February 18, 2020

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An Energy Company's Progress On Building Customer Trust: Centrica's CSR Head Reports

One of the key challenges facing the energy industry is the ‘energy trilemma’: affordability, energy supply and low carbon.


By Jeff Oatham, Head of Corporate Responsibility, Centrica

Today, we launched the 2012 update to our corporate responsibility (CR) performance.

Last year, we moved away from producing an all-encompassing ‘CR Report’ in favor of ‘CR reporting,’ which enables us to report our performance in a number of innovative ways that meet the varying interests of our different stakeholders.

We have been producing a dedicated CR report for almost a decade because it enables us to communicate our position on key issues and track our performance with openness and transparency. Our strong approach to reporting enables our stakeholders to understand our commitment to operating responsibly, which not only builds our reputation but also helps us earn trust as well as contribute to shareholder value.

With a footprint that reaches 20 million customers across the U.K. and North America, our corporate vision is to be the leading integrated energy company, with customers at our core. This means that we source, generate, process, store, trade, supply, service and save energy. And our corporate responsibility reporting reflects our vision.

Our CR reporting is delivered through the following tools and is drawn together in our online Reporting hub:

  • 2012 Performance Review reports on our most strategic and material issues like treating customers fairly, low carbon, energy supply, as well as people and safety
  • At a glance reviews provide short summaries of our key data and achievements
  • CR updates and blogs help us report our CR progress on a weekly or fortnightly basis
  • The Data center plots over 100 non-financial performance metrics in graphs and charts easy for pickup and analysis by our investment stakeholders.
  • The Chief Executive video shows Sam Laidlaw answering stakeholder questions on the CR impacts of the new corporate strategy
  • The Carbon map displays the relative size of our carbon emissions across our value chain helping to show where the greatest carbon impact exists
  • Understanding our business is an infographic that interactively outlines the impacts and challenges we seek to manage across our business
  • Responsibility web pages provide more background to key business issues facing our business and sector

Our CSR Ambition: To be the Most Trusted Energy Company

One of the key challenges facing the energy industry is the ‘energy trilemma’: affordability, energy Centrica sustainabilitysupply and low carbon. Being a responsible energy company is about balancing these often-conflicting demands, which in turn, help us earn our stakeholders' – customers, government, shareholders, and employees – trust.

We recognize that a challenging economic environment made balancing household budgets difficult in 2012. With energy usage a significant part of any household expense, we have continued to focus on helping customers better manage their energy use and reduce their fuel bills through products and services like smart meters and insulation.

For example, gas continues to heat more than 80 percent of U.K. homes and businesses at half the cost of electricity. So, we are looking to secure gas supplies for the years to come to help offer affordable energy to our customers. We are also actively working on increasing our offshore wind farms and applying our expertise in energy efficiency to help our customers reduce their energy consumption.

Indeed, the energy industry’s most significant carbon emissions arise from customer consumption, so engaging our customers and enabling them to better manage their energy use is key to building a low carbon future.

Materiality Matrix: Identifying Impact

To help us account for our impacts we also use a materiality matrix to prioritize key areas of focus. We do this by measuring the level of stakeholder concern on an issue combined with the potential that issue has to impact us as a business and our ability to influence the impact. Based on the matrix, we identified 14 issues – including human rights, customer vulnerability, sales practices and more. To learn more, please see page 45 of the Performance Review.

Centrica's materiality matrix

Finally, here are some key highlights:

  • Customer satisfaction levels increased for both Direct Energy and British Gas.
  • Products we installed in customer homes between 2010-2012 had an annual equivalent of taking around 450,000 cars off U.K. roads.
  • Our commitment to gas and power for the U.K. now totals more than £50 billion.
  • Employee engagement measured above median levels.
  • Our lost time injury frequency rate declined for the sixth consecutive year thanks to our on-going focus on strong leadership, training and awareness programs to strengthen a proactive safety culture.

For more, see our 2012 CR Performance Review.

We value your feedback and want to hear your views about our reporting and performance – leave a comment below or on our CR web pages, send us an email or tweet to us using #CentricaCR.

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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