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Our commitment to society

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)
Managing social, ethical and environmental issues in a way that grows shareholder value and helps BT and our customers to be more sustainable is a key challenge for us.
     The Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes rank companies for their success in managing social, ethical and environmental factors for competitive advantage. During the 2005 financial year, BT was ranked as the top telecommunications company in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fourth year in a row.
     We also hold the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of our contribution to sustainable development.
     This section of the report, together with the broad statement on social, environmental and ethical matters included in the section on Corporate governance, provides information in response to the Association of British Insurers’ disclosure guidelines on social responsibility.
     More detailed disclosures on BT’s implementation of social, ethical and environmental policies and procedures are available online in our independently-verified social and environmental report, which has been prepared in accordance with the 2002 Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) sustainability reporting guidelines.

CSR governance
The Board reviews our CSR strategy and performance annually and is kept informed of our main CSR risks and opportunities as well as new developments that may impact on its duties.
     A Board committee – the Community Support Committee – oversees community, charitable and arts expenditure and the strategy for maximising our contribution to society. The committee, chaired by Sir Christopher Bland, consists of representatives from BT businesses, two non-executive directors and two external independent members, who have a reputation for excellence in this field.
     An executive committee, the Corporate Social Responsibility Steering Group (CSRSG), oversees the implementation of our CSR strategy and programme. This includes risk assessment, target and objective setting, ISO 14001 certification – the international standard for environmental management systems – and public accountability.
     The CSRSG consists of CSR champions nominated by the lines of business and seven support functions (human resources, corporate governance, health and safety, group property, communications, internal audit and procurement).
     The CSRSG is chaired by BT’s CSR champion, Alison Ritchie, Chief Broadband Officer and a member of the Operating Committee. It is supported by advice from an independent panel of CSR experts.
     Embedding CSR into BT’s commercial operations is an important part of our CSR strategy, and a key part of our work in the 2005 financial year has been extending our CSR activity into our global operations. We have carried out a number of ‘health checks’ in our commercial operations to identify specific social, economic and environmental impacts (positive and negative) and particular CSR risks and opportunities. A report is then compiled which includes recommended actions.
     We have important relationships with a wide range of stakeholders, including employees, customers and suppliers. We engage with these stakeholders in a number of ways, including consumer liaison panels, an annual employee survey and a supplier relationship management programme.
     Our CSR team co-ordinates and monitors CSR performance, identifies potential issues and opportunities that might affect the business, and supports BT’s commercial activities.
     As part of our CSR performance measurement, we have 12 non-financial KPIs (key performance indicators) which provide a comprehensive overview of BT’s social and environmental performance. Our performance against these is published in our annual Social and Environmental report.

Social, environmental and ethical risks
During the 2005 financial year, we further increased our understanding of our CSR risks. Privacy has been identified as an additional risk and we have developed a set of privacy principles for the business and commissioned research on the topic of privacy in the digital networked economy.
     In the context of CSR, our most significant risks are:
Blue bullet point
supply chain working conditions;
Blue bullet point
health and safety;
Blue bullet point
climate change;
Blue bullet point
diversity;
Blue bullet point
offshoring or the ‘geography of jobs’;
Blue bullet point
breach of the code of business ethics; and
Blue bullet point
privacy.
     Each of these risks has a risk owner and mitigation strategy in place (more detail on these can be found in our online social and environmental report).

CSR business opportunities
There is a direct link between our CSR activity, corporate reputation and customer satisfaction. A detailed analysis in 2001 of customer opinion data based on tens of thousands of interviews showed that a 1% improvement in the public’s perception of our CSR activities resulted in a 0.1% increase in our retail customer satisfaction figures.
     This underlines how important it is not only to protect our reputation through appropriate risk management activities, but also to enhance it through our community activities.
     Long-term sustainability trends are creating market opportunities for us, such as the use of teleconferencing and flexible working to reduce the need to travel and provide more flexible lifestyles.
     Increasingly, BT has to address social and environmental matters when bidding for business. In the 2005 financial year, bids to the value of £2.2 billion required us to demonstrate expertise in managing these issues.

