When it comes to sustainability, we want to make as big a difference as possible so we focus on the things that matter most. We agree our priorities based on research amongst our stakeholders and our senior leadership and we use them to set the direction for our sustainability-related programmes.
Recent discussions with different stakeholders helped us understand that we needed to be clearer and more transparent in explaining our priorities. That’s why we published our materiality matrix in 2011. We review this each year and make adjustments if required, as the external and business context changes.
The matrix is aligned with our principal business and operational risks, informs our sustainability strategy and also shapes our approach to sustainability reporting. We concentrate on high-priority items in our annual report and give a more detailed and comprehensive review in our corporate sustainability web pages and updates.
This year, we’ve improved our quantitative reporting on the priority issues in our sustainability scorecard, including new metrics on quality and ethics, wellbeing and diversity. We explain the rationale and meaning of each new metric in our 2012 Corporate Sustainability Annual Performance Update.
Compared to many sectors, our business doesn’t use a great deal of natural resources. Our biggest impact is in the market, through the products and services we deliver. So it’s unsurprising that ethics and the quality of our work are the most important factors to our stakeholders and our firm. Likewise, our success depends on the integrity of, and trust in, our people and services – so governance and information security deserve our highest attention.
What’s more, as a people business that recruits significant numbers of employees each year, being able to access the best talent is also essential to us. That’s why we strive to create a culture of respect and consideration for others alongside excellent opportunities for learning and development.
Embedding sustainability into our services remains important. That’s because our clients expect us to know how to help them become more sustainable. We invest in pioneering research to better understand and manage the impact sustainability and climate change are having on business, or on the importance of trust in business, for example. This means we’re able to help our clients better manage related risks and, ultimately, achieve financial success.
That said, we know we need to address all of our sustainability issues in an appropriate and timely way. For instance, we depend on travel and basic resources such as energy, paper, water and consumables. Because of this, we have programmes in place to deal with each issue effectively and to eliminate or minimise our environmental impact.