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Independent Assurance Statement

Assurance Scope, Objectives and Methodology

Objectives

Natural Capital Ltd (referred to as Natural Capital throughout the rest of this statement) was commissioned by Fujitsu Services Ltd to provide:

  • an independent assessment of Fujitsu UK and Ireland’s (referred to as Fujitsu throughout the rest of this statement) current corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme; and
  • support for the implementation and continuous development of the CSR programme strategy.

As part of this assessment, Natural Capital has undertaken an independent assurance of Fujitsu’s 2013 Business in the Community (BITC) CR Index submission in conjunction with its second web-based CSR Report.

Assurance Approach and Limitations

Assurance Approach

The assurance process very closely followed, although did not formally adopt, the principles in AA1000AS (2008) and also those in ISAE3000. It also made reference to principles and criteria drawn from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). The approach enabled the equivalent of a ‘moderate level’ Type 2 assurance (within the broad AA1000APS framework) to be adopted, covering:

  • an assessment against the principles of inclusivity, materiality and responsiveness; and
  • the reliability of specified sustainability performance information.

Assurance Limitations

The assurance covered Fujitsu’s BITC CR Index submission (see scope below) as well as the CSR Report and focussed on Fujitsu’s systems and activities during the reporting period, with the following exceptions:

  • The scope of work (see below) did not involve verification of financial performance data. The performance information included within the scope of the assessment was all of the key data and claims in the BITC CR Index submission and in the web-based CSR Report, together with additional information provided online, as part of the ISO 14001 Management System or clearly signposted from the website.
  • Natural Capital’s involvement with stakeholders was limited to reviewing internal and external stakeholder engagement processes and outcomes.
  • Representative source data spread sheets on energy usage were reviewed on a sample basis only and did not include all data points. A separate external consultant as part of the Carbon Trust initiative assured the detailed greenhouse gas calculations. This work was therefore not replicated and Natural Capital's opinion in the area of overall greenhouse gas emissions is reliant upon the assurance opinion issued by the other party.
  • Natural Capital reviewed yearly averaged data across all sites and representative source data on selected sites for both waste and recycling.
  • Assurance visits to operational premises were limited to the corporate head office, Baker Street, London, and the offices and site in Bracknell. Other site data was reviewed remotely and interviews with key Fujitsu employees based at other locations were conducted by telephone.

Methodology

The assurance engagement was undertaken between September and November 2013 and included the following:

  • A full review of the BITC CR Index questionnaire responses and supporting information together with the BITC Analysis of the Submission report and the BITC Management Report.
  • A detailed review of a representative subset of performance documents and the processes used for gathering and consolidating data.
  • A review of formal systems adopted and criteria used for reporting sustainability performance (e.g. ISO 14001).
  • Assessment of supporting evidence for key claims in the CR Index Submission.
  • Face-to-face interviews with representatives of Fujitsu’s directors, senior managers and CSR team.
  • Participation in CSR teleconferences.
  • Attendance during CSR Board Meetings as an observer.
  • Comprehensive review of Fujitsu’s approach to stakeholder engagement.
  • An analysis of Fujitsu’s first web-based CSR report.

Scope

The assurance process covered the following headings:

  • Corporate Strategy
  • Integration
  • Management – including performance and impact in the following areas:
    • Community – looking at community partnerships
    • Environment – looking at environmental management in general and:
      • Climate Change (energy management)
      • Waste Management
      • Resource Use (IT hardware recycling)
    • Marketplace – looking at dealings with the supply chain
    • Workplace – looking in particular at:
      • Health & Safety
      • Employee Wellbeing
      • Employee Engagement and Learning
      • Diversity and Inclusion

This framework was used to explore a wide range of key CSR performance areas.

Our Independence and Competency

The directors of Fujitsu have sole responsibility for the preparation of the BITC CR Index submission and preparation of the CSR Report. Our statement represents our independent opinion on these documents and is intended to inform all of Fujitsu’s stakeholders in a balanced way.

Natural Capital was not involved in the preparation of the CR Index submission or the CSR Report. However, as recognised in good assurance practice, Natural Capital has adopted an iterative process through undertaking scoping discussions, reviews and providing feedback on drafts of submissions and CSR Report material. As a result of this changes have been made during the preparation of final drafts.

The Natural Capital team comprised of Phil Say, Boris Eremin and Tiffany Bienfait. Further information, including individual competencies relating to the team can be found on the Natural Capital website.