Environment
During the 2005 financial year, we retained ISO 14001 accreditation for our UK operations and BT Spain and extended it to BT Ireland.
     BT is one of the largest consumers of industrial and commercial electricity in the UK, and the growth of broadband has, as expected, increased our electricity use. In the 2005 financial year, our usage increased by 3.1%. However, we also signed the world’s largest green energy contract which means that almost all of BT’s UK electricity needs will be met from environmentally-friendly sources, including wind generation, solar, wave and hydroelectric schemes. In CO2 emissions savings, this equates to 325,000 tonnes each year, equivalent to that produced by approximately 100,000 cars.

 
CO2 emissions
 
      2005     2004     2003     2002  

 
Total (UK only; million tonnes)
    0.76     0.92     0.96     1.03  
% below 1996
    53%     42%     40%     36%  
Tonnes per £1m turnover
    41     50     51     56  

 

During the 2005 financial year, we received an income of £3 million from our recycling activities, offset against the £7 million we spent managing our waste contracts, recycling our waste and sending waste to landfill.

Waste
 
      2005     2004     2003     2002  

 
Total waste (tonnes)
    110,622     107,303     117,688     114,999  
Total waste recycled (tonnes)
    37,421     27,626     27,809     24,099  
% Recycled
    34%     26%     24%     21%  

 

During the 2005 financial year, we reduced our commercial fleet – still one of the largest in the UK – by 2% and our fuel consumption by 3.5%.

Transport
 
      2005     2004     2003     2002  

 
Number of vehicles
(UK only)
    31,969     32,663     33,979     37,509  
Fuel consumption
(million litres)
    51.97     53.85     56.12     62.76  

 

Digital inclusion
Digital inclusion is a key public policy issue and we are working with the UK Government and the voluntary sector to find effective ways to use communications technology to tackle social exclusion. On 12 October 2004, BT was involved, as a founder member, in the launch of the Alliance for Digital Inclusion.
     Our involvement in the EverybodyOnline programme, established in partnership with charity campaign group Citizens Online, continues to be a key part of our digital inclusion campaign. The campaign aims to increase skills and access to communications technology in deprived communities and to increase the understanding of the causes and effects of the digital divide and how they can be addressed at a national level.

Community
We commit a minimum of 0.5% of our UK pre-tax profits directly to activities which support society. This has ranged from £10 million in 1987, peaking at £16 million in 2001 and we provided £9.1 million in the 2005 financial year. BT operations also provided a further £11.7 million in funding and support in kind over the past financial year. In the 2005 financial year, BT made charitable donations of £2 million.
     The focus of our community programmes is on big issues where better communication can make a real difference to society. For example, more than 10,500 schools and over two million young people have taken part in the BT Education Programme – a drama-based campaign helping children to improve their communication skills. This activity is supported by our volunteering programme which has several thousand registered volunteers working with schools.
     ChildLine, a UK charity, answers 2,300 calls every day but many hundreds more go unanswered. We are working with ChildLine on a campaign to ensure that every child’s call for help is answered.
     In addition, BT people gave £2 million directly to charities during the 2005 financial year through Give as you Earn, to which BT added a direct contribution of £1 million.

Tsunami response
BT played a role in the response to the Asian tsunami of 26 December 2004. We set up a live call centre at the BT Tower to handle the unprecedented number of calls the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) was experiencing and also ran the online donation facility. Individual employees and the lines of business were also involved in fundraising efforts. Sixteen BT engineers travelled to the affected area to help re-establish the telecommunications infrastructure. We made an immediate £500,000 donation.

Disability services
Our Age and Disability Action team promotes equal access to a wide range of products and services. We work directly with older and disabled people and their representatives to raise awareness of BT’s inclusive approach and are continuing to develop our processes to ensure that new products and services are accessible to disabled people.
     For people with hearing or speech impairments, for example, our textphone offers easy access to BT TextDirect – the service that enables users to dial direct to other text or voice users. Customers with visual or mobility impairments benefit from products with large, clear keypads and cordless or hands-free options. During the 2005 financial year, we also launched Relate 3000, an inclusively designed phone and our new BT Text service, which includes a speaking SMS facility.
 

 

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