A child holding a fuel lead into a car - Our progress

Our progress

Welcome to our non-financial performance highlights for the 2018/19 reporting year. Sharing our performance and how we are progressing with you is an important part of understanding the impact we have on society and identifying what improvements we can make in the future.

Foreword from our Chief Executive

Welcome to our 2018/19 non-financial performance report 

An important part of what we do at National Grid is to exceed the expectations of our communities as we bring energy to life.  We do this by providing a safe and reliable service, and by helping our communities to thrive.  We realise that from time-to-time, our work can have a negative impact on communities, so we work closely with them to reduce this impact and to help support their social and economic needs.

Becoming a purpose-led organisation 

We believe it is crucial to have a clear sense of what we stand for as a Company.  Our purpose and how we conduct ourselves is increasingly important.  Given the role we play at the heart of society, we are acutely aware of this and it guides what we do.  I truly believe that a purpose-led company delivers superior performance for all its stakeholders.  We have made great strides to embed purpose into our organisation, and in 2019, we are undertaking a holistic review of the impact our business has on our society and on a sustainable future.  Going forward this work will help us to build on our purpose to Bring energy to Life, our values to ‘find a better way’ and 'do the right thing' and our vision to ‘exceed expectations of the people we serve and make possible the energy systems of tomorrow’.

Environmental sustainability

Our environmental sustainability performance was strong in 2018/19.  We’ve continued to play a central role in the decarbonisation agenda, progressing with the construction of our interconnectors which, by 2030, will deliver 90% zero- carbon energy.  And in the US, we’ve sought funding for over 17,000 electric vehicle charging points, and the smart meter infrastructure including the installation of over 2.3 million gas and electric meters.

We’re making good progress in reducing our own carbon footprint.  We’ve already reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 68% to meet our 2020 carbon reduction target of 45% and we’re now assessing our target for 2050 to make sure our plans are ambitious enough. For the third consecutive year, we were delighted to be recognised as one of the 126 companies globally and one of only eight UK companies to achieve a position on the climate change A List (out of 7,000 submissions) for our performance in reporting and mitigating the impact of climate change.  We were also named a CDP Supplier Engagement Leader in response to our active engagement from our procurement team members with our suppliers on climate change.

In 2018, as our environmental strategy continued to evolve, we took steps to improve the sustainability of our offices.  In the UK, we completed many energy and water efficiency projects and achieved energy reductions in our offices of 9%.

We’re finding better ways of managing our office waste, including working with our supply chain to prevent waste being generated.  For example, we have pledged to eliminate single-use plastic from sale in our offices by 2020, and have already taken steps to remove plastic cutlery, straws, stirrers and cups at our UK headquarters in Warwick.

Supporting communities 

Giving back to the communities in which we operate is important to us that’s why we encourage our employees to volunteer and fundraise to support the needs of many charities and community organisations.  Collectively through our responsible business activities this year we have provided a combined Group-wide total of £54 million and 6,780 hours of volunteering time.  We also provide community grants to support a range of projects that help to deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to many local communities. 

Earlier this year, in the UK we announced a new fundraising partnership with youth, education and social action charity; City Year UK, where we have committed to raise £150,000 by April 2020.  This support will help the charity to recruit more volunteers Mentors and to get their year of service formally recognised as an accredited programme.

Every day we connect millions of people safely, reliably and efficiently to the energy they use; however, fuel poverty is still a big issue. That’s why this year, we allocated a further £49.3 million to our Warm Homes Fund helping to address fuel poverty across England, Scotland and Wales.  This brings the total to £107 million since July 2017 and the installation of 32,000 first-time central heating systems to many vulnerable households.

In the US, we also have energy efficiency programmes in place to help residential, commercial and industrial customers reduce their energy consumption, save money and contribute to a more sustainable planet.

People

At National Grid, the culture we strive for stems from embracing our values - every day we do the right thing and find a better way.  We create an inclusive, equal and fair working environment in which our people can make a positive contribution, develop their careers and reach their full potential. 

Our future talent pipeline is fundamental to the success of our business.  We need to make sure that we have highly motivated people, with the right skills, working for us and helping to equip us for the future.  We continue to nurture the talent and capability of our employees and our commitment to inclusion and diversity.  Women now make up 32.1% of our management population and 10.6% come from ethnic minorities, but we recognise we still need to do more.

We are working hard to continue to inspire the talent of the future with the promotion of careers, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and support young people from a wide range of backgrounds to follow rewarding careers in these areas.  During 2018/19, I was delighted to hear that our US business had created a record number of opportunities for students and graduates, with 63 graduate development opportunities and 206 interns due to start in the Summer of this year.

These are just a few of the highlights from 2018/19 that demonstrate our commitment to carrying out our business activities in a responsible manner.

To find out more about our non-financial performance please explore our 2018/19 online report.

John Pettigrew
Chief Executive