SIG recognises its corporate responsibilities towards its shareholders, employees, customers and suppliers and is committed to socially responsible business practice. In 2016 SIG continued to integrate Corporate responsibility ("CR") across the Group.

The Group implements policies that include social and environmental issues in our 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

The Group has in place Group-wide Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Corruption, and Ethical Trading and 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.
  • Not to give or receive bribes.
  • To avoid, and in all cases report conflicts of interest.
  • Encourage employees to report any suspected wrongdoing.

A confidential and independent hotline service is available to all employees so that they can raise any concerns 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 and Human Rights Policy

The Ethical Trading and 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 and 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 and 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 for all senior management through to branch managers and external salespeople. This training is provided via our online training resource, and also includes 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.
  • Taking firm and vigorous action against any individual(s) involved in bribery or corruption.

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

Modern Slavery Act 2015

The Group is required to publish a Group anti-slavery statement within six months of the year ending 31 December 2016, in line with Home Office guidance. This will be published on its website (www.sigplc.com) within six months of the year ending 31 December 2016.

Environment

Environmental management

SIG operates a combined Health, Safety and Environmental Policy and management system which allows the business to optimise resources to ensure that auditing and communication programmes are focused and targeted to support the business and to maximise the opportunities for continual improvement.

The Board Director responsible for implementation of the Policy is the Chief Executive who is also the signatory to the Group's Health, Safety and Environment Policy, which is displayed at each location throughout the Group in the local language.

SIG's UK operations' management system is in its 11th year of accreditation with the international environment standard ISO14001. Registration to the standard was successfully renewed in 2016. Having an externally verified management system provides the Group with a continuous programme of review and improvement for its businesses with a roll-out programme for new business within three months of acquisition and a target of achieving full accreditation within 12 months.

At the heart of SIG's approach to its Group-wide strategy for environmental matters are the key elements of the management system standard which demonstrates the Group's commitment to environmental management and best practice.

In order to record and assess the principal environmental hazards within the Group, SIG maintains an Environmental Aspects and Impacts Register and Corporate Environmental Risk Assessment. These evaluations formed part of the 2016 Management Review process for each business.

The Group has continued its excellent record of environmental legal compliance and environmentally sound operations throughout 2016 with no prosecutions or actions from the authorities.

The emphasis for the Group's environmental objectives for 2016 is derived from its Low Carbon Business Policy, which aims to reduce fuel, energy and water consumption as well as reduce waste. This report details the progress made by the business.

Carbon management

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

SIG's carbon footprint accounting process in the UK and Ireland has been externally verified since 2009. In 2014 the scope of the verification was extended to cover all SIG Group businesses and activities when the business "achieved limited verification" to ISO 14064-3 and 2016 is the third year that we have attained the standard. This accreditation has been achieved through a detailed assessment, both qualitative and quantitative, of the Group's Greenhouse Gas ("GHG") emissions assertions.

SIG continues to publish its carbon footprint and emissions targets on its website and through the Group's submission to the Carbon Disclosure Project. In 2015, SIG achieved a disclosure score of 95% with a performance band of "C". Under the new scoring methodology in 2016, SIG achieved a performance band "B" against an average of all respondents of "C".

The Group continues its investment in both capital projects and energy efficient technology installations across the property portfolio, including refurbishment of existing buildings, along with the fit out of new sites. Together with the continued consolidation and upgrade of the Group's road vehicle fleet, this has contributed to the continued reduction in the Group's GHG emissions.

Road Risk Policy

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 of the Policy.

The Accident Review Panels continue to be effective in identifying high risk areas, enabling the Group's operational management to focus their attention accordingly. During 2016, a more defined reporting process was designed and implemented, which provides detailed information for each operating company down to regional and branch level. The Group shares this information with its insurers and brokers.

The Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme ("FORS") is an overarching 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. The FORS scheme is expected to grow in 2017, with changes to the criteria for each element. The SIG fleet compliance team is continuing to work with the operators to maintain and improve their status levels.

