We are passionate about our people, the environment and the communities in which we live and work, but responding to the COVID-19 pandemic has brought our innate sense of responsibility to the fore more than at any other time and how we have responded is a natural extension of how we do business every day.  We care deeply about making the best impact possible on all our stakeholders and we are proud of the impact we have had in helping our people, customers, suppliers and communities through this most difficult of times. 

In April 2021, we announced our new strategic plan, Sunbelt 3.0, and for the first time our ESG priorities are embedded in our strategy.  While these priorities have long been important components of how we work, we are ensuring that we are transparent about the targets we want to achieve.  Ultimately our ESG efforts enable us to deliver on our promises and expand the trust that makes our business tick; trust that the equipment we provide will arrive on time and do what we say it will; trust that it will be well maintained and compliant with all health and safety requirements; trust that we are endeavouring to source the most environmentally friendly equipment as we can; trust that everyone involved in the rental process has been treated fairly, kept safe and well-rewarded; trust that we are not just taking from the communities in which we find ourselves, but are giving back real social value that can be measured. 

Being a responsible business 

Our goal is for our responsible business plan to be transparent, challenging and beneficial to everyone we interact with. 

We have analysed our commitments into four key areas: the environment; our communities; our people; and governance. 

Following an analysis of what is material to the business in each of these areas, we have then divided each area into individual segments which focus on the specific commitments we are making as detailed in the graphic shown, with further detail provided within our annual report. 

Sustainability wheel and focus areas

The world is changing and the impact of technological advancements, climate change and unprecedented events such as the COVID-19 pandemic require ever greater attention and action.  As part of Sunbelt 3.0, we are reinforcing ESG at the heart of how we operate, while unlocking the structural benefits ESG will bring to rental.  

The rental industry is hugely beneficial for the environment as it leads to the most efficient use of equipment and the manufacture of fewer assets.  Significant carbon emissions and consumption of earth’s natural resources take place during the manufacture of a piece of equipment.  At the end of its life, that equipment requires disposal.  Fewer, better designed pieces of equipment utilised as part of a sharing economy are better for our planet. 

In embedding our ESG priorities into our new strategic plan, we recognise the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as well as the priorities of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  We are committed to meeting the TCFD recommendations in full by 2022. 

Our commitment to ESG is clear and we intend to expand further on the areas detailed in this Responsible business report within our first sustainability report, which will be published by April 2022.  Here we will map the Group’s activities and metrics to existing reporting frameworks such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) and Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards, in addition to setting out our road map to science-based targets. 

UN sustainable development goals 

As we look to formalise our ESG objectives, we are also cognizant of the ways the Group can help advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In doing so, we have identified the eight goals which we believe we can make the most contribution to through our focus on recruitment and training, focus on diversity and inclusion, the development of our products and management of our operations.

How we monitor our work 

The Group’s board of directors is responsible for monitoring the progress we make against our strategic ESG objectives and the targets we have set.  The Board is assisted in this function by the Group Risk Committee which is chaired by Michael Pratt, our chief financial officer.   

Included on the Group Risk Committee is the Group’s managing director of ESG, a new role for the Group and one which demonstrates the increased profile of our ESG priorities going forward.  Further details are provided within our Annual Report.