The Group recognises its corporate responsibilities towards its Shareholders, employees, customers and suppliers and is committed to socially responsible business practice. In 2014 SIG continued to integrate Corporate Responsibility ("CR") across the Group, taking forward the key aspects of the CR plan.

FTSE four good logo

The Group implements policies that include consideration of social and environmental issues in its decision-making process, and is investing in the development and wellbeing of its people and communities. SIG believes this approach supports the Group in achieving its business goals as well as growing shareholder value. As a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index of socially responsible companies, SIG is pleased to inform stakeholders of the measures it is taking to continually develop its approach to CR, including how it monitors and improves performance reporting.

Business Principles and Code of Ethics

SIG has in place Group-wide Ethics, Anti-Bribery & Corruption and Ethical Trading & Human Rights policies. These policies, which are regularly reviewed, underpin the Group's CR programme and support its business integrity.

Ethics Policy

SIG issues to all employees a Group-wide Ethics Policy which sets out the standards and behaviours that are expected throughout the Group's operations. The policy is designed to ensure that the business conforms to the highest ethical standards. The policy can be viewed on the Company's website (www.sigplc.com).

The policy sets out the following key principles:

  • to abide by the laws applicable to each country of operation;
  • not to tolerate any kind of discrimination or harassment;
  • to be a responsible partner within local communities;
  • to take into account the legal and moral rights of others in business transactions;
  • to maintain a safe and healthy working environment;
  • to be proactive in managing responsibilities to the environment;
  • not to knowingly make misrepresentations;
  • not to make political donations;
  • no bribes will be given or received;
  • conflicts of interest must be avoided and in all cases must be reported; and
  • employees are encouraged to report any suspected wrongdoing.

A confidential and independent hotline service is available to all employees so that they can raise any concerns they have about how the Group conducts its business. SIG believes this is an important resource which supports a culture of openness throughout the Group. The service is provided by an independent third party, with a full investigation being carried out on all matters raised and a report prepared for feedback to the concerned party.

Ethical Trading & Human Rights Policy

The Ethical Trading & Human Rights Policy covers the main issues that may be encountered in relation to product sourcing and sets out the standards of professionalism and integrity which should be maintained by employees in all Group operations worldwide.

The policy expresses the standards concerning: safe and fair working conditions for employees; responsible management of social and environmental issues within the Group; and the international supply chain.

SIG promotes human rights through its employment policies and practices, through its supply chain and through the responsible use of its products and services.

There is no separate policy in place which deals specifically with human rights; however, SIG will keep under review the need for a specific human rights policy over and above its existing policies.

Anti-Bribery & Corruption Policy

SIG has a number of fundamental principles and values that it believes are the foundation of sound and fair business practice, one of which is a zero tolerance position on bribery and corruption. The Group's Anti-Bribery & Corruption Policy clearly sets out the ethical values required to ensure compliance with legal requirements within countries in which SIG and its subsidiary companies operate.

Anti-bribery and corruption training is provided across the Group to all senior management through to branch managers and external salespeople. This training is provided via an online training resource, and since 2012 has also included modules on competition law.

SIG values its reputation for ethical behaviour, financial probity and reliability. It recognises that over and above the commission of any crime, any involvement in bribery will also reflect adversely on its image and reputation. Its aim therefore is to limit its exposure to bribery and corruption by:

  • setting out a clear policy on anti-bribery and corruption;
  • training all employees so that they can recognise and avoid the use of bribery by themselves and others;
  • encouraging employees to be vigilant and to report any suspicion of bribery, providing them with suitable channels of communication and ensuring sensitive information is treated appropriately;
  • rigorously investigating instances of alleged bribery and assisting the police and other appropriate authorities in any resultant prosecution; and
  • taking firm and vigorous action against any individual(s) involved in bribery or corruption.

A copy of the Anti-Bribery & Corruption Policy is available to view on the Company's website (www.sigplc.com).

Environment

Environmental Management

ECPI logo

SIG operates an integrated Health, Safety and Environmental ("HS&E") management system. The Board Director responsible for its implementation is the Chief Executive, who is the signatory on the Group's HS&E Policy which is displayed at each location throughout the Group in the local language.

SIG's UK operations are certified by the international environment standard ISO 14001. An ongoing programme is in place for new businesses acquired in 2014 to gain certification in 2015. The principles of this standard form the basis of the approach to environmental matters across the Group.

SIG uses the Environmental Aspects and Impacts Register and the Corporate Environmental Risk Assessment to record and assess the principal environmental hazards within the Group. These evaluations were part of the 2014 Management Review process for each business. The Group has continued its excellent record of legal compliance and environmentally sound operations throughout 2014 with no prosecutions or actions from the relevant authorities.

The main focus of the Group's environmental objectives for 2015 relates to the aims of the business' Low Carbon Policy to reduce fuel, energy and water consumption and to reduce waste. The progress that SIG has made in this area in 2014 is covered later in this report.

Carbon Management

Carbon trust logo

The Chief Executive remains the person responsible for the Group's environmental performance and is the signatory for the Low Carbon Policy.

As a founder member of the Association for the Conservation of Energy ("ACE") with a clear set of objectives for carbon reduction, SIG's management of its carbon footprint has produced strong results.

