Being a responsible business has always been a priority for us. We are passionate about improving the lives of our people, contributing in a positive way to the environment, engaging in the communities in which we live and work and ensuring strong governance for our business. Embedding ‘Lead with ESG’ as one of the actionable components of our Sunbelt 3.0 strategy has increased further our focus and brought about the incorporation of sustainability thinking into the culture of the organisation. It has also given fresh impetus to our initiatives and programmes.
How we prioritise sustainability
At Ashtead, we have always prioritised the safety of our people, customers and members of the communities we serve. We provide our customers with a reliable alternative to ownership, support the communities we serve across our store network, limit the environmental impact of our operations and ensure a strong governance framework. Our sustainability priorities are to operate in the most sustainable and responsible way in all areas of our business.
‘Lead with ESG’ is about engagement, action and results; embracing responsible sustainability and success for our people, our customers, our communities and our investors, while unlocking structural benefits ESG will bring through increased rental penetration. We have analysed the issues and impacts that are most important and material to our business and stakeholders in our defined areas of focus as set out in our sustainability wheel.
As part of our risk management process, we assess regularly the most material matters to the Group, including those related to sustainability, and assess their potential impact on our business and the generation of long-term value.
We have segmented our commitments into four key areas: our people; the environment; our communities; and governance.
- Our people: health and safety is fundamental to our culture and is at the forefront of everything we do, underpinned by the next phase of our Engage for Life programme, Engage for Life: Amplified. Retaining and attracting good people is key to delivering superior performance and customer service and progressing our culture. A skilled and committed workforce is fundamental to the Group’s long-term success and key to this is treating everyone fairly and with respect.
- The environment: rental is a prime example of the circular economy with significant benefits to the environment from rental versus ownership at all stages of the business life cycle, from supply chain and operations, to customer use and end of life of equipment. We prioritised our environmental commitment as part of Sunbelt 3.0 to drive performance and enhance transparency regarding our activities and achievements.
- Our communities: with our ever increasing scale, we are present in many local communities with the opportunity to be a force for good through community support, job creation and recruitment, charity support, volunteering and responding to emergencies.
- Governance: we are committed to the highest standards of governance with further details provided in this Responsible business report and the Corporate governance report.
UN sustainable development goals
The Group’s activities help advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We have identified the eight goals to which we believe we can make the most contribution through our focus on recruitment and training, focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the development of our products and management of our operations.
How we monitor our work
A robust approach to corporate governance is the foundation for delivering our strategy and ensuring our growth is both responsible and sustainable. The tone from the top, risk management and transparency are all elements that are essential to our business performance and its sustainability. We understand that identifying metrics in measuring our performance is important and have a number that we monitor, including health and safety incident rates, employee engagement, staff turnover and carbon intensity.
The Group’s Board of directors is responsible for monitoring the progress we make against our strategic sustainability objectives and the targets we have set. The Board is assisted in this function by the Group Risk Committee which is chaired by our chief financial officer. Further details are provided within our Annual Report.