Our sustainability programme concentrates on three key focus areas which actively support our growth, improve associate engagement, address our top risks and compliance requirements or are important to our customers, suppliers and shareholders.
During the year the Group Sustainability team conducted a detailed review of our sustainability programme to continue to align it with the latest best practice, utilising the guidance and methods provided by the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. We also surveyed over 4,000 associates and a number of suppliers and customers to understand what they considered the key material issues that would most influence the long-term success of the Company. The results were reviewed by the Executive Committee to ensure that our programme continues to align with our strategic objectives. Consequently, our sustainability strategy has evolved this year to address the following three important focus areas:
1. Best associates
As our associates are our most important asset, this focus area includes health and safety, diversity and inclusion, compensation and benefits, development and retention and social investment.
2. Efficient operations
Initiatives that support this focus area include energy management, supply chain management, fuel consumption and emissions reduction.
3. Sustainable products and solutions
Projects within this focus area include product quality and integrity, product packaging and design, and lifecycle impacts of the products and services we offer.
Who has overall accountability and sets direction?
The overall programme is agreed by the Board and reviewed every six months to ensure its ongoing relevance to business strategy, stakeholder expectations and international sustainability agendas. The Chief Marketing Officer and Director of Sustainability are responsible to the Board for the overall sustainability programme.
Who implements the strategy set by the Board?
With direction from the Board, the businesses define and execute local action plans according to their own particular level of development and the greatest opportunities for progress in line with strategy. The Group Sustainability team oversees implementation.
Are targets and objectives set?
Objectives and, where appropriate, quantified targets are set for all sustainability programme components. For some focus areas, Group-wide KPIs have been defined. KPIs have not been set for all elements of the programme as it is not always practical to bring distinct local methods under one unified metric. Improved performance is the primary goal.
How is performance monitored?
Business units monitor performance against our most important sustainability issues throughout the year. Performance reports are submitted to the Executive Committee and the Board at regular intervals. For example, health and safety performance is reported monthly. Product integrity and environmental data is reviewed every six months. The Group Sustainability team monitors performance across all areas of the sustainability programme, collaborating with the Human Resources team, Health and Safety team, the Risk and Compliance team, and the Technology team. Ferguson’s Internal Audit teams periodically test compliance with policy and adherence to procedures.
How are risks assessed and mitigated?
Non-financial as well as financial risks are assessed as part of the Group’s comprehensive risk management process. These include fraud, corruption, product quality, employee, health and safety and environmental risks. For further information on the Group's risk management programme, click here.