A key driver to the programme was the achievement of the Carbon Trust Standard ("CTS") in 2009, leading to the inclusion of SIG in the top 2% of the latest CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme ("CRC") league table, and an overall reduction to date in Scope 1 and 2 emissions of 14.1% since the base year of 2010. Due to its significant achievements, SIG will retain the CTS until the end of 2015, having been recertified in 2014. SIG also discloses its carbon footprint and emissions in this report and through the Carbon Disclosure Project ("CDP").

SIG no longer falls within the scope of CRC and therefore has not registered for Phase Two of the scheme. Taking this into account, and the introduction of the Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme ("ESOS"), SIG has partnered with Carbon Credentials Limited to work towards full compliance with the internationally recognised verification standard ISO14064-3. In the first year, SIG has achieved 'limited verification' and has a clear plan to work towards full verification for the 2014/15 Carbon Footprint.

Adoption of the standard will provide the Group with a renewed framework for its energy reduction programme. Achievement of this standard will also support SIG's CDP rating.

Road risk policy

Road risk

SIG recognises that driving is among the most hazardous tasks performed by its employees and that its vehicles and drivers represent SIG and its values whilst they are on the road. The Group also recognises the potential impact that driving has on the local and global environment. Because of this SIG has worked hard to drive the Occupational Road Risk Policy across the Group, with strong local focus on key elements.

This process resulted in SIG being 'Highly Commended' in the Company Driver Safety Award section at the Brake Fleet Safety Awards in 2014.

Occupational Road Risk is a key element of the accident review process across the Group, with Accident Review Panels ("ARPs") meeting regularly throughout the year in each country. In the UK this is carried out in partnership with the Group's insurers and brokers. The purpose of the ARPs is to reduce the risk of accidents and minimise the cost to the business. This is achieved by: raising awareness across the Group of the outcomes of accidents; targeting improvements in the speed of reporting; improving the quality of investigations to identify the causes of specific accidents or trends; and recommending action and further training where appropriate.

The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme ("FORS") is an "over-arching scheme that encompasses all aspects of safety, fuel efficiency, economical operations and vehicle emissions". FORS is a voluntary scheme for commercial vehicle operators, which is designed to help improve operators' performance in each of these areas. SIG has adopted the scheme across its UK businesses. In 2014, its first year under FORS, SIG was awarded Silver status nationwide for all sites operating commercial vehicles.

Work continued in 2014 to minimise the risk to vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians. SIG are active champions of the Construction Logistics Cyclist Safety ("CLOCS") group. SIG also initiated an "Exchanging Places" campaign in which a commercial vehicle and staff exhibited at various cycle events and invited cyclists and other members of the public to sit in the vehicle to gain an understanding of the driver's field of vision. This culminated in SIG providing the safety experience at the Tour de France on its visit to Sheffield.

Continuing this work on safety with vulnerable road users in mind, SIG has designed a new Urban Delivery Vehicle with features designed to greatly enhance the driver's primary vision of critical areas of the vehicle and to reduce blind spots. The vehicle was launched at the CLOCS progress event in February 2015 and is believed to be the first of its kind in our sector.

Through these key interventions there has been an 11% reduction in at-fault accidents in the UK against the base year of 2011, with a reduction in at-fault accident costs of 17% for the same period. The time taken to report an accident has reduced from an average of 8.5 days in 2011 to an average of 1.5 days in 2014 and this has greatly contributed to the reduction in insurance costs.

Transport

More than 75% of the Group's total carbon footprint emissions come from road vehicle fuel consumption. An absolute reduction in this Scope 1 emission has been a key target for SIG and there has been a year-on-year reduction in each of the past four years, culminating in an overall reduction of 12.8% in 2014 compared to the base year of 2010. This has been achieved largely through greater efficiency in journey planning and the replacement of older vehicles with new and low emission vehicles fitted with energy reducing features.

The absolute consumption of vehicle fuel will become increasingly significant in view of SIG's growth plans. The key thrust of the Low Carbon Fleet programme in 2015 will again be to target improved efficiency of road vehicles and more efficient driving behaviours designed to achieve improved kilometre per litre ratios.

The Group continues to roll out training for drivers. SIG Poland's safety and EKO efficiency training for commercial vehicle drivers in 2014 is being followed up with training for the business' 140 car drivers to be delivered in the first quarter of 2015. The Driver Certificate of Professional Competence ("CPC") training programme in the UK and Ireland will be replicated across the Mainland European businesses in accordance with EU legislation.

The Group maintains its policy to purchase commercial vehicles to the latest Euro standard, and low emission vehicles to facilitate deliveries into 'Low Emission Zones' across Europe.

Driver of the year

Jed Hazelden receives Driver of the Year award for the second year running. Pictured above with Scott Gerry, UK Logistics Director and Philip Johns, Managing Director SIG UK Exteriors.

In 2014, SIG installed telematics equipment in all commercial vehicles in the UK and Ireland. This programme will be fully operational in France, Germany and Poland by the end of 2015 as it continues to be extended across the Group. Telematics helps SIG to accurately measure mileage and improve the efficiency of vehicle routing and fuel consumption.

For the fourth year running, SIG held its Driver of the Year competition recognising the best drivers from the UK branches. The competition set driving tasks that allowed the competitors to prove their skills, including fuel efficiency, wet handling, wet braking and vehicle defect checks. Qualification to enter the final was based on a year's worth of safe and efficient driving practice and other safety-related data. The winner for the second year running was Jed Hazelden of SIG Roofing in Huddersfield.

