Extending our commitment to ESG to help create a brighter future for all
Over the past 18 months we have been reminded that we all make a difference. It might be through the care and compassion we show others, our involvement in our communities, or through our commitment to living more sustainably with the future of our planet in mind. Now, as we emerge from the pandemic, we must ensure we continue to look for ways to create a brighter future for all. I am pleased to say we have just published our Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report, which outlines how we plan to do just that.
Working to Change the World shows how we are supporting our people and making a positive contribution to society now, and it sets out the goals we will be working towards in the future. It is an evolution of our well-established approach to communicating our achievements and aspirations. For the first time, it tracks our progress against common ESG metrics, so it is quicker and easier for people to see the difference we are making.
As Jonas Prising, our Chairman & CEO, said recently: “Today there is more focus than ever on ESG and the S in particular – how business creates broader shared value for all. What matters is measured, and our Working to Change the World plan is about collectively caring for People and Planet with new awareness and urgency.”
To ensure our day-to-day activities contribute to meaningful change, we have focused on driving change in three key areas: People & Prosperity, Planet and Principles of Governance. Highlights from our report include:
People & Prosperity
Championing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging
- Within our own organisation, we have strengthened our anti-racist stance and commitment to creating a supportive and inclusive culture. That includes the launch of our Global Culture Matters initiative, which measures our fitness for the future through organisation-wide surveys and focus groups.
- We are also committed to helping women advance their careers and I am proud to say that we expect to reach our goal of having 40% of leadership positions held by women by 2024.
- In the community, we are working with our partners in government and industry to remove the barriers that prevent some people from taking full advantage of the opportunities we expect to be created by our recovery from the pandemic. We know that under-privileged groups already at a disadvantage have been hardest hit by industry and school closures, and under-represented groups, such as women and young people, have faced further setbacks. We are supporting the UK Government’s Kickstart Programme as a way of helping young people into paid work placements and working with autism charities to find people who will thrive in one of the increasing number of niche IT roles.
- I’m also delighted that we have successfully retained our Disability Confident Leader This status validates our commitment to supporting those with disabilities to obtain and retain meaningful employment, and we are proud to be leading our industry within this scheme.
Prioritising People’s Health and Wellbeing
- The pandemic has changed the way we think about work and added to the pressure on employers who must now ensure they can not only survive the downturn but also provide a safe working environment for their employees. To help ease the journey back to the workplace, we co-founded the Safely Back to Work Alliance, which is now convened by the World Employment Confederation. The Alliance helps businesses tap into best practice and lessons learned so people can return to work with confidence.
Improving People’s Employability and Prosperity by Reskilling and Upskilling for the Future
- But it is not just employers who have to equip themselves for a new world of work. Employees also face the challenge of adapting their skills and broadening their experience to meet the emerging needs of businesses. Our MyPath upskilling programme has delivered significant benefits to our associates and clients in the UK over the past year. The programme helps people develop their skills and increase their earning potential by giving them access to extra training and career advice, and a supportive network of peers. Clients benefit by being able to access talent to fill skills gaps. Worldwide, the programme has transformed more than 120,000 people’s lives so far.
- Overall, we connected two million people to meaningful, sustainable work in 2020. And we provided access to employment and opportunities to reskill and upskill to 600,000 workers daily.
- We also reached more than 50 million job seekers with insights, advice and career guidance.
- To create value for society we must see the bigger picture and ensure the impact of our ESG initiatives are felt beyond the workplace. For that reason, we are committed to helping the UK meet its ambitious carbon reduction targets. That includes setting our own science-based targets and supporting the United Nations’ climate action Sustainable Development Goal.
- As an organisation, we have reduced our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 26% from 2019 and 37% over our 2018 baseline (64,360 to 102,373 tCO2e).
Principles of Governance
- As part of our attempts to ensure we are putting people first we have reinforced our commitment to creating opportunities for all through the publication of our global Human Rights Policy. In it, we’re clear about what we expect from our people and partners as we seek to demonstrate fairness and respect in all that we do.
- I’m also pleased to be able to say that our leadership is recognised by others. We have been included on Ethisphere’s prestigious list of World’s Most Ethical Companies for the 12th year. The Ethisphere® Institute recognises firms that seek to make a positive impact on people’s lives through sustainable business practices. We were also named on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 12th year running, and received a 2020 Platinum EcoVadis sustainability rating and top score for the 6th year.
- Importantly, we have put the processes and procedures in place to ensure that we are always turning our good intentions into action. We have established an ESG Executive Steering Committee that has oversight and accountability for our strategy and our progress against important targets.
Our Working to Change the World report highlights the progress we have made to date, and it serves an equally important purpose. It points to a way forward and is a call to action to our partners in industry, academia, and government. I believe we have an opportunity to create a better future for workers and extend the benefits of employment to more people. And I am sure we all agree – this is the time to act.