Case study

Rathbones: creating top of the range reporting, year on year

‘Carbon Smart’s team provided us with invaluable advice. Their passion and commitment in what they do help us to more clearly understand where our CSR programme could lead us and how we could get there.’

Richard LoaderCompany Secretary, Rathbones

Ambitious plans to improve annual reports

Rathbones is a leading independent provider of investment and wealth management; they have 14 offices across the UK and manage over £20 billion in funds for their clients, which range from private investors to charities and trustees. As part of Rathbones’ commitment to continuously improving their CSR reporting process, they engaged Carbon Smart to help them produce a better annual report, which would be satisfactory to all stakeholders and cover all UK sites.

Rathbones has engaged Carbon Smart each year for five years, to help them produce a comprehensive annual report. Keen to demonstrate that interventions to the way they operate are impacting on their sustainability performance in a range of business areas, Rathbones looked to Carbon Smart to suggest innovative ways of presenting their figures. A special focus on resource-use and waste was requested, as well as a detailed breakdown of their carbon footprint, so that impact could be assessed in a great level of detail.

Optimise and adapt reporting to evolving needs

With such a diverse data set to work from, a clear and unified process for capturing and reporting was important, while at the same time making sure the client’s time input was kept to a minimum. Rathbones have a well-developed reporting arm, with established corporate reporting protocols that needed to be adhered to, so it was essential that the Carbon Smart team found ways to express the year-on-year progress without compromising these. Not only this, but the data needed to be presented succinctly so that time-scarce executives found it informative and directive, without it being cumbersome to read.

Originally revolving entirely around energy data, Carbon Smart has built up Rathbones’ reporting to include waste, water, paper and business travel. As their business changes over time, adding new office locations and removing assets from the reporting scope, the carbon footprinting method also needs to be updated with rebaselining carried out to take account of the changes. Carbon Smart has worked with Rathbones to both manage the scope of reporting and track the quality of their reporting to drive improvements, ensuring accuracy and comparability of the final results. Carbon Smart helps Rathbones present these results in their corporate responsibility report to ensure that they are presented in a transparent and robust manner, accessible to all stakeholders.

Award-winning reports

Rathbones has achieved an absolute reduction of 5% in their total tonnes CO2 since 2007/8. At the same time, their business has expanded; for every billion pounds of funds they have under management they produce 131 tCO2, a 45% relative reduction since 2007/8. The complete range of Rathbone’s impacts are now presented in their reporting, from paper use to travel in terms of CO2, allowing them to look down their supply chain and focus their efforts on the most significant impacts and consider where changes to operations are possible. The cumulative data stacked up from 5 years tracking resource use and waste generation has enabled Rathbones to communicate how well they are decoupling these impacts from their ongoing business success.

Rathbones won the ‘Best Sustainability and Stakeholder disclosure – FTSE 250’ category in 2014 against great competition for the quality of their 2013 annual reports and accounts. They were shortlisted three times for the same category, in 2009, 2010 and 2014.