Go-Ahead Group is a publicly listed company headquartered in the United Kingdom. In 2021 its revenue was USD 5.2 billion. Go-Ahead is a public transport provider with bus and rail operations in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Singapore, Norway and Germany. Nearly a quarter of London buses are operated by Go-Ahead. In August 2022 it was purchased by Kinetic Group and Globalvia and its shares will be delisted from the London Stock Exchange.
Go-Ahead develops offers favouring low-carbon public transport and shifting demand from highly emissive private modes of transportation. This is a substantial activity for the company. The company also engages with the government on several topics including passenger volume recovery, which in the case of a public transport operator means changing passenger behaviour patterns and shifting demand from private cars towards public transport. Additionally, the company is involved in the development of the national bus strategy, rail reform and environmental policies. The company is on track to be profitable in the low-carbon economy.
Go-Ahead has a target to reduce absolute scope 1 and 2 emissions by 75% by 2035 compared to 2020. The target is validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as aligned with the company’s 1.5°C pathway. However, the company lacks any short-term targets. To demonstrate commitment to the low-carbon transition and incentivise immediate action, the company should set short-term targets as well as regularly spaced intermediate targets. The company aims to become net zero by 2045. This target includes an unspecified quantity of offsets, which reduces the need for direct action.
Go-Ahead does not disclose its passenger numbers, as it is contracted on the basis of mileage. Therefore, the company could not be assessed on its alignment with the carbon budget or its fleet locked-in emissions. The company should disclose its passenger numbers and distance travelled by bus and rail to allow the assessment of its emissions intensities and comparison with other public transport providers. Better analysis of its emissions intensities expressed in gCO2e per passenger.km will allow the company to find new emissions reduction opportunities and offer more flexible solutions to its customers.
Go-Ahead introduced various innovations such as air-filtering buses and buses fitted with ultra-light solar panels. Go-Ahead sponsored the Billion Journey Project, a project around transport innovation and technology proof of concept. Several start-ups participated in this project, developing digital solutions for transport optimisation and behavioural change. However, it is not clear if Go-Ahead is investing in any of these start-ups. The company can improve the credibility of its decarbonisation planning by disclosing its investments in research & development (R&D) and making financial commitments to continue investing in innovation.
In its decarbonisation roadmap, the company acknowledged the importance of key stakeholder engagement for a successful transition. The company’s success relies on public funding to a large extent. However, Go-Ahead does not publish a detailed engagement plan. It is not clear how the company will secure the funds required for decarbonisation, drive customers’ behavioural change and collaborate with suppliers and investors. The company should develop a detailed strategy including actions and policies to influence its stakeholders to reduce their emissions.
Go-Ahead receives a trend score of -. If the company were reassessed in the near future, its score would likely decrease. Go-Ahead does not disclose sufficient data to assess its emissions intensity trend or the alignment of its past, current or future performance with its carbon budget. The company has not set ambitious short-term emissions reduction targets and there is no evidence of strong financial commitment to decarbonisation. The company has not developed a robust transition plan or stakeholder engagement strategy.
Go-Ahead set a target to reduce overall emissions by 75% by 2035 compared to 2020 and to become net zero by 2045, using offsets for any residual emissions. The 2035 target was validated by SBTi. Go-Ahead also aims to decarbonise its rail fleet and convert its entire UK bus fleet to zero-emission vehicles by 2035.
Go-Ahead has only developed a strategy and a high-level roadmap to decarbonisation. It plans to increase the proportion of electric buses in London and replace diesel regional buses. Rail decarbonisation depends on track and infrastructure developments. All actions are subject to public funding.
Go-Ahead purchased 99 new electric buses at a cost of over £40 million in 2020. Electric buses currently make up 6% of its London bus fleet. However, the company does not disclose its investments in R&D and has not made any financial commitments toward decarbonisation.
The company does not disclose its passenger numbers as it is contracted on the basis of mileage. Consequently, it is not possible to assess the company’s past emissions intensity trend and its alignment with its 1.5°C scenario pathway.
The company’s transition plan does not contain sufficient detail, specific short-term actions or financial commitments. While the strategy relies on technological advances and third parties, there is no evidence of significant investment in R&D to support this.
No evidence was found of the company’s commitment to social dialogue or of the categories of stakeholders the company engages with on a just transition. Furthermore, no evidence was found to demonstrate the company’s ongoing social dialogue and meaningful engagement with affected stakeholders.
No evidence was found of the company undertaking low-carbon transition planning to mitigate the social impacts of the transition on workers, affected stakeholders and its business relationships. Additionally, no evidence was found to demonstrate the company’s engagement in social dialogue or engagement with stakeholders in its just transition planning.
No public commitment by the company was found stating its intention to create and support access to green and decent jobs as part of the low-carbon transition. Moreover, no evidence was found of the company’s action to promote these jobs in a way that ensures gender balance and inclusion of vulnerable groups. Additionally, no relevant disclosure was found of the company’s assessment of employment dislocation risks.
The company discloses the actions it takes to provide training and education opportunities for workers and affected stakeholders. For instance, it offers a leadership development programme for graduates newly employed by the company and a senior management development programme for employees. Additionally, the company partners with a college to provide a Work Academy Programme for people who have been unemployed long-term, providing education and training to participants. However, no relevant disclosure was found of the company embedding equality of opportunity for women and vulnerable groups in these actions. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company having a process for identifying skills gaps for workers and affected stakeholders or a public commitment to help workers displaced by the transition to reskill or upskill.
No relevant disclosure was found to show if the company identifies impacts of the low-carbon transition on social protection for workers and affected stakeholders, nor how it contributes to social protection. Additionally, no evidence was found that the company expects its business relationships to contribute to the social protection of their workers and affected stakeholders.
No relevant disclosure was found to show how the company identifies any misalignment of its lobbying activities with policies and regulations that support the just transition, nor of the measures it takes to address misalignment. Furthermore, no evidence was found that the company lobbies for policies and regulations for green and decent job creation; retention, education and reskilling; and social protection for workers.
The company commits to respecting human rights. However, no evidence in policy documents was found of a company commitment to respect all of the ILO fundamental rights at work or an expectation of the same commitment of its business relationships. Furthermore, it can strengthen its disclosure on its human rights due diligence process and engagement with affected stakeholders. While the company has a grievance mechanism available to workers, no relevant disclosure was found regarding a grievance mechanism available to external stakeholders.
The company commits to respecting the health and safety of its workers and expects the same commitment of its business relationships. Additionally, the company commits to gender equality and women’s empowerment and has set a target of female representation in its rail and bus operations of 21% and 20%, respectively, by 2025. While it discloses the gender of its workforce by employee category, it can increase disclosure on additional indicators of workforce diversity. Furthermore, the company can strengthen disclosure on its living wage, working hours and collective bargaining fundamentals.
The company commits to protecting personal data. However, no evidence was found of a privacy statement regarding the collection, sharing and access to personal data of employees and customers. The company discloses its global tax strategy and executive-level responsibility for compliance with the tax strategy. While the company has a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption, no evidence was found of anti-bribery and anti-corruption clauses in its contracts with business relationships. Additionally, the company can strengthen disclosure regarding its lobbying and political engagement policy.