Energy

Emissions from electricity consumption account for 14.8% of the Group's Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Through energy audits carried out in partnership with the Carbon Trust and raising employee awareness with the 'Switch Off' campaign the Group has achieved an absolute reduction of 4.8% in 2014.

The programme for capital projects, which commenced in 2012, has continued with a capital investment of almost £700,000 providing annual savings of more than one million kWh of electricity, 650 tonnes of CO2 emissions and with a payback period of less than four years. The principal savings have been achieved by replacing inefficient lighting with low energy systems fitted with both daylight and movement sensors, installing energy efficient hand dryers and replacing tea kettles with water heaters. In 2014 SIG trialled heat recovery systems providing domestic hot water at a Southampton site, whilst a heating control system is also being trialled at SIG's GRM workshop in Manchester.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

SIG reports on all of the emission sources required under the Large and Medium-Sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 as amended in August 2013. The Group has used the Greenhouse Gas ("GHG") Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (revised edition) data, gathered to fulfil the requirements under the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme, and emission factors from the UK Government's GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting 2014 to calculate the Group's GHG disclosures. These include Scope 1 CO2 emissions, for which businesses are directly responsible, and Scope 2 CO2 emissions, which are indirect emissions from the generation of electricity. SIG has also disclosed Scope 3 CO2 emissions over which the business has limited control, being third-party air and rail transportation, which fall outside of the scope of the GHG Protocol.

In collecting this data, SIG has used a period non-coterminous with the Group's financial year, with current year data reflecting the year to 30 September 2014. This is because much of the data is captured via utilities bills, which tend to be quarterly. A September period end for carbon reporting therefore allows for actual data to be used as opposed to estimates; in 2014, 79.5% of calculations are based on actual data. Estimates are prepared on the basis of applying equivalent emission rates to the remainder of the Group's footprint.

The comparatives prior to 2013 are also twelve month periods, but are based on calendar years. However the method of collecting data on CO2 emissions has not changed year-on-year; therefore the prior year numbers have been included within this report as the Group feels that they provide meaningful comparison. The method of collection for each component of CO2 emissions has been disclosed in the footnotes to each table.

In 2014 the processes and procedures used in the UK have been audited and assessed by the Carbon Trust, resulting in recertification to the Carbon Standard. Following a full internal audit of the processes in the first quarter of 2014, in accordance with the Group's policy of continuous improvement, further opportunities for improvement in the quality of recorded data were identified.

As a result, the Group's carbon footprint for the year ended 30 September 2014 has been externally audited to ISO14064-3 at a level of limited assurance. This process has highlighted the continuous improvement in systems and procedures related to carbon management and reporting along with identifying areas where further improvements can be made.

Switch off lights logo

The ESOS is the UK Government's proposed approach to implementing Article 8 of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive (2012/27/EU). SIG has put in place plans to ensure compliance by the due date in December 2015.

The Group achieved an absolute reduction of 4.9% in Scope 1 and 2 emissions combined year-on-year, with an overall reduction of 14.1% compared to the base year (2010).

The overall footprint of the business for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions improved with a reduction of 4.8% year-on-year. The figures represent an overall reduction of 0.9% in emissions per £m of revenue in 2014 compared to 2013 as a result of the measures taken to reduce road vehicle fuel and energy consumption.

CO2 emissions – Scope 1 – Direct

Metric
tonnes
2014
Metric
tonnes
2013
Metric
tonnes
2012
Road vehicle fuel emissions165,68668,56072,223
Plant vehicle fuel emissions24,9934,9345,369
Natural gas32,4523,3722,999
Coal/coke for heating4555270
Heating Fuels (Kerosene & LPG)58321,313943
Total74,01878,23181,604

Data source and collection methods

  1. Fuel cards and direct purchase records in litres converted according to Defra guidelines.
  2. Direct purchase records in litres converted according to Defra guidelines.
  3. Consumption in kWh converted according to Defra guidelines.
  4. Purchases in tonnes converted according to Defra guidelines.
  5. Purchases in litres converted according to Defra guidelines.

CO2 emissions – Scope 2 – Indirect

Metric
tonnes
2014
Metric
tonnes
2013
Metric
tonnes
2012
Electricity112,87013,14214,346

Data source and collection methods

  1. Consumption in kWh converted according to Defra guidelines.

CO2 emissions – Scope 3 – Other indirect

Metric
tonnes
2014
Metric
tonnes
2013
Metric
tonnes
2012
Third-party provided transport (air and rail)1405308349

Data source and collection methods

  1. Distance travelled converted according to Defra guidelines.
Emission per £m of revenueMetric
tonnes
2014
Metric
tonnes
2013
Metric
tonnes
2012
Scope 128.028.831.2
Scope 24.94.85.5
Scopes 1 & 2 as required by GHG Protocol32.933.636.7
Scope 30.20.10.2
Scopes 1, 2 & 333.133.736.9

The data relating to CO2 emissions has been collected from all of the Group's material operations and is based on a combination of actual and estimated results where actual data is not available. The data excludes the impact of businesses divested during 2014.

Water Consumption

The Group uses an estimated 99% of its water consumption for welfare purposes, with very little being used for commercial purposes. However SIG recognises that potable water is a precious resource and continues to maintain water recycling and reuse for the processes in Southport (UK) and Alizay (France).

