For the common good

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Social responsibility Corporate social responsibility Marston

Rightyl or wrongly, stock markets have long been associated more with avarice than environmentally-friendly business practices. But the commercial...

Rightyl or wrongly, stock markets have long been associated more with avarice than environmentally-friendly business practices.

But the commercial benefits to companies 'doing the right thing' have become increasingly apparent recently. Pub companies and brewers are all too aware of the need to improve their operating systems in order to reduce energy costs, both for their own bottom line and that of the environment.

Some are striving for even more recognition of their efforts. Enterprise Inns, Whitbread, Scottish & Newcastle, JD Wetherspoon and Marston's are the only UK pub sector companies in something called the FTSE4Good Index, probably about as 'green' as investment monitoring can get.

Created in 2001, the index is designed to provide investors with the chance to buy into companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility (CR) standards.

As FTSE spokeswoman Sabrina Bhangoo puts it: "There is increasing interest among investors and companies around the world in the corporate management of environmental and CR issues.

There is also an expectation among the investment community that there will be an increasing cost associated with carbon and that those companies with the greatest carbon efficiencies will be better positioned to deliver greater returns.

"The FTSE4Good Index helps investors identify these companies. More importantly, it encourages improvements across hundreds of companies and in this way could be seen to support international efforts to curb emissions."

Marston's joined the ranks of the index towards the end of last year and its inclusion has delighted Stephen Oliver, managing director of Marston's Pub Company, the group's tenanted and leased arm.

"We are thrilled with our entry into the index, which is a clear sign that we are on the right track," says Oliver, who is also chairman of the brewer's Environmental and Corporate Social Responsibility Committee.

"Hopefully everyone within the organisation has gained a greater understanding of the role that they can play - whether it's a major energy efficiency initiative or simply turning off lights. Our inclusion within the FTSE4-Good is an important reflection on the company as a whole and indicates that staff have accepted a shared responsibility for these issues.

"We need to ensure that we continue to focus on these areas and identify additional improvements that we can make."

According to Oliver, qualifying for inclusion into the index meant Marston's proving it met the appropriate criteria in a range of areas, including environmental and social issues.

"Considering Marston's application, the FTSE4Good Index committee would have looked at Marston's recent work on reducing its environmental impact," Oliver says.

The inclusion in the index "reflects the hard work of the active energy management systems operated in Marston's breweries and the contribution made by Marston's energy manager Bob Jauncey, which has resulted in energy savings at head offices and across the pub estate", he adds.

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