How to minimise the risk to vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians remains one of our highest priorities. SIG is an active champion of the Construction Logistics and Cyclist Safety group. SIG has also taken part in Safer Urban Driving courses, which are essential to SIG drivers in understanding the cyclist's point of view. New innovative solutions are being tested, such as lower windows in vehicle doors to improve visibility. SIG will continue to work with the major manufacturers in developing new processes.

Transport

Along with electricity, road vehicle fuel consumption makes up 88.9% of the Group's total carbon footprint emissions (2015: 89.8%). Due to the growth of the business through acquisition, the number of vehicles and delivery miles has increased in 2016 compared to 2015. However the business has maintained an overall reduction in its emissions from fuel consumption against the base year of 2010 of 13.6%.

Early gains were made largely through: greater efficiency in journey planning and the replacement of older vehicles with new vehicles; the introduction of vehicles fitted with energy reducing features; the introduction of the driver eco training programmes; and accurate efficiency measurement through the Masternaught Telematics programme. These have enabled the business to maintain the downward trend during a period of expansion.

SIG continued in 2016 to measure absolute consumption and target reductions across the core business. This was achieved through further consolidation of its branches and sharing of its fleet, whilst targeting efficiencies across the broader business in terms of improved kilometre per litre ratios to take account of the impact of SIG's plans for business growth.

The five-year Driver Certificate of Professional Competence ("CPC") training programme continued throughout 2016 in the UK, Ireland and Mainland Europe in compliance with EU legislation. Group purchases of new commercial vehicles are now of Euro 6 standard and comply with the latest emission rules for all "Low Emission" zones across Europe and the proposed new ultra-low emission zone intended for London in 2019.

In order to further improve the efficiency of vehicle routing, fuel consumption and enable accurate mileage measurement, the programme to install telematics in commercial vehicles has now been completed in all commercial vehicles under operational control across the Group.

Implementation of a Vehicle Routing and Scheduling System ("VRS") has commenced within the UK. The VRS solution is a Group-wide initiative and will be implemented across Mainland Europe where appropriate.

SIG bolstered its support for drivers with an auditing and advice programme through its fleet management trainers. The highlight of this year's programme was the Driver of the Year competition which reached its conclusion in June 2016. Awards were issued in several categories and the overall winner was Jed Hazelden from SIG Roofing in Huddersfield.

A review of the company car policy within SIG has led to the introduction of hybrid and Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicles ("PHEVs") as an option. The hybrid vehicles are more fuel efficient through the use of on board battery technology, when compared with their normal diesel or petrol counterparts. These types of vehicle are more tax beneficial for the individual user.

Energy

Emissions from electricity consumption in 2016 accounted for 14.4% of the Group's Scope 1 and 2 emissions (2015: 14.7%). SIG continues to invest in capital projects including energy efficient movement and daylight sensored LED lighting facilities for all its new and refurbished installations, along with energy efficient heating and cooling systems and hand driers. In 2016 SIG invested £0.4m on such energy efficient projects. This has not only improved the efficiency of the building stock, but provided a safer working environment.

The ongoing carbon reduction programme has been influenced by the statutory carbon reporting programme, Energy Saving Opportunities Scheme ("ESOS"). The business has identified a range of energy and fuel saving opportunities, through accurate and full data accounting processes and verified energy efficiency audits.

SIG has worked in close partnership with Carbon Credentials over the past two years to continuously improve the data accounting process, achieve the ISO standard and more recently, meet all the requirements of the UK Government's statutory ESOS. This has resulted in a continuous downward trend for carbon emissions for SIG over the past five years.

The energy efficiency opportunities identified through ESOS and ongoing audit processes continue to feed into the objectives for the business for 2017 and beyond. Due to an increase in the number of operational sites, headcount and turnover, emissions from electricity consumption in 2016 compared to 2015 increased by 0.5%.

Greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions

SIG reports on all emission sources as required under the Large and Medium-Sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008 as amended in August 2013. As witnessed by SIG's commitment to achieve the ISO 14064-3 standard for the third year running in 2016, the business is committed to providing full and accurate data for its carbon footprint across all of its operational businesses. In order to maintain accurate and consistent data, SIG uses the emission factors from the UK Government's GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting 2014 to calculate its GHG disclosures.

SIG's emission accounting period is non-coterminous with the Group's financial year, with current year data reflecting the year to 30 September 2016. This enables the Group's businesses to dedicate the appropriate time and resource to enable more accurate carbon reporting, employing actual data as opposed to estimates. In 2016, 96% of calculations are based on actual data. Estimates are prepared on the basis of agreed and verified accounting processes.

The Group's carbon footprint includes: Scope 1 CO2 emissions, for which businesses are directly responsible, and Scope 2 CO2 emissions from the generation of electricity by a third party resulting in indirect emissions. The Group has also disclosed Scope 3 CO2 emissions over which the business has limited control, being third party air and rail transportation.

Since 2013 and including 2016, the processes and procedures used to account for the Group's Carbon Footprint have been audited and assessed by Carbon Credentials, who on each occasion have provided a "limited verification" to ISO 14064-3. As a result, the Group's accreditation to the Carbon Trust Standard was allowed to lapse in 2015.

Due to an increase in the number of operational sites, headcount and turnover, a small increase of 2.4% in Scope 1 and 2 emissions was recorded in the last reporting year. However, the Group still recorded a reduction of 15.1% compared to the base year of 2010.

For the same reasons, the overall footprint of the business for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions also showed a small increase of 2.7% in the last reporting year; again however, the Group recorded a reduction of 15% compared to the base year of 2010.

CO2 emissions – Scope 1 – Direct

Metric tonnes
2016
Metric tonnes
2015
Metric tonnes
2014
Metric tonnes
2013
Road vehicle fuel emissions164,51063,35265,68668,560
Plant vehicle fuel emissions25,3354,5624,9934,934
Natural gas32,8942,7722,4523,372
Coal/coke for heating451455552
Heating fuels (Kerosene & LPG)57228018321,313
Total73,51271,53274,01878,231

Data source and collection methods

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

CO2 emissions – Scope 2 – Indirect

Metric tonnes
2016
Metric tonnes
2015
Metric tonnes
2014
Metric tonnes
2013
Electricity112,37112,30712,87013,142

Data source and collection methods

  1. Consumption in kWh converted according to BEIS guidelines.

CO2 emissions – Scope 3 – Other indirect

Metric tonnes
2016
Metric tonnes
2015
Metric tonnes
2014
Metric tonnes
2013
Third-party provided transport (air and rail)1586352405308

Data source and collection methods

  1. Distance travelled converted according to BEIS guidelines.
Emission per £m of revenueMetric tonnes
2016
Metric tonnes
2015
Metric tonnes
2014
Metric tonnes
2013
Scope 125.827.928.028.8
Scope 24.44.84.94.8
Scopes 1 & 2 as required by GHG Protocol30.232.732.933.6
Scope 30.20.10.20.1
Scopes 1, 2 & 330.432.833.133.7

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 includes the businesses classified as discontinued at 31 December 2016.

Water consumption

More than 95% of the Group's water consumption is consumed for welfare purposes. Water efficiency is a key element of the specification for new and refurbished properties and facilities, including dual flush and cistern management systems for toilet facilities. SIG continues to identify significant opportunities for water consumption efficiencies through the branch audit and bill validation process.

There remain only two low usage manufacturing sites in Southport (UK) and Alizay (France) that use water as part of a manufacturing process. However, SIG does recognise that potable water is a precious resource and continues to maintain its water recycling and reuse practices at these locations.