In partnership with Waterscan in the UK, SIG has identified significant opportunities for water consumption efficiencies including: improved automatic cistern controls; identification and repair of leaks; and improved billing processes. Many of these opportunities have already been acted upon. The number of Group companies reporting their water consumption continues to improve with only three ATC businesses not submitting data.

Litres
('000)
2014
Litres
('000)
2013
Litres
('000)
2012
Third party provided water supply from national network for processes and welfare106,546107,604108,201

The above data is based on a combination of actual and estimated data.

Waste Management

Diverting waste from landfill remains a key target for SIG. Recycling and reduction systems in place include:

Recofloor awards

Carpet & Flooring, part of SIG UK, picked up several commendations at the annual Recofloor Awards held in March 2014.

The awards are held each year to recognise the companies that have contributed the most to the Recofloor scheme – a recycling initiative founded and funded by flooring manufacturers Altro and Polyflor that works with the flooring supply chain to recycle vinyl flooring products and divert waste from landfill.

Two of Carpet & Flooring's regional centres picked up honours at the event. Carpet & Flooring Manchester took home the Greatest Improver accolade and received a Gold certificate for the number of recycling collections made under the scheme, while Carpet & Flooring Camberley was Highly Commended in the Distributor of the Year category. Camberley was also awarded a Silver certificate in honour of the number of collections made.

  • paperless delivery processes;
  • online activity reports;
  • waste segregation bins and balers where appropriate;
  • dedicated facilities for plasterboard and plaster products, uPVC windows, fibre ceiling tiles and vinyl floor covering material;
  • use of second-hand packaging, the re-use of opened packaging and the operation of returns schemes for items like pallets and bearers;
  • compliance with Producer Responsibility Obligations ("PRO") under the waste management legislation and packaging waste regulations;
  • partnership with suppliers and manufacturers to support PRO compliance;
  • member of Valpak compliance scheme;
  • HS&E inspections include waste management; and
  • customer waste recycling schemes.

Given the inherently difficult nature of measuring waste, SIG ensures wherever possible that the data is accurate by working with its waste management recycling providers in order to provide its best estimates. In 2014 there was a change in waste management provider and data collection methods in the UK. The new provider estimates that 55% of SIG waste was diverted from landfill in 2014, while the previous provider estimated 79% in 2013.

SIG continues to strive to reduce waste which is sent to landfill with the expansion of the waste segregation and compacting process to LiTT of SIG France. A trial at three LiTT branches in 2014 provided a 40% cost saving and the facility will be rolled out to the rest of the business in 2015. In addition following the rebranding of SIG Poland's vehicles, the resultant waste livery has been provided to a tarpaulin recycling company to be turned into accessories such as handbags, backpacks and wallets. Carpet & Flooring also won awards at the annual Recofloor scheme which celebrates businesses' ability to divert waste from landfill.

Hazardous waste

Absolute
tonnes*
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Absolute
tonnes
2012
Landfill601321
Recycled41139279
Incinerated6572
Total101217372
Absolute
tonnes*
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Absolute
tonnes
2012
Hazardous waste per £m of revenue0.040.080.14

Non-hazardous waste

Absolute
tonnes*
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Absolute
tonnes
2012
Landfill5,6264,2838,743
Incinerated1212
Total5,6384,2958,743

Other waste diverted from landfill

Absolute
tonnes*
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Absolute
tonnes
2012
WEEE (Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment)853
Glass333
Wood9041,3242,058
Metal1,0989771,234
Plasterboard2,5021,258390
Paper/cardboard5881,0241,165
Plastic383440762
Other6,57310,8608,250
Total12,05915,89113,865
Absolute
tonnes*
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Absolute
tonnes
2012
Non-hazardous and other waste per £m of revenue6.77.48.7

* Volume per annum converted to tonnes.

The above data is based on a combination of actual and estimated data.

Health, safety and environment

In recent years, the Group's 'Focus on Accidents' programme has proved to be a great success in driving accountability of line management for health and safety performance across the Group.

In 2014 the next phase of this programme, branded 'Zero Harm', was endorsed by the Group Board and the Executive Committee. This was launched by the Chief Executive, the Board member responsible for health and safety, at the Senior Leadership Conference in February.

Zero harm logo

The rebranding of the programme provided new vigour and a positive message to reflect the refreshed corporate image of the business in line with the Group's 'Stronger Together' vision. The key message from the Chief Executive was that the aim of the programme is "for the health, safety and wellbeing of employees and others to be the primary consideration for management at all levels in the development, growth and day-to-day operation of the business, products and services".

Health and safety charter

This aspiration is to be achieved by building on the success of the 'New Focus' programme which moves away from a compliance based programme and drives a renewed ownership of the health and safety agenda into line management. The initial thrust of this high profile programme in the first quarter of the year was a global communication exercise to cascade the aims and objectives of the programme throughout each Group business. These key messages were delivered by the Chief Executive and line management supported by the Group's dedicated HS&E personnel.

A major retraining programme commenced to coincide with the launch of the RoSPA accredited SIG Certificate in Health, Safety and Environmental Management delivered by the internal training provider, with senior management across the Group attending refresher courses in the IOSH Directing Safely and Managing Safely (or equivalent).

Safety walks

The 'Safety Walks' programme was launched at the start of 2014. This requires senior management to carry out health and safety inspections of branches using a checklist and guidance booklet. This has been a resounding success, resulting in engagement between senior managers, branch management and the workforce. This programme will be continued in 2015 with a revised inspection guide to target key areas: traffic management; loading and unloading; and storage operations.

The Group's health and safety management system is modelled on the International Health and Safety Standard BS-OHSAS 18001:2007 to which the SIG UK businesses are certified and externally audited by Intertek. The programme is managed and supported by the Group HS&E Manager and a team of directly employed HS&E professionals in each part of the Group.

Employing dedicated HS&E professionals enables the implementation of a robust Risk Assessment and Management Review process through which the key health and safety risks have been identified. The key target areas for the Group's Health and Safety Plan in 2015 are: occupational road risk; traffic management; loading and unloading; and storage operations.

Manufacturing sites make up less than 5% of the Group's businesses; however, SIG recognises the potential for serious harm and a Health and Safety Manager for Manufacturing was recruited in 2014 to develop a set of business specific arrangements and harmonise the Risk Assessment and Safe Operating Procedures.

In 2014 there was a significant shift in the ownership of the Health and Safety agenda from the HS&E Team to the Managing Directors of operating companies across the Group. This was evidenced by the Managing Directors leading discussions at the operating company Board Meetings, the demand for additional reports and dashboards for Senior Management meetings, the integration of the 'Zero Harm' programme into the businesses' remuneration schemes, the inclusion of health and safety related objectives into the Performance Development Review programme, and the incorporation of this theme into the roadshows and conferences held across the Group.

Rospa logoIntertek logo

In May 2014, for the fourth consecutive year, SIG UK received the Silver RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety award. This award recognises SIG's ongoing commitment to raising the standards for health and safety management.

The accident statistics indicate that for SIG as a Group significant improvements have been made in both major accidents and lost time accidents, both "over three day" accidents and RIDDOR (or equivalent). There was an increase in the UK and Ireland's "over three day" accident incident rate due to an unusually high number of incidents which occurred in December.

Accidents and Incidents

UK & Ireland

Rate per 1,000 employees
201420132012
Major injury2.83.62.7
Injury resulting in over three absence days from work12.011.211.2
All RIDDORs11.413.414.1
Average UK & Ireland headcount4,9845,0705,261
Lost work day rate – number of work days per 100 employees35.823.329.6

Group

Rate per 1,000 employees
201420132012
Major injury2.22.82.2
Injury resulting in over three absence days from work15.016.717.1
All RIDDORs (Equivalent) *13.316.517.9
Average Group headcount9,4549,80610,228

* This includes accidents in non-UK businesses that would meet the criteria for reporting in the UK under RIDDOR.

Quality Assurance

The Group's management systems are maintained to a high standard through management review and internal auditing. A supplier audit programme is in place to identify opportunities for continuous improvement. The programme is conducted by way of a questionnaire and includes questions regarding the health, safety and environmental credentials of the supplier. Where it is commercially advantageous, the quality management systems are externally certificated to ISO 9001, with Sitaco Poland and certificated branches in the UK achieving recertification in 2014.

Community

SIG recognises the ethical obligation it holds to the communities in which it operates, both as a local employer and as a FTSE 250 company.

To help support the Group's contribution to the UK communities in which it operates, SIG is a member of Business in the Community ("BiTC"). The Group has worked with BiTC for a number of years to help develop its approach and practices. This is mainly achieved through charitable donations and other initiatives that help the community.

In the UK, SIG is currently partnering with Fir Vale School in Sheffield on a number of initiatives. Fir Vale School provides around 1,050 places for students up to GCSE level and is full and oversubscribed. The majority of students are BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) with a more recent intake of Eastern European background students. The school serves a deprived socio-economic community with 37% of students qualifying for free school meals.

During the course of 2014, SIG undertook four initiatives with the school covering the following areas:

  • Student Leadership: The partnership objective was to equip the 25 student leaders with the tools and techniques to handle difficult conversations and handle conflict during their roles as prefects in the school. SIG hosted a fun workshop in July 2014 on assertive techniques, leadership skills and self-awareness for this group;
  • Enterprise and Employability: During September 2014 SIG co-facilitated day-long sessions with Year 11 students to help them prepare their CVs and hone their interviewing skills. These practical workshops (five in total covering over 100 students) helped to prepare the students for their work place interviews later in 2014 and for applying to Sixth Form colleges during the early part of 2015;
  • Business Management: SIG co-facilitated a half-day programme at the school to assist Business Studies students in finding out how companies motivate their employees. The session was informal and interactive, with students invited to ask questions. Over 50 students attended; and
  • Work Placements: During December 2014, SIG conducted interviews for students who would attend our initial work placement programme in February 2015. The comprehensive programme includes working in different departments, partnering with a mentor who has been specifically trained for this role, an introduction to health and safety, branch visits and face-to-face meetings with members of SIG senior management.
BITC logo

SIG's relationship with BiTC will continue to grow and evolve in 2015, and various options for supporting the charity are being discussed, ranging from how our IT teams can work with ICT students to SIG employees assisting students with college applications.

Charitable donations

During 2014, the Group made total charitable donations of £111,000 (2013: £109,000). It is the Group's policy not to make political donations and no donations were made in the year (2013: £nil).

SIG supports charities and community projects that enhance the Group's engagement in the communities in which it operates, assist in managing the sustainability of the local environment and help to educate young people and aid disadvantaged groups.