Findings and Opinion

Corporate Strategy

The assurance process found that Fujitsu continues to place CR values at the core of its business strategy. It retains a clear vision and a robust set of corporate principles to guide everyday business behaviour and these are communicated openly and transparently via the website. There is a system in place to identify key social and environmental risks and opportunities and to ensure these are addressed by the principles and policies.

Fujitsu has clear leadership responsibilities assigned to executive directors and this is delivered through the CSR Board which is led by the Chief Operating Officer and attended by the Chief Executive, thus demonstrating leadership and commitment at the highest level. It is evident from CSR Board Meetings, including those Natural Capital has attended and/or reviewed, that all key CR areas have been allocated to the appropriate executive directors making sure all issues are accounted for and are matched to the right set of skills. It is evident that CR programmes are driven from the senior decision makers in the company. We continue to be very impressed by the level of commitment shown by directors and senior managers and the hands-on involvement of all in the current programme of CSR initiatives.

Integration

Fujitsu continues to implement and embed its CSR strategy throughout the business. Internal communication and employee training on key CR issues is evident. High profile video presentations by senior executives continue to be regularly used to reinforce the company’s values and approaches to CR, either via plasma screens around offices or via the website and dashboard system.

Stakeholder engagement has developed further with a more detailed mapping exercise and a structured communications plan to ensure that this engagement contributes more effectively to the CR strategy. There is an evident desire to communicate as effectively as possible to a wide range of stakeholders and the current plan highlights both primary and secondary methods of communication for each stakeholder group. Attention has been given to developing a participatory approach, tying in with the ‘ladder of participation’ that enables the engagement to be appropriate to the needs of each stakeholder. Mechanisms have now been put in place, such as a stakeholder forum/panel to ensure more meaningful dialogue with key stakeholder groups in the future.

Public reporting is now a regular feature with publication of the second CSR report. It describes the new approaches being adopted for stakeholder engagement and demonstrates in a transparent way that social and environmental issues are being incorporated into strategic decision making. This report has been independently assured by Natural Capital and further demonstrates Fujitsu’s responsiveness and inclusivity in reporting on CR management practices and impacts. The report communicates on key performance data and progress on targets.

Management - Performance and Impact

Community

Fujitsu has further strengthened its strategic and transparent approach to activities in the wider community. The company can clearly demonstrate that the focus of its community investment programmes is on areas where the business can achieve the most significant positive impact.

This is evidenced through efforts focused on enterprise and life skills, digital and social inclusion, promoting healthier lifestyles and using ICT capabilities to support society. Significant progress has been made with the latter through the continuing work with its charity partner Shelter. The current targets, management programmes and indicators are reported openly through the digital CSR report. These have become ‘smarter’ as the project has matured and significant progress has been achieved. The company’s Impact on Society (IOS) groups continue to extend the outreach of the Fujitsu footprint into the community. An increasing amount of community performance information is now available in the public domain.

Environment

Environmental Management

Fujitsu continues to operate its rigorous ISO 14001 system for environmental management and benefits from the feedback on its performance from external auditors and verifiers. Further progress in gaining stakeholder feedback has been made through both the mapping of stakeholders and the production of the CSR reports that include a section on environment. This latter proactively publishes the ISO 14001 programmes (targets and programmes) in the public domain for the second time. Further progress will be made as the stakeholder forum/panel that has been established provides its regular feedback.

Climate Change and Waste Management

Through the data reported in its second CSR report, the company continues to demonstrate year on year reductions in emissions of CO2 and, together with a number of other initiatives (reducing travel, reducing waste to landfill and increasing recycling), is showing good progress in initiatives that will reduce its carbon footprint further and thus its contribution to the causes of climate change. Performance figures for both energy and waste are published in the online CSR report.

It is also encouraging to see in the waste management data that waste generation continues to be on the decline but equally important the proportion of recycled materials continues to go up and the volume sent to landfill continues to fall. In terms of end-of-life electronic waste (see below) there is zero waste going to landfill.

Resource Use

The company’s ‘Recycle Services’ specialise in the recovery of legacy IT equipment through managing the reuse, resale and safe disposal of redundant IT equipment and maintaining 0% waste to landfill for end-of-life assets. Over the past 12 months the Company has reorganised its Recycle Service to improve efficiency and create a Recycling Centre of Excellence. This reorganisation has been prompted by a number of factors including the increase in business managed by recycling services. The Centre of Excellence also supports charitable donations of IT Equipment by Fujitsu and its customers to ensure regulatory standards are met and end-of-life hardware returned by Charities is safely recycled.

