Governance, risks, opportunities and CR
Leadership and CR
Corporate Responsibility matters are reviewed on a quarterly basis by the Group Executive Committee. Application of the CR policy is led by the CR Steering Committee which is led by the Group Director of Human Resources & Corporate Communications and includes Board representation through the presence of the Company Secretary.
In some countries the economic crisis has led to concerns about how large businesses are managed and run. Sage continues to work towards the highest standards of governance and more details on this can be found in the section ‘Corporate Governance’ within the annual report. To support this, we have embedded our Code of Ethics in all operating companies, and have extended our channels by which employees can anonymously report any concerns about fraud, bribery or corruption.
It is expected that legislation surrounding the area of environmental reporting will increase over forthcoming years as governments look to fulfil their carbon reduction commitments. Currently we are planning for the anticipated changes in UK legislation in this area and our approach this year to check and improve our carbon accounting process will help us prepare for any changes in legislation that do emerge. The UK business is expecting to report under the UK’s CRC scheme and is prepared to do so.
Climate change may also represent a risk to organisations. None of our operations are in a geographical location associated with significant risk although long term changing weather patterns as part of global climate change could impact on any of our locations. All of our locations operate business continuity plans in order to ensure we would be able to continue to provide a quality service to our customers should a site be affected. We believe this approach is part of good business planning.
Whilst climate change and increasing energy costs represent long-term risks to our business, like many other office based businesses these risks are limited. These risks include:
- Increased energy costs/ energy restrictions and regulation
- Increased supplier costs (due to their increasing energy costs)
- Increased oil/ petrol costs influencing employee travel habits which may affect the target recruitment market or impact on other employment policies such as home working
- Water restrictions; and
- Rising cost of business travel
These may apply across all of our operating companies. The processes to identify and manage the key risks to the success of the Group are an integral part of the internal control environment. To this end, to ensure that risks are identified and monitored, the Group has formed a Risk Committee consisting of the Group Chief Executive, Group Finance Director, Group Risk Director, Company Secretary and certain other members of the Group Executive Committee.
Increasing legislation and a likely increase in carbon reporting does present an opportunity for Sage to help provide businesses with software and services to manage these business processes. Business owners and software users are also looking for ways to minimise their impacts and using Sage software can help. People increasingly wish to minimise waste and energy use. We have already done a great deal of work to support electronic transaction processing within and between our products and with government agencies and banks.
This has huge potential to reduce the amount of printing that is necessary within the average SME and will be very attractive to SMEs to simplify processes, limit their own environmental impact and improve their waste management activity. This area continues to grow steadily.
Electronic processing and transactions are now further supported through our payment processing services. This electronic network is, in some areas, extending to suppliers who can transact electronically through a developing Sage ecosystem.