Sustainable Development can be defined in many ways. Common definitions include meeting the needs of the world today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In financial language, it means living on income rather than consuming finite capital. In family terms, it means not cheating on our children.
Contributing to a more sustainable world
The debate about Sustainable Development has been ongoing since the late 1980s and the Brundtland Commission's report. Since the late 1990s, Skanska has been exploring and defining how it can, within its direct sphere of influence, contribute to a more sustainable world. Since 2002 this commitment has been built into corporate policies including our Code of Conduct and our Five Zero vision – zero loss-making projects, zero environmental incidents, zero work-place accidents, zero ethical breaches and zero defects. These values drive what we try to do to contribute to a more sustainable world.
Using the Global Reporting Initiative
In 2006, Skanska started using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) as its guiding Sustainability framework. Using this generic agenda, Skanska has developed its own Sustainability Agenda to better focus strategies and actions that balance the never-ending trade-off between Economic, Social and Environmental considerations; the so-called “Triple Bottom Line.”
The complexity of our organization
Skanska is a complex and highly decentralized company. Over a year, 58,000 colleagues and perhaps four times as many subcontractors are executing some 10,000 projects for customers in our Home Markets. Being project based, the organization is constantly changing shape as teams of employees and subcontractors form, disband and reform over the lifetime of a project. The workforce “churn rate” at project level can be as much as 20-40% per month. Consequently, measuring true Sustainability performance using conventional methods such as baselines is difficult, if not sometimes impossible.
Nevertheless, our commitment to contribute to a more sustainable world is resolute. However, the ongoing implementation challenge is very real and highly demanding - our success or failure lies in the hands of our people at project level. We try to plan ahead and we do our best to address the opportunities and challenges that are, or could be, linked to our activities.
Our values drive what we do to contribute to a more sustainable world. On the following pages we point out opportunities and challenges that we face, the policies and strategies we employ to address these and evidence that we do our best to “walk the talk”.