Provident Financial is represented in some of the main sustainability indices and funds. For the third year running we have been included in the FTSE4Good index. This index has been designed to measure the performance of companies that meet globally recognised corporate responsibility standards, and to facilitate investment in those companies. Also, for the first time, we were included in the Dow Jones EUROSTOXX Sustainability index which acts as a benchmark for the performance of leading European sustainability driven companies.
We have been named as one of the 'Top 100 Companies that Count' by the Sunday Times for our CR performance in 2004. This was judged by the UK based Business in the Community (BiTC) index on CR, which looks at the extent to which responsible business practice is integrated into corporate strategy throughout an organisation. It provides a benchmark for companies to compare their management practice across the four areas of community, environment, workplace and the marketplace, as well as their performance in a range of social and environmental impact areas, which are material for the business. We were 97th in the ranking in 2003 and moved up to 69th in 2004. The score for the CR index was 81%, a 7% increase on last year, and for the Business in the Environment index (BiE – part of the BitC CR index) we scored 90%, a 6% increase on last year. You can see BitC's detailed feedback on our website at www.providentfinancial.com.
Achieving good scores in these indices was an important accomplishment but the same process also highlighted areas that need improvement in 2005. These include more CR training for employees, the inclusion of social and environmental criteria in product development, focusing measurement and reporting of diversity, enhancing our supply chain work, and improving our reporting on waste. We are proud of what we have achieved already but are determined to strive for further improvements over the coming years.