Performance data is published in the CSR report and confirms the achievement of the 0% IT waste to landfill.

Marketplace

Fujitsu continues to work closely with suppliers to ensure that procurement activities embody its CSR values. Engagement continues to take place with suppliers to learn how they promote sustainability and how this might affect Fujitsu. There is a desire to lead and promote idea generation, collaboration and knowledge sharing with partner organisations. The company continues to host supplier networking events aimed at strengthening joint work on charity and community projects. All of this is reported on transparently within Fujitsu’s online CSR report.

Workplace

Workplace/employee issues have been reviewed from a CR perspective and various initiatives that involve staff have been successful this year, particularly those seeking new ideas for shaping the company. A wide selection of engagement events have been run throughout the year (such as executive roadshows, ‘back to the floor’ days and round table events) where staff are encouraged to share business ideas and suggest improvements for delivering company goals.

Health & Safety

The focus continues on reporting the measurement and monitoring of all key health and safety areas, and data is available in the online CSR report. There continues to be a focus on maintaining and promoting a safe working environment and safe working practices through employee engagement and extending this out to the wider community. The internationally recognised standard OHSAS 18001 continues to be used to drive continual improvement.

Employee Wellbeing

The wellbeing programmes continue to progress building on last year’s programme and action plan. Wellbeing programmes prioritise areas identified through monitoring and engagement with staff, and the company provides and promotes a number of services, practical advice and initiatives to manage their impact. Through its programme of engagement Fujitsu identified mental health as one of its key health issues, in common with wider UK Society. This year the company commissioned MIND to facilitate a number of focus groups to improve its evidence base to support improvements in the way in which mental health issues are managed for its employees. The recommendations will be used as a basis for a structured improvement programme. Further progress has been made in transparency as policies and data continue to be published in the CSR report on the website. As a verifiable database on the key health issues affecting Fujitsu is developed, this is facilitating the creation of ‘smarter’ objectives and targets.

Diversity and Inclusion

Activities to address diversity and inclusion issues continue to be progressed in 2013. Data on objectives, targets and management programmes continue to be published in the CSR report on the website and performance is tracked. Data gathering has been reviewed and revisions made to improve the quantity and accuracy of information. Fujitsu continues to operate a range of supportive activities to promote diversity within the workplace and continues to show great commitment in this area.

Inclusivity

The assurance process has found that Fujitsu has made significant progress in its approach to engaging with and then collecting and analysing stakeholder feedback. Groups already well engaged with include employees, customers, suppliers, charities and communities. Wider engagement has been the focus of a new Engagement and Communications Plan. This plan includes a more detailed profile of stakeholders with methods set out as to how best to communicate with each group. A stakeholder forum/panel has been established for regular reviews and feedback, in addition a participatory approach has been developed for engaging with a range of additional stakeholders.

Materiality

Fujitsu continues to demonstrate a mature risk management process that covers CR related issues and is also actively seeking the opportunities that CR issues present. Informal dialogue with some stakeholder groups has helped to prioritise some of the key material issues. Opportunities now exist through the new stakeholder forum to widen this approach to ensure that emerging issues are addressed. The new Engagement and Communications Plan will enable a wider range of stakeholders to be consulted with on material issues. This in turn will help to feed information into the CSR report on how these have been classified and why, in some cases, certain issues are regarded as less material to the business at this point in time.

Responsiveness

Fujitsu can demonstrate responsiveness to a range of stakeholders with which close engagement has been established. This is clearly demonstrated through employee surveys, roadshows and engagement events, in specific community outreach initiatives such as the partnership with Shelter and the Children in Need campaign and with specific customer and supplier initiatives. The web based CSR report with the ‘provide us with feedback’ tags, together with other social media connections from the website, continue to demonstrate other ways the company is seeking to engage and respond to stakeholder feedback.

The new ‘Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Plan’ will increase the outreach to even more stakeholders. As an important feature of this plan the stakeholder panel/forum provides further opportunities for interaction with a range of strategic stakeholders. The communications plan enables the company to put in place procedures that demonstrate timely and accessible responses to feedback received.

