Centrica plc is a British multinational utility company headquartered in Windsor, United Kingdom. Its principal activities are the supply of electricity and gas to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom and North America. It is the largest supplier of gas to domestic customers in the UK, and one of the largest suppliers of electricity, operating under the trading names “Scottish Gas” in Scotland and “British Gas” in the rest of the UK. Centrica Energy also operates in Norway (gas exploration and production), Germany (trading) and Nigeria (gas exploration). Centrica has some back office functions located in India and South Africa.
Centrica’s corporate responsibility (CR) ambition is to be the most trusted energy company.
We believe that a principled approach, underpinning our business with values, wins the trust of our customers, regulators, investors and other stakeholders. It also helps us to attract and retain talented and committed employees.
We must understand the impact our activities have on society and the environment. We do this through engaging with our stakeholders and exploring how we can address their concerns. We also use these discussions to help us prioritise our most material issues, ensuring we focus our resources in the most important areas.
We can also benefit society and the environment, contributing to the long-term health and sustainability of both. We strive to do this in a way that creates opportunities and advantages for our business and shareholders.
An integrated business and CR strategy
The Centrica Group’s strategic vision is to be the leading integrated energy company in our chosen markets. Our CR strategy and vision directly supports the direction of the Group by seeking to gain sustainable business success through building trust with stakeholders.
The Corporate Responsibility Committee provides oversight and challenge on the CR strategy and its delivery. The Centrica Executive Committee and our business units are responsible for its implementation.
Our approach to CR is straightforward and integral to our strategic decision-making and business performance:
- We communicate our position on key issues and, through our business principles, are clear about the standards we expect of ourselves and those we work with.
- We consult our employees, customers, investors and wider stakeholder groups to understand the main social and environmental matters affecting our business.
- We identify and prioritise the risks we face and opportunities we have and develop distinctive strategies, commitments and targets.
- We manage CR with an impact areas-based approach to ensure our resources and engagements are focused on the most relevant issues and where we have the greatest impact.
- We communicate our performance with openness and transparency, so that our stakeholders understand the progress we’re making.
To be the most trusted energy company, we need to understand society’s expectations of us as a business. Stakeholder engagement is a key way of listening and responding to those expectations on environmental, social and ethical issues.
- We actively seek the engagement of key stakeholders who are or may be impacted by or have concerns about our activities to ensure that we are accountable.
- We commit to being accessible, open, honest and responsive, operating on a basis of mutual respect.
- We seek to understand the needs of our stakeholders and to take these into account in our decision-making.
Our approach to stakeholder engagement aims to:
- Understand stakeholder views
- Address current issues
- Source new ideas
- Identify opportunities
- Involve stakeholders in our activities
- Manage risks and impacts
- Provide early warning of future issues
- Demonstrate accountability
We manage our engagement with CR stakeholders primarily by issue. Relevant outputs are fed back to business unit management teams and incorporated into the risk management process. Issues and emerging issues are also discussed at Board and Executive Committee level, with the views of stakeholders included in the information reviewed.
A strong reputation for CR can help us win business advantage and contribute to shareholder value. Conversely perceived weakness in CR may damage our reputation and cause financial risks.
Our business is heavily impacted by regulation and wider energy policy. We need to share our expertise and experience with political and regulatory stakeholders to increase their understanding of our business and to shape the policy environment in which we operate.
- Climate change/carbon reduction
- Consumer protection
- Employee health and safety
- Energy efficiency measures and technology
- Energy pricing
- Energy security
- HSE compliance
- Market competition
- Social inclusion
What we want to know:
- Policy and regulatory frameworks across all areas impacting our business
- Market pace and level of regulatory intervention in the market
- Pricing and customer support obligations
- Broader understanding of the market and political environment and how it impacts on our strategy
- Perceptions and views of our business and approach.
Our aims: We operate in highly regulated markets around the world where public policy decisions can affect all aspects of our operations, including investment decisions, consumer protection and employment relations. We do not favour any one political party and work closely with political stakeholders to inform policy formation on important issues such as energy, environment, consumers and employment relations. Our engagement methods take various forms:
- Consultation responses
- Advocacy and position papers
- Direct engagements with Government and Regulator representatives.
– We seek open, transparent and deregulated energy markets.
– We support the Green Deal and mechanisms that promote low carbon technologies.
– We advocate electricity market reform to enable appropriate support for new low carbon generation.
– We are working with the UK government on the development of the mandatory social price support scheme.
– We engage with MPs and local governments on advice on energy issues, and for vulnerable and fuel poor, including an active membership of Fuel Poverty Action Group
– We are signatory to the UK Health and Safety Executive pledge.
– We are active in North America on consumer protection issues.
We are involved with a range of membership organisations, professional bodies and industry groups, to support our management of social, ethical and environmental matters.
- Corporate Responsibility Group
- Business in the Community
- Institute of Business Ethics
- Basic Services Network on Human Rights
- International Business Leaders Forum
- Sustainable Development Commission
- Confederation of British Industry
- Energy Retailers’ Association
- The Parliamentary Warm Homes Group
- Fuel Poverty Action Group (Scotland)
- Fuel Poverty Advisory Committee (Wales)
- Energy Action Scotland
- Social Action Plan Review Group
- Association of Energy Suppliers
- ISBA – The voice of British advertisers
- The Marketing Society
- CORGI – UK national watchdog for gas safety
- British Standards Institute
- Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents
- Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change
- All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group
- The Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group
- Energy Saving Trust
- Green Alliance
- The Renewable Energy Association
- The British Wind Energy Association
- UK Business Council for Sustainable Development
- The Micropower Council
- Oil and Gas UK
- UK Emissions Trading Group
- Institute of Personnel and Development
- The Health and Safety Executive
- Energy and Utility Skills Council
- Engineering Development Trust
- Learning and Skills Council
- Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA)
- Apprenticeship Ambassadors Network
- Women in Science and Engineering
- Institute of Electrical Engineers
- Engineering and Technology Board
- Engineering Council UK
- Employers’ Forum on Age
- Employers’ Forum on Disability
- Opportunity Now
- Race for Opportunity
- Working Families
- London Benchmarking Group
- Business in the Community
- The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply