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Unipart is pleased to sign the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Charter.

Unipart is pleased to sign the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Charter. Inclusivity has been at the heart of our values since our company began in 1987, and it continues to be a vital part of our strategy, which we’ve described as “Go Digital, Go Green, Go Faster.” Those three strategic drivers illustrate that adopting truly inclusive […]

Unipart is pleased to sign the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Charter. Inclusivity has been at the heart of our values since our company began in 1987, and it continues to be a vital part of our strategy, which we’ve described as “Go Digital, Go Green, