At Inchcape, we recognise that Corporate Responsibility (CR) is a long term programme. Our approach is to ensure that we make responsible, economic, environmental and social behaviour intrinsic to the way we work. Inchcape’s CR Programme is recognised by our continued inclusion in the FTSE4Good index. We also take part in the Carbon Disclosure Project’s review and have qualified and registered for participation in the UK Government’s Carbon Reduction Commitment scheme.
This section of the Annual Report sets out the Group’s key principles of its Corporate Responsibility (CR) Programme and how we have taken further steps in our CR journey.
At Inchcape, we take responsibility for the impact of our activities on five core areas and our key developments during 2010 have focused on these:
In particular, building on our programme in 2008 and 2009, throughout 2010 we have been collecting data to enable us to measure the Group’s CO2 footprint and discuss these steps below. We have been developing our CR initiatives for our customers and our people. Finally, we have provided highlights of some of our achievements in respect of the Group’s impact on the communities within which our many businesses operate.
We continue to be committed to integrating socially responsible behaviour into every aspect of how we operate and define ourselves. We believe that our commitment to CR will deliver a sustainable approach to our business for all of our stakeholders and their varying needs. To this end, when we reviewed the approach to our CR journey in 2007, we specifically reviewed, with the assistance of an external consultancy, our stakeholders and their needs. We review this on an annual basis across our markets and engage with them during the course of the year on our approach.
CR is an evolving journey. We have taken a number of steps which have resulted in significant progress in raising awareness of CR issues and in changing the way that we operate and how we can help our customers. We believe that CR is an important part of our future and we are committed to building on the good work that has been done to date.
To emphasise the importance of CR, this year we established a Board CR Committee which met four times in 2010. It is chaired by David Scotland, a Non-Executive Director. Its members in 2010 were Michael Wemms, a Non-Executive Director, the Group Chief Executive, Group HR Director and the General Counsel and Group Company Secretary. Day to day management of CR activities is delegated to an operational CR Committee which meets monthly at the Group’s head office and to local CR Committees and Champions within each of our businesses.
Good governance is a fundamental element of CR. We have clear goals, which are effectively communicated and have demonstrated strong leadership, strong performance management and transparent reporting. As a UK listed company, we are required to comply with a variety of legislation including the UK Corporate Governance Code. Details of our approach and how we have complied are set out at www.inchcape.com/about_us/governance.
The Group has in place minimum standards across all of its subsidiaries. These polices are set out in the Group’s Subsidiary Governance Manual and compliance is verified annually, through the year end reporting processes and through Internal Audit reviews. These policies – recognising that there may be variances in local laws – require that each subsidiary complies to at least the standard set out in the Group policy and to a more stringent standard where required by local law. In this way, the Group can ensure that despite variances there is a consistent approach to business taken across all core functional activities, including legal, governance, tax, treasury, finance and HR.
Financial stability and viability is essential to the operation of the Company and therefore the sustainability of the Group and all its initiatives. As set out in the Top Five Priorities section of the Group Chief Executive's strategic review, we are focusing on our Top Five Priorities. This allows us to be efficient with our resources and to benefit from the growth opportunities in emerging markets.
The Board is responsible for the strategic direction of all CR initiatives, and the programme as a whole, as part of the risk management programme. The Board is ultimately accountable to our shareholders for our CR Programme. Management of the CR Programme has been delegated to the CR Committee. Above all, the CR Committee’s role is to ensure that our day to day business operations respond to the opportunities, and avoid the risks, posed by CR issues.
Through a network of locally based CR Champions, employees with global and local responsibilities support the work of the CR Committee. Our activities are focused through our CR Aware campaign.
Health and safety is reviewed by Group health and safety officers and as part of the Internal Audit Programme.
Human resources data is reviewed and verified ultimately by the Group HR Director. Community engagement data is reviewed by the CR Committee and the Executive Committee.
Other information presented is reviewed by the relevant functional experts.