Litres
('000)
2016
Litres
('000)
2015
Litres
('000)
2014
Litres
('000)
2013
Third-party provided water supply from national network for processes and welfare116,122104,999106,546107,604

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

Waste management

Each of the Group's businesses partners with a waste management business to provide waste segregation and recycling facilities. The processes are monitored through centrally managed contracts and through the environmental audit and inspections process. Where practicable, waste bailers and compactors are provided to maximise opportunities and minimise storage and welfare risks.

In order to enable the businesses to comply with their Producer Responsibility Obligations under waste management legislation, SIG has partnered with its suppliers to provide for waste take-back schemes for its customers in respect of materials. Take-back schemes include plasterboard and plaster products, uPVC windows, fibre ceiling tiles, vinyl floor covering materials and batteries.

Due to the difficulties in measuring and quantifying the amount of waste disposed of in a year, the key measurement of performance for waste management remains the percentage of waste diverted from landfill. However, the Group continues its programme to reduce overall the amount of waste generated, by adopting paperless delivery processes, online activity reports and the consolidation of photocopying and printing facilities.

SIG is a break bulk supplier of products, which means that a large amount of packaging is opened on the premises. This is viewed as a significant opportunity to reduce waste in the system. By reusing opened packaging products and with the operation of packaging return schemes for items like pallets and bearers, branches actively minimise their "backdoor" waste.

SIG is a member of the Valpak compliance scheme and continues to comply with its commitments under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations.

Hazardous waste

Absolute
tonnes*
2016
Absolute
tonnes*
2015
Absolute
tonnes
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Landfill526013
Recycled872841139
Incinerated65
Total9230101217
Absolute
tonnes*
2016
Absolute
tonnes*
2015
Absolute
tonnes
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Hazardous waste per £m of revenue0.030.010.040.08

Non-hazardous waste

Absolute
tonnes*
2016
Absolute
tonnes*
2015
Absolute
tonnes
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Landfill4,4264,4695,6264,283
Incinerated8151212
Total4,4344,4845,6384,295

Other waste diverted from landfill

Absolute
tonnes*
2016
Absolute
tonnes*
2015
Absolute
tonnes
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
WEEE (Waste, Electrical and Electronic Equipment)7285
Glass5133
Wood1,5861,1459041,324
Metal1,0721,2491,098977
Plasterboard+1959732,5021,258
Paper/cardboard1,2127475881,024
Plastic267353383440
Other8,6018,2846,57310,860
Total12,94512,75412,05915,891
Absolute
tonnes*
2016
Absolute
tonnes*
2015
Absolute
tonnes
2014
Absolute
tonnes
2013
Non-hazardous and other waste per £m of revenue6.15.06.77.4

* Volume per annum converted to tonnes.

+ Recycling facility withdrawn in 2015.

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

Health, safety and environment

The Board member responsible for health and safety is the Chief Executive, who is the signatory to the Group's Health, Safety and Environmental Policy, which is displayed in the local language at each operating branch. The Group's health and safety programme is managed and supported by the Group Health, Safety and Environment Manager and a team of directly employed health, safety and environment professionals in each part of the Group.

Having been launched at the Group Leadership Conference in 2014 by the Chief Executive, SIG is in its third year of the Zero Harm health and safety programme. The aim of the programme is to embed health and safety in to the day-to-day management of the branch network, with line management retaining ownership of health and safety, along with a move away from compliance-based auditing to a risk-based process.

The Group's Health and Safety management system is modelled on the internationally recognised Health and Safety Standard BS-OHSAS 18001:2007. The management system in the SIG UK businesses has been audited and accredited to the standard for more than 10 years through its partnership with Intertek.

The success of the Zero Harm programme has been endorsed for the second year in succession by the achievement of the Gold RoSPA Occupational Health & Safety award in 2016. Despite this being a UK award scheme, the submission represents the Group's health and safety programme and the achievement reflects SIG's ongoing commitment to raising the standards for health and safety management across the Group. It recognises the leadership of management at all levels in taking ownership of health and safety and driving the key initiatives, as well as the hard work and dedication of the Health and Safety team across the Group.