Reliability of Performance Information

Based on the scope of the assurance process, the following was observed with regard to performance information:

  • The findings of the assurance engagement provide confidence in the systems and processes used for managing and reporting sustainability performance information.
  • The level of accuracy of sustainability performance information was found to be within acceptable limits. Nothing came to our attention to suggest that data have not been properly collated from information reported at the operational level, or that assumptions used were inappropriate.
  • Data trails selected were generally identifiable and traceable, and the personnel responsible were able to reliably demonstrate the origin(s) and interpretation of data. We are not aware of any errors that would materially affect the data reported.
  • The sustainability performance disclosures presented within the CR submission and online CSR Report appropriately reflect environmental and social performance achieved during the period.
  • Overall, it is Natural Capital’s opinion that the information presented within the CR Index submission and the online CSR Report is fair in all material respects. The Report was found to present a reliable account of Fujitsu’s CSR performance during the reporting period.

Observations and Recommendations

Without affecting our assurance opinion Natural Capital also provides the following observations and recommendations.

Stakeholder Engagement

Fujitsu has developed this year a strategic ‘Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Plan’. This plan targets specific stakeholders in a more focused way and will enable their views on issues such as materiality to be more effectively gauged. Feedback from using this plan will enable more tailored CSR reporting in the future to meet the needs of different stakeholders. This plan also provides a more comprehensive framework for analysing the purpose of the engagement, developing specific outputs and feeding back on progress. There is a pro-forma protocol that enables progress to be tracked and quality to be maintained within the engagement process.

Fujitsu can take this a stage further by developing in the future a ‘Community Strategy’ that will enable it to establish longer term goals (3 to 5 years) for how it will deliver its mission within the community. Such a strategy can bring together the charitable work in the community together with activities under the ‘social action’ heading that address issues such as digital exclusion, using ICT capabilities to support society and the promotion of healthier lifestyles.

Climate Change Strategy – Further Development

This year Fujitsu has developed a more strategic approach to climate change and within its CSR Report has outlined two major facets of this plan:

  • Carbon management plan – how the company is reducing its own carbon footprint.
  • Supporting customers – the crucial role that ICT can play to protect and improve society.

The current carbon management plan covers Scope 1 (direct emissions) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions) and certain elements of Scope 3 (e.g. business travel, waste). In moving forward it is recommended that more categories of Scope 3 should be introduced into the plan so that more of the company’s value chain (upstream and downstream) is covered. This will become increasingly important for effective supply chain management.

Conservation of Biodiversity – Further Development

Fujitsu can demonstrate significant progress in its contribution to the Fujitsu Group’s ‘Priority 2 – Protecting the Global Environment’ and in particular helping to ‘conserve biodiversity’ through the development of the first UK & Ireland’s business ‘Biodiversity Strategy’. This strategy is a welcome response to last year’s recommendations and demonstrates how seriously Fujitsu is taking the issue of the global decline in biodiversity. Some simple but very important local actions are planned to address biodiversity issues and there is a desire to both integrate this new strategy into the ISO14001 management system and to harness the interest and enthusiasm of the local workforce. As the programme starts to mature it will be important to see some longer term objectives and targets generated.

Natural Capital as a Strategic Business Risk

This year Fujitsu has also developed a position paper that looks at the business risks posed by the decline of the earth’s ‘natural capital’ (i.e. natural resources, biodiversity, ecosystem services). There is a recognition that in the longer-term this is likely to become a major business risk (this again features in the Fujitsu Group’s Priority 2 – Protecting the Global Environment). Fujitsu plans to investigate how best to address natural capital issues especially within the supply chain.

Fujitsu can take this further by considering appropriate valuation methods, including environmental/economic as well as stakeholder feedback as ways of assessing the company’s impact and dependence on natural capital. There are likely to be business opportunities in providing solutions to some of the issues using the power of ICT.

Wellbeing Strategy

The maturing ‘Wellbeing Programme’ has shown further progress during 2013. There are many employee welfare initiatives that have been further developed around some of the more important wellbeing issues. This programme, however, would benefit from being developed further into a full strategy that is based on longer term objectives and targets based around some key goals. This would enable targets to become ‘smarter’ and more focused on measuring the outcomes of current initiatives.

Natural Capital Ltd

Natural Capital

Edinburgh
November 2013
Dr Phil Say

Dr Phil Say
Director

Supported by:

  • Boris Eremin – Consultant
  • Tiffany Bienfait – Consultant

Download your copy of the Fujitsu Independent Assurance Statement (79 KB/A4, 7 pages)