Whitbread Achieves Bronze Award in Business in the Community's 7th Corporate Responsibility Index

June 11, 2009 // Franchising.com // The results of the UK's leading voluntary benchmark of corporate responsibility were announced today. This year 141 businesses participated in Business in the Community's Corporate Responsibility Index, with seven companies achieving the new Platinum Plus level.

In the current climate it is more important than ever for businesses to acknowledge the impact they have on society and the environment and commit to tackling the issues, not just because they should, but because it's good for business.

In achieving a Bronze Award level, Whitbread, the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group, has demonstrated that we integrate and improve responsibility throughout our operations by providing a systematic approach to managing, measuring and reporting on business impacts in society and on the environment.

Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: "I congratulate Whitbread on achieving a Bronze Award in the 2008 Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index. At a time when trust and confidence in businesses is at an all time low, it is examples like this that will help to demonstrate that some businesses are taking the responsibility they have towards their people and the planet seriously and that it makes business sense.

"It is reassuring to see that climate change, skills development, supply chain management, board level reporting and workplace issues are top of the agenda for businesses. However, the results also show us that we still have a long way to go. If UK plc is to exit the recession fighting fit, then urgent actions need to be taken."

Louise Smalley, Group HR Director at Whitbread said: " We are delighted to be part of the BITC's Corporate Responsibility Index this year. As the only hotel and restaurant company to rank in the Index, we plan to build on our lead with further work across our hotels, restaurants and coffee shops putting Corporate Responsibility at the heart of how we do business."

Key findings from the 2008 Corporate Responsibility Index

  • 9 in 10 participant companies have had substantive discussion at board level about corporate responsibility issues.
  • Businesses cited that their biggest environmental issue was climate change. 62% reporting it as the key issue and all companies reporting it as an important issue.

But, overall performance on climate change has dropped since last year, 76% average scores compared to 79% in 2007. In particular, companies are finding sourcing renewable energy a significant challenge, 48% average score compared to 55% last year.

  • It was clear from the Index results that businesses are acknowledging that if they are to survive and thrive it is their people, and the workplaces that support, empower and nurture them, that will largely determine success or failure.
  • From the results of the CR Index 2008 and a parallel consultation with 1,500 companies, it is clear that 'talent' and 'skills development' (without prompting) are emerging as key issues more than ever.Companies are reporting a disconnect between the world of work and education and training, and a mismatch of expectation and aspiration.
  • This year, CR Index participants highlighted supply vulnerability as a key business risk.
  • The most improved sectors this year are law and construction.
  • This year, there was more movement than ever. 31 companies moved up a band or two, and 12 companies have improved by 10 points or more.
  • Overall, Business in the Community believes corporate responsibility is just good business. In order to test this assertion, in October 2008, supported by Legal & General, we commissioned Ipsos MORI to conduct statistical analysis of 33 companies who have participated in the Business in the Community CR Index each year 2002-2007 and are listed on the London Stock Exchange. As well as demonstrating a correlation with reduced share volatility, the most striking feature of the research showed that companies consistently participating in the CR Index outperformed their FTSE 350 peers on total shareholder return 2002- 2007 by between 3.2% and 7.7% per year.

Whitbread PLC

Whitbread PLC is the UK's largest hotel and restaurant group operating market-leading businesses in the budget hotels and restaurant sectors. Its well-loved brands are Premier Inn, Beefeater, Table Table, Brewers Fayre, Taybarns and Costa Coffee.

Whitbread PLC employs over 33,000 people and serves 9 million customers every month in its 1,800 outlets across the UK.

Whitbread PLC is a FTSE 250 company, listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is also a member of the FTSE4Good Index.

Business in the Community

We inspire, engage, support and challenge companies on responsible business, working through four areas: Marketplace, Workplace, Environment and Community.

With more than 850 companies in membership, we represent 1 in 5 of the UK private sector workforce and convene a network of global partners. Our members commit to continually improve the way they operate with a specific focus on the need to manage resources wisely - be that people or our planet.

Business in the Community is proud to have The Co-operative Financial Services as its Company of the Year 2008.

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