Our CR report and programme are developed and assured in line with the AA1000 Assurance Standard and the Associated Assurance Principles Standard (AA1000APS). This standard is based on three principles:
- Inclusivity - engaging with our stakeholders to help shape the business.
- Materiality - understanding the CR issues that are most important to us at any one time and reflecting this in our reporting processes.
- Responsiveness - managing and responding to material issues, challenges and stakeholder concerns.
We define our stakeholders as any group or organisation who could be significantly affected by the business or who could have an impact on the company. We have identified each of our main stakeholder groups and have established a range of mechanisms for engaging with them.
One of our main challenges is the management of varied stakeholder interactions, including the collation of feedback from Group level and local engagement processes. In particular, much of our customer engagement takes place at local level and reflects local issues and circumstances. However, we balance the local engagement with Group-wide surveys which allow us also to understand broader trends.
This year we have developed a stakeholder management framework to improve consistency of approach across the divisions.
The relative materiality of our CR issues is assessed annually using an internally devised materiality method which meets best practice. We use this to assess materiality in terms of the current or potential significance of an issue both to FirstGroup and to our stakeholders. Assessment takes account of our current management control measures and the extent to which we meet stakeholder expectations. Our employees and customers, who represent the two most significant stakeholder groups, are reflected in the final outcome. Our main material issues have remained relatively consistent over the past two years although there is growing stakeholder interest in the areas of diversity, corporate governance and supply chain management.
Our main material issues are:
- service performance
- customer satisfaction
- employee engagement.
These are followed by:
- carbon reduction
- employee recognition and rewards.
We see our stakeholders as important business partners and their feedback helps shape our business strategy. Formal stakeholder feedback such as employee and customer surveys guides our action plans and programme development. In other cases, issues are addressed locally. Capturing local issues that may have broader significance for the Group is a challenge for us. We respond to stakeholders at both Group and local level and have a variety of mechanisms for doing this.
In line with previous years, selected data from our CR report and web content has been the subject of an assurance process by a third party.