are paying increasing attention to the ways in which social,
environmental and ethical issues are managed to both preserve
and grow shareholder value.
example, the Dow Jones sustainability indexes rank companies
for their success in managing those factors for competitive
advantage. During the 2003 financial year, BT was ranked
as the top telecommunications company in the Dow Jones
Sustainability Index for the second year running.
also won the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition
of our contribution to sustainable development.
further manifestation of investor interest is the Association
of British Insurers’ disclosure guidelines covering
social, environmental and ethical risks and opportunities.
top-level response to those guidelines is provided in
the section on Corporate
with further information provided here.
parts of this report cover business integrity, corporate
governance and employee issues, such as diversity and
health and safety. This section concentrates on CSR
(corporate social responsibility) governance, CSR risks,
digital inclusion, environment, community and business
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.
social responsibility governance
Board committee – the Community Support Committee –
oversees social investment expenditure and establishes
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.
internal committee, known as the Corporate Social Responsibility
Steering Group, oversees the implementation of our CSR
programme. This includes risk assessment, performance
management, public accountability, ISO14001 certification
– the international standard for environmental management
systems – and objective setting and control. The steering
group, which makes regular reports to the Board, is
chaired by a member of the Operating Committee.
2003 the steering group agreed an action plan to ensure
that BT’s CSR activities help deliver the BT strategy
and established a set of non-financial key performance
indicators to provide an overview of BT’s social and
environmental performance. The steering group also approved
an accompanying set of targets for the 2004 financial
takes quality very seriously and is fully accredited
ensure that CSR is embedded into BT’s commercial operations
we have commenced a series of CSR ‘‘health checks’’
of our main commercial initiatives.
health checks identify specific social, economic and
environmental impacts (both positive and negative) and
particular CSR risks and opportunities. A report is
then compiled, including recommended actions.
addition, social, ethical and environmental matters
have been incorporated into the directors’ induction
have important relationships with a wide range of different
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.
also employ a number of CSR experts who investigate
long-term societal trends, identify potential issues
that might affect the business and support BT’s commercial
our social and environmental report has been brought
into accordance with the 2002 Global Reporting Initiative
guidelines and received a commendation in the 2002 Association
of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Sustainability
environmental and ethical risks
we identify no social, environmental or ethical risks
that would have a material impact on our business.
we have identified the issue of supply chain working
conditions as posing a potential risk to our reputation.
In order to address this potential risk, we have introduced
our Sourcing with Human Dignity programme – a collaborative
undertaking seeking the active support of all our relevant
31 March 2003, 16 key suppliers (79% of those targeted)
had signed an agreement with BT giving their written
support concerning ethical trading.
the past two years, 16 initial on-site assessments and
seven re-visits have been undertaken in industry sectors
where we believe the risk of falling short of our Sourcing
with Human Dignity standard is at its highest.
certification to ISO14001 includes an environmental
risk assessment process and the bulk storage of diesel
fuel for use in back-up generators at telephone exchanges
has been identified as our only significant environmental
there are a small number of BT sites where ground remediation
is taking place, the cost is not material and so we
declare no material contingent environmental liability
in our financial statements. In order to minimise any
future liability in this area, we are undertaking an
£18 million programme to cover tank testing, enhanced
maintenance scheduling and remedial works.
digital divide is a key public policy issue and we are
working together with the UK Government and the voluntary
sector to find effective ways to use communications
technology to tackle social exclusion.
particular, we launched a digital inclusion campaign
to support the Government’s aim to give all citizens
online access within the next few years and demonstrate
how communications can help improve society.
key element of the campaign is the ‘‘Everybodyonline’’
programme, which has been established in partnership
with charity campaign group Citizens Online and is initially
focused in five deprived communities. The campaign aims
to increase access to communications technology in underprivileged
areas and to deepen the understanding of the causes
and effects of the digital divide and how they may be
our age and disability action team, we are committed
to providing older and disabled customers with access
to a full range of products and services.
people with hearing or speech impairments, our textphone
offers easy access to BT TextDirect —the service that
enables textphone users to dial direct to other text
or voice users. In addition, our mm215 Videophone has
improved communications for people who rely on non-verbal
communication, such as British Sign Language. Building
on the success of our Big Button phone, the range has
been extended to include an analogue cordless version
with a digital (DECT) version being planned.
continue to offer services to protect the telephone
lines of people who are vulnerable, free directory enquiries
for those unable to use the printed directory, as well
as billing, service and product information in a variety
of formats, such as Braille and large print.
are committed to increasing the accessibility of our
internet pages and currently offer an alternative text
version of the www.bt.com
homepage. Our age and disability website, www.bt.com/age_disability,
highlights features of products and services that may
be beneficial to older and disabled people and is continually
updated to ensure that it can be accessed by all customers,
regardless of ability.
the 2003 financial year we continued to focus on reducing
our environmental impacts. We invested £845,000 in our
energy conservation programme which, despite the roll-out
of broadband, enabled us to restrict our electricity
consumption to a 4% increase. A combined heat and power
supply contract provided 76% of our electricity needs,
saving 274,000 tonnes of global warming CO2
in the 2003 financial year, we recycled 24% of our total
89,878 tonnes of waste. We received £4.26 million income
from our recycling activities, offset against the £8.29
million we spent managing our waste contracts, recycling
our waste and sending waste to landfill. The cost of
sending our waste to landfill sites was £1.17 million.
However, during the year we succeeded in reducing the
amount of waste sent to landfill by 1.1%.
the 2003 financial year we reduced our operational fleet
by 9.4% to 33,979 vehicles – still one of the largest
in the UK – and reduced our fuel consumption by 11%.
commit a minimum of 0.5% of our UK pre-tax profits to
direct activities in support of society. This has ranged
from £10 million in 1987, peaking at £16 million in
2001 and was £8.2 million (including £1.2 million to
charities) in the 2003 financial year. BT operations
also provided a further £17.9 million in funding and
support in kind over the past financial year.
focus of our community programmes is on big issues where
better communication can make a real difference to society.
example, more than 8,300 schools and around two million
young people engagements with the BT Education Programme
– a drama-based campaign helping children to improve
their communication skills – have taken place. This
activity is supported by our volunteering programme
which, at 31 March 2003, had 4,000 registered volunteers
working with schools.
contribution to charitable causes uses a range of communications
tools, including our telephone network, for disaster
appeals and for telethons such as Comic Relief, Children
in Need and GMTV’s Get Up and Give. Through our support,
we enable the appeals to raise tens of millions of pounds
are working with ChildLine on a major new campaign to
help ensure that all young people can be heard. At the
heart of this campaign is our commitment to raise funds
to help ChildLine answer every one of the 4,000 children
who call them every day.
the second year of the BT Community Connections scheme
(ending in July 2003) BT will award 1,700 internet-ready
PCs to individuals and community groups.
addition, BT people gave £2 million directly to charities
during the 2003 financial year through Give as you Earn,
to which BT added a direct contribution of £1 million.
a detailed statistical analysis of customer opinion
data going back up to 80 months and based on tens of
thousands of interviews, we have been able to show that
a 1% improvement in the public’s perception of our CSR
activities results in a 0.1% increase in our retail
customer satisfaction figures.
is a critical correlation and shows how important it
is not only to protect our reputation through appropriate
risk management activities, but also to enhance it through
our community activities.
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
BT has to address social and environmental matters when
bidding for business. In the 2003 financial year, contracts
to the value of more than £300 million required us to
demonstrate expertise in managing these issues.