Corporate social responsibility
The Chairman is the officer responsible for the Group's corporate social responsibility. In the places in which the Group operates, it aims to make a social and economic contribution, including minimising effects on the environment.
The Group's environmental policy aims to minimise, where practical, the Group's impact on the environment.
As a group of management consulting companies, the Group's business has a relatively small impact on the environment. Nevertheless, the Board recognises the quality of the environment in which it operates is a concern for its stakeholders and others in the community and consequently is essential to the long-term financial performance of the Group.
As a member of the FTSE4Good index, the Group ensures that all laws, regulations and official guidelines in the countries in which it operates are complied with and where possible exceeded. The Group is also a member of the United Nations Global Compact.
Following the reporting guidelines issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the Group's Environmental Officer has identified areas where the Group could have an impact on the environment and has taken steps to reduce this impact. These are detailed below. Reviews of the quantitative impact on the environment in these and other areas will continue to be undertaken to enable the Group's environmental performance to be assessed and further improved.
Energy use and climate change
Carbon dioxide is one of the most significant air pollutants as a by-product of energy consumption and is the major contributor to the "enhanced greenhouse gas effect". Last year we noted that we had initiated a programme to measure the amount of electricity being used in our largest offices, to identify where reductions can be made in the future. Progress has been made and the programme is being implemented in the new offices added to the Group during the year.
Due to the nature of the business and the need for employees with appropriate experience to work on projects, employees regularly need to travel to clients' sites. This often involves traveling to different countries; however, because of careful resource planning, 90% of flights made by employees during both 2006 and 2007 were short-haul. The Group's employees are encouraged, wherever possible, to share private road transport or use public transport.
Whilst further improvements are being targeted, the Group has made progress in reducing energy consumption. There is an ongoing programme to install energy saving devices within all our offices, including those added during the year as part of the CBH and KSA acquisitions. The principal methods adopted by the Group to reduce energy consumption are as follows:
- installing automatic power-off systems on lights and certain equipment;
- using energy efficient lighting;
- using time-switches on air conditioning systems; and
- reducing travel by making use of video conferencing facilities.
Waste and recycling
The increase in waste generated is a serious problem in many of the countries in which the Group operates. The shortage of new landfill sites in these countries is well documented, as are the potential health impacts and carbon dioxide emissions caused by landfill sites.
Quantitative information regarding the amount of waste produced by the Group during a particular period is currently not available; however it is estimated that over 70% of such waste could be recycled. Most Group offices recycle printer cartridges and over half currently recycle paper or have plans to implement during 2008. The Group has maintained its efforts to reduce waste and increase recycling by:
- encouraging employees to recycle paper and toner cartridges. Recycling facilities are available in the largest offices and is being extended to cover CBH and KSA offices;
- giving furniture and computer equipment which is no longer needed to local schools and charities; and
- stripping obsolete computer equipment for useful parts before being disposed of in accordance with the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive.
Water usage throughout the world is growing at an unsustainable speed. The Group does not use a significant amount of water; however where available, the Group seeks to lease buildings with water-efficient fittings and white goods.