A key element of the success to date has been the introduction of the RoSPA accredited SIG Certificate in Health, Safety and Environmental Management modular training programme, delivered to managers and supervisors. The programme continued throughout 2016, and has been supplemented with regionally based training workshops in 'Supervising Safely', 'Working Safely' and 'Work at Height', targeting local supervisors and branch employees.

In 2016 members of SIG's Senior Leadership Team, led by the Chief Executive, completed the 1,000th site inspection as part of the 'Safety Walks' programme launched in 2014. The programme, linked to the business incentive scheme, and supported by an awareness training package, requires Senior Leaders to engage directly with operational personnel to deliver the site safety culture message, and provide feedback and support to line management. The programme includes a compulsory 'back to the shop-floor' style element, which involves shadowing a driver carrying out a routine delivery run. This is in recognition of the potential risk posed to drivers by road travel and accessing construction sites.

The launch of the SIG Charter for Zero Harm in 2016 helped to revitalise the programme and provide a new impetus towards the development of a branch safety culture. The Charter is based on the business' eight key commitments including leadership, communication, near-miss reporting, continual improvement and benchmarking.

The programme was cascaded through a comprehensive communication package of: personal messages from Managing Directors to employees' home addresses; business presentations; tool box talks; workshops; posters; e-learning and monthly information updates.

In addition, employees at operational sites have signed up to a poster displayed in each location committing them to six simple promises to:

  • Always follow training and safe procedures, showing respect for self and others by not taking risks.
  • Always use the guards, safety devices, personal protection and any other equipment provided for safety.
  • Always report all hazards, near misses or situations that are thought to be unsafe to a supervisor, and not 'just walk by'.
  • Let colleagues and others know if it is thought they are working in an unsafe way risking themselves or others. Being committed to encouraging safety and safe behaviour.
  • Always maintain high housekeeping standards using a 'tidy-as-you-go' approach.
  • Always work to SIG's 'Life Saving Rules'.

SIG's 'Life Saving Rules' have been developed based on its Risk Profile with 12 basic rules which will be communicated individually at regular intervals in 2017.

The provision of dedicated health safety and environment professionals across the Group enables the implementation of a robust Risk Assessment and Management Review process through which the key health and safety risks are identified. The Risk Profile of the Group is reviewed annually to inform the Group's Health & Safety Plan.

Occupational road risk and traffic management remain the principal risk areas in terms of potential severity, and remain areas for focus for 2017. Manufacturing also remains an area of focus with a growing number of sites in the Group. In 2016 the Health and Safety support team was restructured, to provide a strategic Health and Safety post for managing manufacturing, with the development of three additional support posts to give greater focus to providing advice and support to the businesses and to manage the plan for continuous improvement.

SIG's Offsite activities continued to expand in 2016 and the restructuring of the Health, Safety and Environment support team carried out in 2016 included the provision of a Health and Safety Manager for construction, and the recruitment of a Health and Safety Advisor to support the activities of the business. The businesses continue to enjoy accreditation to Achilles, CHAS, and BOPAS.

The Zero Harm programme continues to deliver significant reductions in accidents, both in terms of numbers and rates per 1,000 employees. Since its launch in 2014, the Accident Incident Rate ('over three day' and 'specified major injury') has fallen by 33% across the Group, and the number of accidents in this category has fallen by 28%. The rate of RIDDOR reportable accidents and equivalent have reduced over that time for both the Group (37%) and the UK & Ireland (44%).

