Supporting local communities

Sustainability
It is important to us to support the local communities in which we operate through charitable donations and sponsorships.
During 2020 the Group contributed £10m1 to local, national and international charities and not-for-profit organisations through our community investment programmes. This includes charitable sponsorships, donations, employee fundraising and volunteering. In addition, £1.5m was directed to a charitable foundation supporting our US Employee Relief Fund to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 

2020 community investment by type

 

Our impact

We collaborate with organisations that can demonstrate a positive impact and encourage our employees to volunteer in support of their work. These include not-for-profit organisations and education providers.
 
In 2020 we aided organisations and initiatives in support of the COVID-19 response. We were able to react to the unfolding situation and apply our contributions where possible to the communities where we are based to enable greater social impact.
 
Our employees volunteered, fundraised and donated throughout the year, in support of our established and new emerging charity partners, alongside the donations and support provided by the Company. We worked with charity partners to expand the criteria of our funding where possible and provide greater flexibility to the charities whilst they navigated the challenging environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
We use the B4SI Framework methodology to define the value of our support and its impact on our community partners, in comparison with our peers and other organisations. Our reporting data is externally assured every year. All community investment-related expenditure and any associated employee fundraising is reported through an online system and validated by an external assurance provider.
 
As well as donations, sponsorship and employee fundraising, we develop and support structured education programmes and enable our employees to volunteer their skills and time. Volunteering remains an important part of our employees’ career journey and can be pursued as a personal development goal. We actively seek partnerships where our employees can be involved and show their support. In Saudi Arabia and the UK our education ambassadors have offered their time to encourage school-age children to pursue STEM subjects and careers. In the UK in 2020 we saw an increase in employees providing mentoring to SMEs and individuals seeking career support.
 
We have strong ties with armed forces charities across a number of our markets, and an important strand of our strategy is support for organisations that assist active service personnel, veterans and their families. In Australia we partner with Soldier On to support the health, wellbeing and employment of Australia’s returned service personnel and their families. In the UK we are supporting Team Invictus UK on their journey to the Invictus Games The Hague 2020 (subsequently postponed due to COVID-19), a partnership which has enabled a number of employees to be directly involved through volunteering. In the US we partner with The Mission Continues, which empowers veterans to continue their service in transformative ways within their communities and supports their transition to new careers that draw upon their military service.
 
Based on local practices, we apply matched funding within our established focus areas and offer volunteering opportunities, including virtual options, to encourage our employees to support our charitable partners and communities in alignment with our Global Community Investment Strategy and guidelines.
 
Our communications team also supports our community investment efforts by raising awareness and promoting projects and employee engagement in our communities.
 

Partnering on education in the supply chain

It is important to us that we work with our suppliers to deliver aspects of our sustainability agenda. A key area of focus is the development and education of the current and future workforce. In the UK, we encourage our suppliers to be involved with apprenticeship schemes and other career development programmes. We take a leadership role in the development of new apprenticeship standards crucial to employers and chair both the Aerospace & Airworthiness, and Maritime Defence Trailblazer Groups. These groups involve other employers and supply chain employers in our sector, both large and small, as well as professional engineering institutions, awarding organisations and the Civil Aviation Authority.
 

Our approach

Our approach, aligned to our Community Investment Policy, aims to build and nurture mutually beneficial relationships between our business, our people and local stakeholders. We partner with organisations on initiatives that have meaning and impact to our business and employees.
 
We have key criteria, where measurable impact can be demonstrated, and these are:
  • Armed forces – supporting active service personnel, veterans and their families;
  • Education and skills – inspiring young people to consider STEM subjects and careers; and
  • Local community – working to support the communities in which we operate.
 
Our community investment programme is governed by an overarching global strategy, and supported by market-level programmes. This approach allows markets to ensure their programme is relevant to their lines of business, charitable needs, culture and local communities, whilst being aligned to the overall Group approach.
 
Our policy does not allow payments to third-party fundraisers nor directly to individuals, and is focused on ensuring the charitable organisation receives funding directly.
 
To avoid the risk of conflicts of interest, any community investment activity is tested against the principle that it does not place, or does not appear to place, actual or potential customers, suppliers or government officials under any obligations.
 
We have a Global Community Investment Committee which governs our approach, and there is a robust process (through our Operational Framework) in place to approve requests for community investment spend. This Committee reports to the Executive Committee on all community investment activities, including employee fundraising activities.
 
Footnote:
1. Deloitte LLP has provided limited assurance on the total value of community investment programme donations. Please see the Deloitte LLP assurance statement on the right.
 
You can find more information on our Community Investment programme here.