Runners and cyclists

SIG is proud to support the outstanding efforts of our employees, such as SIG's Roofing Racers, who tackled a 750-metre swim in the River Thames, a cycle race of 20 kilometres and a five kilometre sprint in the Virgin Active London Triathlon. The team raised over £35,000 to help both Macmillan Cancer Support and Great Ormond Street Hospital charities.

Another brave team of SIG colleagues blazed a trail in an event organised by Cyclists Fighting Cancer. One month before the Grand Départ of the 2014 Tour de France, the team participated in the Étape de Yorkshire, a 120-mile event following the route of the first stage of Le Tour 2014 starting in Leeds and finishing in Harrogate.

SIG employees take part in a wide range of activities which support our work in the community. This includes, but is not limited to, participation in various sporting events, fundraising in branches and local communities, and making donations through a payroll giving scheme.

Most of SIG's charitable giving is led by employees who organise sponsored campaigns through their operating companies, or apply for matching funds to boost fundraising totals generated by independent activities. SIG's Matched Funding Scheme matches up to £500 (or equivalent) of donations raised by employees for their favourite charities. SIG employees have led a wide range of activities and events to raise funds for the charities of their choice in 2014. These include garage sales in Poland as well as sponsored bake sales, cycle rides and mountain treks across the UK and mainland Europe.

In The Netherlands, the Kippenrenners ran from Paris to Rotterdam and raised more than €15,000 for the Roparun hospice charity.

The Group also made a donation of £2,500 to support the Rowley Project in purchasing computers to help disadvantaged students in Kenya.

At a corporate level, SIG connected the 2014 Employee Engagement Survey with a pledge to donate either £1 or €1 to the British Red Cross and UNICEF for each response. An exceptional response rate of 81% completed questionnaires was received and SIG donated £7,000 to the charities.

Our People

Our people performanceOur people

Improving the performance, engagement and well-being of all our people is one of the key strategic areas of focus across SIG. Significant investment has been made in strengthening the SIG Human Resources team as the drivers of the Group's new People Strategy, which is seen as a core differentiator for SIG. With the focus on attracting, retaining, developing and deploying the best people from within and beyond our industry, the SIG People Strategy provides the platform for ensuring that our people are able to deliver success today, tomorrow and into the future.

Conference word cloud

Engaged Employees

In March 2014, SIG launched its first Group-wide Employee Engagement initiative – 'SIG Listens'. As the first engagement survey involving all employees, SIG Listens allowed feedback and suggestions to be given anonymously and confidentially.

With an excellent 81% of the SIG team responding to the survey, SIG Listens provided a valuable insight into the thoughts and perceptions of employees. Based on a measure of "what do our people 'say' about SIG", "are people committed to 'staying' in SIG" and "do our people 'strive' to go the extra mile", we achieved an engagement score of 74%, which is equal to our industry benchmark.

More specifically, the survey results demonstrated that our people:

  • are clear about what is expected of them and how this contributes to SIG's collective success (88% positive);
  • are clear about the behaviours expected within SIG (86% positive);
  • would recommend SIG's products and services (86% positive); and
  • are committed to working beyond what is required in their job to ensure promises are fulfilled (83% positive).

SIG Values

Stronger together

'Stronger Together' whiteboards engage employees in team communications, planning and values.

The new Group Values - Trust, Respect, Teamwork, Integrity, Commitment and Fun - were developed by our employees and they set out what it means to be a part of the 'Stronger Together' SIG team. These values guide the behaviours of all our people from Chief Executive to frontline employees. The Group's values guide not only how we serve our customers, but also how we work with all our partners and, very importantly, each other.

Embedding the Group Values as the key stone of our People Strategy and the SIG spirit will ensure the entire SIG team, working towards our vision of being 'Stronger Together', always delivers on our promises, whether it be those made to our Shareholders, our customers, our suppliers, our people, or to the communities we work within.

The survey also highlighted areas where greater effort is required. These insights have resulted in action across three key areas:

  • Communication: Through greater focus on internal communications channels, the aim is to improve how SIG helps all our people feel more informed about what is happening in their part of the business and how they can further contribute to the wider success of the Group;
  • Recognition: Through improving the capability of managers to give regular and constructive feedback and through implementing recognition schemes SIG is focused on helping all our people feel as though their contribution to the success of the Group is recognised, rewarded and celebrated; and
  • Development: Through investment in the capability of managers to support the development of our people, and through enhancement of training and development resources, initiatives are being implemented to ensure that every employee feels that SIG is a great place to work, where they can develop and grow in their careers.

The 2015 SIG Listens survey will take place in September, giving a progress update on the initiatives that have been implemented. SIG is in the middle of major change, so it is expected that some results may be adversely affected; however the Company is committed to using SIG Listens as a key mechanism to understand the perceptions and engagement levels of our people. This will help guide the People Strategy to ensure all members of the SIG team are inspired to go the extra mile as they contribute to SIG's success today, tomorrow and beyond.

employee communications

Developing our people

Keeping our employees informed is a priority for SIG. SIG aims to ensure all of its employees understand the business strategy and how it will be delivered in order to achieve the Group's vision. Two-way people engagement, underpinned by regular communication to keep employees informed, is actively encouraged. Current channels include senior leader news cascades via email, face-to-face briefings, intranet updates and articles, employee newsletters, general business news cascades and web broadcasts. SIG is continually reviewing and improving the ways in which it communicates and will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of employee communications.

