting literacy

We're Britain’s leading bookseller and stationer, which means an interest in literacy comes naturally to us. One of our most important initiatives, and one that’s very close to our hearts, is our long-term literacy work project in partnership with the National Literacy Trust. Together we are helping children and young people to develop the literacy skills they will need to succeed in life. Since we launched the initiative, we’ve donated over 400,000 books and helped the National Literacy Trust to support hundreds of thousands of children to learn to read. Our Schools Giveaway also continues to help local schools build up their library resources with book vouchers for books from our High Street stores.

Hear about our commitment to sustainability.