Adding ESG fizz to Britvic
Britvic won the Best Integration of ESG into an Annual Report at the Strategic Comms Awards thanks, in part, to the company taking the opportunity to create a tailored annual report in 2020 that communicated its ESG story in a more compelling way. ‘Our new business strategy, combined with new regulatory requirements, was the perfect opportunity to tell the Britvic story in a more engaging way,’ explains the company’s director of sustainable business Sarah Webster.
‘We’re committed to delivering corporate reporting that meets the needs of all our stakeholders, providing a holistic view of not only what we’re delivering as a business but also how we’re doing it in a values-driven and sustainable way,’ Webster adds. Britvic defines its stakeholder audiences as investors, analysts, ratings agencies, partners and employees.
‘We wanted ESG to be a thread running through the report, reflecting our commitment to fully integrate our sustainability strategy – Healthier People, Healthier Planet – into every element of our business strategy,’ adds Webster. ‘Financial performance content is balanced by our People and Planet non-financial narrative, focusing on sustainability and culture, values, wellbeing, and belonging.’
As the Healthier People, Healthier Planet initiative is at the core of the ESG programme, how was this narrative developed? ‘We’ve worked hard to find a common language to make our sustainable business practices relevant to all stakeholders and clearly demonstrate the link between healthier choices, environmental responsibility and commercial success,’ says Webster.
‘We also felt very strongly that we needed to listen and understand our stakeholders’ needs and expectations,’ adds Webster. ‘Through direct conversations, targeted surveys, and regular engagement, we were able to build a clear picture of the needs of our suppliers, customers, consumers and other stakeholders, and to share our ambitions. Bringing this all together, we developed our Healthier People, Healthier Planet narrative.’
Financial performance content is balanced by our non-financial narrative, focusing on sustainability and culture, values, wellbeing, and belonging
The annual report therefore outlined a business model built upon sustainable foundations – with dedicated sections on sustainable business, streamlined energy and carbon reporting. ‘Our commitment to transparent climate-related reporting is further evidenced by our early adoption of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) several years before it became mandatory,’ says Webster.
As part of this process, Britvic has an ESG committee, chaired by the company’s chief financial officer Joanne Wilson, representing the board on sustainable business and together with the rest of the executive committee accountable for managing the progress of the sustainability and climate change targets. The ESG committee oversees the development of Britvic’s Healthier People, Healthier Planet strategy and roadmap to delivery.
‘Clearly setting out our ESG strategy in this way demonstrates its importance and that’s why we included a strategic report, featuring a 13-page sustainable business section outlining our Healthier People, Healthier Planet strategy, which helped to align our objectives and targets with these goals,’ says Webster.
The report highlighted a responsible business through a story of values, culture, wellbeing, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. It also feeds into its Modern Slavery Act Transparency Statement. These are all-embracing objectives even for the best ESG approach.
‘We believe the way we do business is fundamental to our success,’ says Webster. ‘This means ensuring that our values drive our behaviour and decision making, and that we value people and planet equally alongside financial performance.’
Webster adds that having a clear culture and well-defined values increases employee engagement and satisfaction, helping to retain and attract the highest quality professionals. ‘Similarly, diversity and inclusion allow us to better understand different ideas and perspectives, helping to better understand customer needs,’ says Webster. ‘We want our employees to mirror the richness of the markets and communities we serve and build an environment where they can bring their true selves to work every day.’