A key tool used by SIG is the 'SIG Listens' Employee Engagement survey, which was introduced across the Group in 2014. As a result of the Survey, SIG has established focus groups to help prioritise and plan actions for improvement, both at Group and local level. This ensures continuous improvement in line with employee feedback and helps to drive two-way communications across SIG. The Performance Review process is also a great way to encourage two-way discussion, both in terms of managers giving feedback on employee's individual performance, but also in terms of employees discussing their career aspirations and goals with their managers. Development plans are created as a result of this, individually tailored to each individual's needs.

All of our Senior Leaders participate in our Finance for non-Financial Managers course, which helps them to understand more about SIG's commercial position, economic dependencies and financial performance.

We are constantly working on improving our communication in SIG and work closely with teams in IT and HR to develop new communication channels and use technology more effectively as we grow and develop our business.

Developing Our People

The development of our people is core to the SIG strategy. The skills and expertise of employees is one of SIG's key differentiators in the market place. Through embedding a virtuous cycle of growing our people to grow our business, SIG is committed to providing development and career opportunities to every member of the team.

The Performance Development Review ("PDR") process, launched in 2013, helps to ensure that all managers and employees know what is expected of them in their roles and that performance is measured and managed throughout the business. The PDR process also provides an important opportunity for employees to discuss their career aspirations and development with their manager, ensuring that development plans are turned into development action throughout the year. In 2015 SIG has committed that 100% of employees will have a PDR discussion with their manager.

In support of the development of our people, the partnership with Sheffield Hallam University in the UK has continued giving leaders the opportunity to develop their management skills and capability, whilst also gaining an academic accreditation, either at advanced Diploma or Bachelor Degree level. Partnerships have also been formed with global leaders in learning solutions, providing SIG with access to state-of-the-art learning management technology and on-line training materials. As a part of the Group-wide Training and Development Strategy, this will ensure that all employees across SIG have better access to training, helping them to continue being successful in their role and growing in their career.

In partnership with product suppliers, a new approach to product training for SIG employees is also being implemented. Helping the Group to be 'Stronger Together' with suppliers, enhanced product training will raise our peoples' awareness of the full offerings of SIG, enabling greater up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

Throughout 2015, the focus on developing our people is at the forefront of the People Strategy. This will include developing the English language capability of SIG's non-native English speaking senior leaders, enhancing leadership and management development programmes, establishing Group-wide job families with clear career paths, and leveraging existing programmes like 'Expert Workforce'. Growing our people to grow our business is central to the success of SIG and is the responsibility of every manager.

Growing Our Talent

Growing our talent

Growing and nurturing a pipeline of talent is critical to the future success of SIG. Throughout 2014, SIG has remained committed to recruiting and developing early career individuals from apprentices through to university graduates across the business.

In both Germany and the UK the Apprentice Trainee programmes have attracted high calibre individuals to the organisation.

In Germany, the Apprenticeship scheme continues to grow from strength to strength, with the development of an eLearning module for the apprentices in 2014 focusing on workplace safety training. All the apprentices who started their apprenticeship in August 2014 received this training and, in addition, they were given advanced training at the apprentice kick-off in October. The first trainer conference for Apprenticeship Supervisors was launched in January 2014, with the key concepts of apprenticeships being "a strategic decision," meaning "investment in the future," and the need "to constantly question and to change." The trainers were given the chance to network for the first time, and were able to participate actively in the organisation of the training programme within the scope of diverse workshops. In the combination of keynote speeches, workshops and idea exchange sessions, the focus was on SIG's apprenticeship initiative. Time was spent explaining the Group vision and mission, innovation and change, the role of the apprenticeship representative and the expectations of function. The representative conference is a further element of the SIG apprenticeship scheme which increases apprenticeship quality and attractiveness. It is considered essential to identify young talent, and to retain and develop them for our future business.

In 2015, 25 new apprentices will start in SIG Germany, throughout WeGo and VTI, achieving the 5% headcount objective in apprenticeships for Germany which was set back in 2012 when the apprenticeship headcount was only 2.75%. The recruitment process for this year is initiated in January and continues through mid to late March; the apprentices will then start their apprenticeship in August. 2015 will also see the 9th Apprentice Forum with SIG's industrial partner Isover (Saint Gobain) being held. The event addresses the apprentices of all three apprenticeship years at WeGo. This event enables the apprentices to exchange ideas with their fellow apprentices, as well as to network with our industrial partner. The focus this year is on the topic of insulation materials, whereby the apprentices can develop and expand their knowledge through technical presentations, a factory tour and a practical element.

The newly created project for 2015 'Trade Meets Craftsmanship' will round off the apprentices' profile. The apprentices will spend at least four weeks of their training period at a construction site as a standard part of the programme. This provides experience and learning in all aspects of SIG's value-added chain in combination with the apprentice forums, vocational training and practical on-site training at customer premises. In addition, the apprentices will get to know SIG's products as well as the perspectives and methods of industrial partners and customers.

Launched back in September 2012, the UK Apprenticeship programme continues to help SIG to attract, develop and retain talented individuals to the organisation, as well as supporting people looking to gain qualifications and work experience across our business.

Forklift reversing

2014 saw the continuation of the UK Apprenticeship Development Programme, which brings the apprentices together to develop their key skills and business understanding. The programme continues to run throughout the SIG UK business and has grown in number from 16 in 2013 to 25 apprentices in 2014 who are now employed in various roles across Head Office and the branch network. As the programme evolves further in 2015, with the development of content and additional positions, the aim is for the apprenticeship talent pipeline to also support diversity in terms of gender and generation mix within the business, a key element of the Talent Strategy for 2015 and beyond.

