RONA INC.
TSX : RON

RONA INC.

November 19, 2010 10:00 ET

RONA Unveils New Responsible Procurement Policy

RONA strategy emphasises capacity building and dialogue

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 19, 2010) - RONA Inc. (TSX:RON), Canada's largest distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products, today released its new Responsible Procurement Policy (RPP). This policy encompasses the specific procurement policies already introduced by the company for certain products, including the wood products procurement policy and the policy ending sales of synthetic cosmetic pesticides. This new policy is an update of the Responsible Buying Code introduced in 2002. The RONA RPP deals with all products and services sold in our stores, as well as goods and services used by the company. The RONA RPP will come into effect in January 2011.

Under the new policy, RONA's goal is to ensure that products sold by the Company:

  • Have the least possible impact on the environment
  • Are the result of the labour of workers whose rights are respected
  • Contribute to social and economic development locally and regionally in Canada.

"This new initiative confirms our commitment to our supply chains by showing respect for human dignity and protection of the environment, which is central to our entire approach. We firmly believe that product selection and supplier mobilization are the key factors by which we can exercise our leadership in sustainable development while ensuring the greatest possible respect for our values," said RONA President and CEO Robert Dutton.

In order to thoroughly cover the issues relating to responsible procurement, RONA articulated the development of its policy in terms of rigorously identified principles based on analysis of best practices around the world and in consultation with recognized stakeholders. These stakeholders included ethical investment funds, special interest groups and experts specializing in the social and environmental sectors, as well as suppliers.

A policy based on capacity building and dialogue

The resources RONA will invest to implement this policy will be devoted first and foremost to strengthening our employees' and suppliers' capacity to better understand the principles of this policy and participate in its implementation. Our strategy for implementation will be based on dialogue with our front-line suppliers, who will in turn be invited to do the same with their own subcontractors. In this way we hope to generate a commitment from all parties to continuous improvement of their social and environmental performance. Suppliers' ability to comply with our policy will be a decisive factor in our business relationships.

"We believe our policy's successful implementation depends on a concerted effort among our suppliers and employees, and that's why we've based our approach on capacity building and dialogue. This will help us identify risks and establish action plans that take local realities into account while still aiming for continuous improvement," said Norman Dumont, RONA Executive Vice President of Merchandising.

The fundamental principles of the RONA RPP are based on respect for the same environmental, social and economic principles that determine the company's approach to sustainable development.

With regard to the environment, RONA's objective is to minimize the impact of its products and activities on the environment. To do this, RONA has adopted the life cycle assessment approach as an environmental platform, a rigorous process that measures products' environmental impact throughout their entire life cycle, in relationship with five key environmental issues agreed on by international scientific consensus:

  1. Climate change
  2. Water quality and supply
  3. Human health
  4. Quality of ecosystems
  5. Depletion of resources

With regard to social aspects, RONA recognizes the importance of promoting and respecting the rights of workers in any country where it conducts its activities or from where its products are supplied. Our principal references for this purpose are the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions, the applicable sections of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the national laws of the countries where our suppliers are located.

As a bare minimum, RONA regards respect on the part of our suppliers for the Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work recognized by the ILO in 1998:

  1. Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining
  2. Freedom from compulsory labour
  3. Effective abolition of child labour
  4. Non-discrimination in employment

RONA also regards as essential compliance with other international labour standards, recognized as relevant by interested parties and stakeholders:

  1. Respectful labour relations
  2. Occupational health and safety
  3. Harassment or abuse
  4. Non excessive working hours
  5. Wages and benefits
  6. Rights of indigenous peoples

With regard to social and economic aspects, RONA intends to continue playing an active role in Canada's economic development, and has therefore adopted an approach which gives preference to local and regional suppliers and contributes to their long-term viability.

Given its broad scope, this policy will be implemented gradually. In the first phase of implementation, we will target our own RONA ECO and Eco-responsible products, products sold under our private and controlled brands, and products that we import through our Shanghai office or other intermediaries.

A progress report on implementation of this policy will be included in our company's annual report. The policy itself will be reviewed every three years.

About RONA

RONA is the largest Canadian distributor and retailer of hardware, renovation and gardening products. The company operates a network of nearly 700 corporate, franchise and affiliate stores of various sizes and formats. With close to 30,000 employees working under its family of banners in every region of Canada and more than 16 million square feet of retail space, the RONA store network generates over $6 billion in annual retail sales. For more information, please visit rona.ca.

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