A sustainable business - CEO Statement
G4S employees play an important role in society – safeguarding the welfare and prosperity of millions of people and helping create safer and better environments in which people live and work.
Importance of sustainability
Being a sustainable, ethical business is key to the ongoing success of G4S. We are trusted by customers and other stakeholders to safeguard their most precious assets and we strive to place that responsibility at the centre of everything we do.
Our values and our approach to embedding CSR strategies into our business model are important differentiators for the group. They help us to attract and retain employees, to win and keep customers and to obtain appropriate investment in the group – all of which is key to supporting our sustainable business performance.
In recent years we have reviewed the systems and processes that govern the way in which we work at G4S. Those reviews have resulted in us developing a new approach to embedding CSR practices into our operations, from implementing a new process for assessing and managing our core risks and introducing a human rights framework, to making substantial enhancements to our health and safety policies and practices. We have made considerable progress in these and wider sustainability-related programmes, which has had a positive impact on G4S and its stakeholders.
In this CSR report, we analyse the key ethical and sustainability issues and themes that arise from our business and provide an update on their progress since our last report.
Prioritising CSR activities
G4S demonstrated its commitment to CSR through signing the UN Global Compact five years ago. The core principles of the Compact continue to be reflected in our values and in our business ethics, human rights and other CSR policies.
Our CSR programmes cover a broad range of issues from assessing the economic impact of our operations to improving the fuel efficiency of our fleet. However, our primary focus is on those strategic issues that are most closely aligned to our business performance and have been highlighted by internal and external stakeholders as the most material CSR issues faced by the group.
Our 2015 CSR materiality review identified health and safety, human rights, and anti-bribery and corruption as our most important priorities and material CSR issues.
Values are the standards we set for ourselves and the culture of the organisation is the way those values are reflected in our behaviours and actions.
Being a service business, people are at the heart of our business. We rely on them to provide excellent customer service and to behave in line with the company’s values and standards. They rely on the company to provide a safe place to work and for development, support and guidance throughout their career.
In 2015, we commenced a review of our corporate values, recognising that they were originally developed in 2004, the year G4S was created. While many elements of the values remain relevant to our business strategy today, we felt that they could better reflect the standards we expect from our staff and the commitments we make to our stakeholders. We have concluded our review and have launched a new set of values.
In 2016, we will focus on embedding these values in our processes and practices across the group and building them into our management incentive programmes.
Where incidents are reported or the conduct of our staff falls short of our values and standards, we always treat them with the utmost gravity. We report any failures to the relevant authorities and conduct our own investigation or appoint an independent third party to carry out an investigation on our behalf. We learn from any breaches of policy or standards and adapt our practices to prevent them reoccurring in the future.
Achievements in 2015
The safety of our employees and those in our care is a key priority for the group. We have made improvements to our health and safety practices across the business, with a particular focus on management accountability as well as incident prevention and best practice sharing.
It has been a challenging year and while the added focus on health and safety has led to a reduction in the number of fatal incidents and attacks in some regions during 2015, I regret to report that 46 of our colleagues lost their lives in the course of their duties during 2015 (41 in 2014). Our goal is zero harm and whilst I am encouraged by the greatly improved safety awareness, our safety results remain completely unsatisfactory. My management team and I remain wholeheartedly committed to our goal of zero harm and will continue to invest in safety awareness, training and intervention as part of an ongoing programme to enhance the safety culture of the company.
Our approach on health and safety will focus directly on the actions of supervisors and staff on the front line with resources being realigned to the areas where they can have the most impact – reviewing health and safety practices at our offices, branches and customer sites and taking remedial action to reinforce everyday compliance with our health and safety guidelines.
Our human rights framework has been embedded in key systems and business decision-making processes across the group, such as evaluating new market entry, analysing the risks of entering into major new contracts or operational areas, and internal audit and compliance assessment. Our prioritisation of human rights issues is based on an annual assessment of human rights risks and a series of control self- ssessment and reviews in markets where human rights risks may exist. We take human rights risks extremely seriously and when a risk or concern is identified, action is taken to make sure that we put in place processes to mitigate or reduce that risk.
Every G4S colleague has a responsibility to ensure that we uphold our values, adhere to the law and operate in a manner that is consistent with the important commitments set out in our ethics policy and ethics code. In September we launched Speak Out, our new and enhanced global whistleblowing process. As well as to a new global whistleblowing hotline, our Speak Out programme is supported by a central whistleblowing case management system which will provide us with much improved visibility of whistleblowing issues and help us to assess trends. In addition, we have identified a series of specialist investigators within the company who have been trained to investigate whistleblowing matters within their area of expertise.
Creating an environment in which colleagues feel confident that they can raise concerns and they will be taken seriously without fear of retaliation is essential to the success of the business and one of our priorities for 2016. The importance of supporting this outcome was underlined by the shocking and unacceptable events at our Medway facility in late 2015.
Feedback from our global employees is an important method of assessing how policies are being put into practice throughout our operations. It also helps us to measure our employees’ understanding of the group values and identify things we can do to improve the way they feel about the company.
In 2015, we undertook the most recent of our global employee surveys, based on our PRIDE model. This survey, our fourth, was the largest to date and received 449,000 responses, from around 73% of all employees.
The survey data is very useful in developing and enhancing our group-wide human resources and engagement strategies, but more importantly, because it can be analysed in depth at a local level, it provides our management and supervisors with information on local issues so they can take action to address any concerns raised by our employees.
Priorities for 2016
Our core ethical and sustainability priorities will remain unchanged during 2016 – they continue to be the areas that will have the most impact on our sustainable performance and therefore will be the areas where we will focus our efforts.
We will continue our relentless focus on the safety of our employees and those in our care. We will continue to learn the lessons from incidents that have taken place and ensure that our systems are continually improved to prevent reoccurrence. Our goal is zero harm.
Human rights will continue to form an important part of our risk assessment and mitigation process, with the implementation of a new control self-assessment for businesses operating in high-risk countries beginning in 2016. We will also continue to build awareness and understanding of our human rights responsibilities among our leadership.
Following the launch of Speak Out, we will continue to reinforce awareness and encourage a workplace culture in which all employees will feel confident that they can raise any ethical concerns they may have in good faith without fear of retaliation.
The introduction of our new values will be supported by an employee engagement programme to ensure that they are embedded in our core processes for selecting, hiring, on-boarding, training and developing of our colleagues around the world. They will also be a key element of how we assess the performance of our leaders and the basis on which our other corporate policies and standards will develop.
I and my group executive colleagues believe that our CSR strategy must develop in line with our business objectives and are committed to ensuring that our CSR standards are embedded within our organisational processes and behaviours.
We will focus on continuous improvement of our business practices to ensure that we meet our high ethical and sustainability standards across the group.
Group Chief Executive Officer