FirstGroup Tops FTSE4Good Transport Ranking
FirstGroup plc, the leading private sector provider of public transport, has been included in the latest FTSE4Good Index, ranking as the top performing bus and rail operator globally in the travel and tourism sector.
Launched in 2001, the FTSE4Good Index Series is designed to measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong Environmental, social, and Governance (ESG) practices.
These indices are subsequently used by a wide variety of asset managers, investors, and other market participants when creating or assessing sustainable investment products.
FirstGroup, which has been included in the FTSE4Good Index for the last 20 years, ranked as the top performing company globally in the travel and tourism sector. FirstGroup achieved a score of 4.5 out of 5, improving on last year’s score of 4.1/5, compared to the sector average of 2.7/5.
The score improvement was mainly driven by the Group’s improved approach to climate risk and decarbonisation. This includes voluntarily aligning with Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) reporting, which helps to set out the possible impact of climate change risks and opportunities on the business in the future.
The company also recently announced it has set a near‑term science‑based emissions reduction target, approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), aligned with the ambition of the Paris Agreement to limit annual average temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre‑industrial levels.
FirstGroup has a fleet of more than 8,000 buses and rail vehicles across the UK, carrying more than 1.8m passengers per day. The Group’s transport services contribute to society’s environmental objectives, including climate change mitigation and air quality improvements, by driving modal shift from cars to buses and trains.
As the UK’s largest rail operator, FirstGroup has an important contribution to make in meeting the challenges of climate change by working with partners to reduce carbon emissions through several initiatives.
This includes the introduction of electric trains to replace diesel where possible while using its expertise and capability to help the Government deliver on its ambition to remove all diesel-only trains from service in the UK by 2040.
Its Avanti West Coast rail business recently achieved a key milestone in its project to replace old diesel trains with new electric and bi‑mode trains last year by commencing testing of two trains on the West Coast Main Line for the first time.
The Group’s First Bus business has committed to achieving a zero-emission bus fleet by 2035. Last year, the Glasgow Caledonia depot completed its transformation into the largest electric vehicle charging hub in the UK.
By March 2024, First Bus will have more than 600 zero emission buses in its fleet and four fully electric depots in England, the first outside London. The Group has committed investment of c.£105m in 2023/24 on First Bus decarbonisation, including the installation of 143 ultra-fast chargers, supported by government co funding of £82m.
Graham Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer of FirstGroup, said: “We are delighted to be the top performing rail and bus operator in the FTSE4Good Index this year. We have been included in the index for the past 20 years, and we are pleased to have improved our score from last year. Our services play a critical role in creating a connected, healthy, zero carbon world, contributing to local prosperity and growth, reducing congestion on the roads, improving air quality, and helping to reduce carbon emissions.”
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