Sustainability report.

Creating long-term sustainable value. At the heart of everything GKN does is a drive for sustainability that is characterised by efficient and ethical operations from teams of well-supported, motivated and dynamic people. Central to the GKN business model (pages 8-9) are key capabilities that underpin sustainability and enable the delivery of strategic objectives and creation of long-term value for our shareholders. These capabilities are summarised as: our Values, superior technology, outstanding employees, global footprint, continuous improvement and corporate responsibility.

Our Values

The GKN Code together with the associated policies directs the behaviours expected of all GKN people. The GKN Code is encapsulated into 12 promises, six from GKN to its employees and six from employees to GKN:

Promises from GKN to employees

  • We will support you through investment and training so we can build a high performance business by delivering superb customer service.
  • We will help you develop your full potential and we will not tolerate any discrimination.
  • We will care for you by providing a safe working environment.
  • We will do what we can to minimise our impact on the environment.
  • We are all part of a wider society and we will contribute positively to the communities of which we are part.
  • If you have a problem we will listen in confidence.

Promises from employees to GKN

  • I share GKN’s commitment to build a high performing business with a strong customer focus. I show that commitment through my work.
  • I always respect the rights of other team members.
  • I do not put other team members at risk of injury and will counsel anyone I see working unsafely.
  • I believe in honest and proper conduct at all times.
  • I know I am free to report behaviour which is wrong and I will do so.
  • I will help protect the environment and support local communities.

Regular employee dialogue ensures that the Values fully inform how we work and, during 2011, a global programme of workshops helped reinforce the promises and the expected behaviours implicit in them all. Over 6,000 people have completed this programme at more than 25 sites and it is continuing throughout 2012. The Values are promoted through posters, the Group intranet and recognition schemes across the Group.

Additionally, new legislation provides an opportunity to reinforce key principles that underpin the GKN Values. Following the introduction into the UK in 2011 of the Bribery Act 2010, a Group-wide training programme was launched explaining the implications of the Act for employees; it also includes a reprise of existing Competition and Anti-Trust legislation.

Superior technology

For over 250 years GKN has developed and deployed new technologies: from the first steel-making processes to the modern day use of advanced composites in aircraft, and from the introduction of the first front-wheel-drive vehicle systems 50 years ago to the development of electric drive systems for modern cars today.

Evidence of the importance of technology to GKN and examples of its application are shown throughout this report and on our website at www.gkn.com/technologyandinnovation. The GKN technology plan addresses the complete product lifecycle: from customer requirement to product development and then implementation to safe disposal. The plan is driven by global trends including the low-carbon agenda, electrification, urbanisation, shortages of key resources, population growth and changes in food consumption.

Each business unit deploys technology to help customers meet these challenges and the Group Technology Strategy Board, chaired by the Group’s Principal Engineer, drives the development and deployment of the technology plan. It also facilitates collaboration on technology developments across the Group’s businesses, sharing best practice and exploiting synergies where appropriate. The Technology Strategy Board has a key role in further developing external relationships and partnerships, including access to external sources of funding.

GKN also works with other companies to develop technological advances in key sectors. Composite technologies offer environmental and competitive advantages and, in November 2011, GKN Aerospace joined industry partners Airbus, AgustaWestland, Rolls-Royce, Umeco and Vestas in the official opening of the UK’s National Composites Centre (NCC). The 8,500 square metre NCC facility is situated close to three of GKN Aerospace’s major composite manufacturing operations in the UK, serving the global aerospace sector – at Filton and Western Approach in Bristol, and Cowes on the Isle of Wight.

Continue