SIG continues to be a Gold Sponsor of Enactus, the community of student, academic and business leaders developing outreach projects to improve the quality of life and standard of living of people across the globe. In 2014, SIG was again involved in the judging process for the Enactus National competition, as well as attending a number of training events for the Enactus students and taking part in their careers fairs. This year SIG will continue to build on this relationship and will be expanding its business advisor group.

The development of a career ambassadors group within SIG will link these career ambassadors and advisors with local universities to support their project development and also attend key Enactus events.

Graduate development activites

SIG graduates benefit from extensive training, including challenging development activities, as above.

In addition, as members of the Association of Graduate Recruiters ("AGR"), SIG has developed this relationship further in 2014, with the sharing of best practice ideas across the AGR members, and with the commitment to attend more of the AGR events in 2015. One such event in 2015 is the AGR Development Conference in March, where SIG's Group Talent & Development Director will be a key presenter.

The Group has continued to support the investment and focus on the recruitment of graduates in order to generate the talent pipeline of future managers within the business. SIG's current graduates have a diverse mix of experience, with a number from commercial and business orientated backgrounds, enabling them to understand the customer base and projects in more depth. Graduates are recruited for specific functional areas such as Finance and Sales; however, SIG also runs country and international programmes, providing graduates with insight and exposure across SIG's Mainland European businesses.

In 2015 a new Global Leadership Graduate Programme will be launched in addition to the existing talent pipeline programmes. As our first Group-wide talent programme, this will specifically focus on attracting, developing and deploying high-calibre graduates who are capable of developing into the future leaders of SIG. The graduates will perform a variety of rotational roles across the business over the two year programme, before moving into a management role. The new programme has key criteria such as a second language against which the graduate will be selected onto the programme, raising the capability and also supporting the international nature of the programme right from the start.

Growing talent office

During the two year programme, graduates will undertake four rotations and attend five extensive development modules, each focusing on different leadership attributes in more detail, such as understanding themselves and understanding the business. The programme has been re-designed to develop much more cultural awareness, commercial acumen, personal impact and project management skills, in order to help the graduates significantly increase their international effectiveness and value to SIG in the long-term.

Talent Review

Focusing initially on the Senior Leader level, a Talent and Succession Review will be conducted in early 2015 and subsequently rolled-out across the business. This Review will assess the leadership and succession bench strength across the Group, whilst also helping with the identification of high-potential individuals. From the Review, development programmes will be implemented to accelerate the development of individuals and help improve global mobility. This will further strengthen leadership capability, while also giving individuals the opportunity to grow through SIG. Through growing and nurturing the talent pipeline, the Group will ensure that it continues to develop the skills and capabilities required for the future.

Recognising Outstanding Performance

Employee benefits

SIG remains committed to recognising excellent performance and celebrating the success of employees. As part of the SIG recognition framework, the annual awards have been revised to recognise and celebrate employees for financial performance and also for ideas, actions and behaviours that help SIG live its values.

Award categories are directly linked to the SIG values and give award opportunities to employees at all levels of the business. Shortlisted nominees attend an award dinner at the Senior Leadership Conference, giving a unique recognition and celebration opportunity. In addition, the Chief Executive's Award for Excellence recognises one outstanding individual who embodies the SIG values, has shown consistently excellent personal performance and had a transformational effect on their business or function.

SIG's operating companies locally run reward and recognition schemes which are appropriate to the particular aims of businesses in different countries. These focus on rewarding the desired behaviours and business outcomes, whilst at the same time being aligned to the 'Stronger Together' ethos.

Employee Benefits

SIG aims to attract and retain the best talent with a fair and consistent approach to both fixed and variable pay, which is regularly benchmarked both externally and internally. Reward and benefits play a key role in supporting employee engagement and performance. Bonus schemes are designed to reward exceptional performance, and operate to an aligned framework across the Senior Leadership population. Bonus awards are also made in the local operating businesses aligned to local performance results, which is key in driving and rewarding performance at operating company level.

Employees are encouraged to become shareholders in the Company. The Share Incentive Plan ("SIP") was introduced in 2005 and gives one matching share for each share purchased by the employee up to a maximum of £20 per month. As at 31 December 2014 there were 844 employees participating in the SIP.

SIG is constantly reviewing the employee offering, with the aim of providing choice and an appropriate level of benefits, and this will be a key area of focus for our Reward Team in 2015.

Equal Opportunities

Gender diversity

SIG's policy is to provide equal opportunities to all existing and prospective employees. The Group recognises that its reputation is dependent upon fair and equitable treatment of all its employees and prohibits discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, nationality or ethnic origin. Employment opportunities are equally available to all.

The Group values diversity of thinking and sees this as critical going forward in generating new ideas and innovative solutions for our customers. Employment opportunities are available to disabled persons in accordance with their abilities and aptitudes on equal terms with other employees. If an employee becomes disabled during employment, the Group makes every effort to enable them to continue in employment by making reasonable adjustments in the workplace and providing retraining for alternative work where necessary.

Gender Diversity

At 31 December 2014, across the total workforce 1,880 (21%) of all employees are female. One Board member (14%) and seven senior managers (10%) are female. SIG continues to work towards improving its workforce diversity and this will be an ongoing area of focus in 2015.