The Group has a zero tolerance to any employee being unfit for work due to drugs or alcohol. Following the delivery of a comprehensive information and education cascade programme in the second half of 2015, a programme of random testing was introduced in the UK & Ireland for employees and subcontractors engaged in safety critical roles. This complimented the existing 'for cause' testing programme. The purpose of the policy is to minimise the risk of injury at work due to alcohol and substance misuse. The target set for 10% of employees to be tested across all businesses was achieved ahead of time. The small percentage of failed tests was largely for prohibited substances and was identified through the 'for cause' process. These instances were dealt with through the formal HR Disciplinary process. A six-month review of the programme was conducted and revealed very high pass rates for both drug and alcohol testing in both the 'for cause' and random categories. As a result, the programme will continue throughout 2017 unchanged, with a further review in the second quarter.

Accidents and incidents

UK & Ireland

Rate per 1,000 employees
2016201520142013
Major injury2.22.32.83.6
Injury resulting in over three absence days from work7.110.812.011.2
All RIDDORs6.310.611.413.4
Average UK & Ireland headcount5,3675,1744,9845,070
Lost work day rate – number of work days per 100 employees22.926.835.823.3

Group

Rate per 1,000 employees
2016201520142013
Major injury1.82.22.22.8
Injury resulting in over three absence days from work9.512.015.016.7
All RIDDORs (equivalent)*8.212.013.316.5
Average Group headcount10,3159,6419,4549,806

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

Quality assurance and management systems

The Group's management systems are maintained to a high standard through management review and internal auditing. A supplier approval process is in place 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 and chain of custody management systems are externally certificated to ISO 9001:2008, FSC0STD 04-004 and PEFC-ST 2002:2013 standards. These universally recognised standards are fully integrated into the daily operations of the business and ensure that the products and services consistently meet customers' expectations. It also ensures that quality and responsible procurement is constantly maintained and improved. The Group's ongoing commitment to maintaining the highest possible quality standard is demonstrated by the re-certification of its UK ISO 9001:2008 accreditation in 2016.

Community

We actively support the communities in which we operate, through a range of activities.

In Germany, for example, our WeGo business was the main sponsor for this year's Hanau Soap Box Derby. Hosted by the not-for-profit Hanau Family Network Association, the proceeds of the event were used to build a children's play area at a local after-school care centre. Our employees organised a drinks stand, provided the transport of soap boxes, and also took part in the race. In total, our people volunteered around 400 hours for the project.

In the UK, our SIG Distribution business sponsored Construction United and, in particular, Construction Week – a week of events aiming to raise awareness around key issues in the construction sector. For example, the 'Big Brew Break' brought together construction workers to highlight mental health problems in the industry. £4,400 was also raised for Construction United's charity partners, The Prince's Trust, CRASH and Mind.

Charitable donations

SIG employees participate in a variety of activities, from sporting events to mountain hikes, to support both local and national charities.

Some highlights from this year include: an employee in the UK who walked 70 miles and raised almost £34,500 for The Indee Rose Trust (an organisation that helps children with brain or spinal tumours); and colleagues from our UK roofing business, SIG Exteriors, who took part in the AJ Bell London Triathlon and raised more than £43,000 for Great Ormond Street Hospital and Macmillan Cancer Support. As a Group, we operate a matched funding scheme to support employees' charitable efforts by matching donations up to £500 (or equivalent), and we help to publicise their fundraising activities.

We also make charitable donations as an organisation. For example, SIG Germany matched employees' charitable donations to Aktion Deutschland Hilft, a union of organisations providing humanitarian aid abroad. A total of €48,000 was donated to the cause. Similarly, our Air Handling business entered a partnership with the European Federation of Allergy and Airways Diseases Patients' Associations (EFA). As a Group we donated £10,000 to the EFA this year.

In 2016, the Group donated £64,359 to charity (2015: £99,451), including donations made through our matched funding scheme.

It is the Group's policy not to make political donations and no such donations were made in the year (2015: £nil).

Employees in the UK can also make charitable donations through our payroll giving scheme. In 2016, £14,490 was raised through this scheme.