National Express Group is a publicly listed company headquartered in United Kingdom. In 2021 its revenue was USD 2.78 billion. The National Express Group provides mass passenger bus, coach and rail transportation services in the UK, Continental Europe, North Africa, North America and the Middle East.
National Express has a vision to grow by becoming digitally enabled. The transformation plan of the company’s Spanish division ALSA is to increase the digitisation of the business, with digital applications used for operational projects, such as optimising driver scheduling. National Express’ CEO has a personal objective to agree on the digital strategy for the next three years. Despite this, the company does not report investments in digital solutions for transport optimisation. Doing so would demonstrate National Express’ commitment to its digitalisation strategy.
National Express supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is a member of a range of initiatives, such as Xplore Dundee and Chapter Zero (the UK Chapter of the Climate Governance Initiative), has committed to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and has implemented the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. The company lacks a policy to manage actions for when trade associations are identified to adopt climate negative positions. This would allow the company to implement a defined and transparent process if supported trade associations’ stances on climate policies diverge from its own.
National Express has set a target to reduce its scope 1 and 2 transport emissions intensity by 12.5% by 2025 compared to 2018. This target is aligned with its 1.5°C pathway. The presence of such an intermediate target can help the company to maintain focus on short and mid-term progress while it also addresses its long-term group target of net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040. Although this net-zero target appears to only cover its road transport operations, based on data available it is estimated to cover about 91% of the company’s scope 1 and 2 emissions.
National Express’ transition plan does not include scenario analysis, which would allow the company to understand the impact of physical and transitional climate risks. This would give National Express an insight into risks specific to the group and its regional business divisions. By using a range of scenarios, the company can understand the financial and wider business implications of climate risks and develop adaptation and mitigation strategies.
National Express receives a trend score of =. If the company were reassessed in the near future, its score would likely remain the same. National Express has set a group target to achieve net-zero scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2040 but is projected to greatly exceed its carbon budget for the period between 2022 and 2036. The company is committed to replacing its current carbon-emitting vehicles with zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), aiming to have an additional 400-1,000 ZEVs in operation or on order by December 2024.
National Express has set a target to reduce its scope 1 and 2 traction emissions intensity by 12.53% by 2025. By 2040 the group aims to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions. It is unclear whether these targets include its rail operations or if the company will use offsets to achieve the targets.
National Express aims to replace all its carbon-emitting vehicles with ZEVs and has committed to operating a further 176 ZEVs in the UK (0.6% of its fleet), by 2023. By December 2024, the company aims to have an additional 400-1,000 ZEVs in service or on order (out of a total fleet of 27,000 vehicles).
National Express currently has 16 ZEVs in operation within its global fleet and commits to replacing its entire fleet with ZEVs. The company aims to educate its customers to drive a modal shift from higher emissions-intensity travel and engages with vehicle manufacturers to deliver improvements in efficiency.
National Express’ scope 1 emissions intensity decreased by 2% annually between 2016-2019. But National Express saw a significant increase in its emissions intensity between 2016 and 2021 of about 5% annually. This is partly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the transport industry.
National Express’ transition plan lacks financial information, scenario analysis or an outline of how it aims to achieve its 2040 net-zero target, nor does it mention its rail operations. 25% of the executive team’s incentives are linked to emissions reductions and transitioning to a ZEV fleet.
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.
No public commitment by the company was found stating its intention to reskill and upskill workers displaced by the transition to a low-carbon economy. Additionally, no evidence was found that the company reskills and upskills workers in a way that ensures gender balance and inclusion of vulnerable groups.
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 was found of the company committing to respect all of the ILO fundamental rights at work, nor of its expectation that its business relationships respect the ILO fundamental rights at work. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company’s process to identify, assess and mitigate salient human rights risks in its own operations and supply chain. Moreover, no evidence was found of the company disclosing the stakeholders whose human rights have been affected by its activities. While the company has a grievance mechanism available to workers, no relevant disclosure was found to indicate whether a grievance mechanism is available to all external stakeholders.
No evidence of the company’s policies or commitments related to key decent work issues were found in the public domain. These issues include the provision of safe and healthy workplaces, living wage practices, working hour requirements and collective bargaining practices. While the company discloses that 33% of its board members are female and it discloses the gender of its workforce by employee category, no relevant disclosure was found of additional indicators of workforce diversity. Furthermore, no evidence was found of the company committing to gender equality and women’s empowerment in the broad sense.
The company discloses its global tax strategy and a policy prohibiting bribery and corruption. However, the company can strengthen its disclosure on these subjects. Furthermore, no evidence was found of a public commitment to protecting personal data or privacy statement regarding the collection, sharing and access to personal data of customers and employees. Moreover, no evidence was found regarding the company’s approach to lobbying and political engagement.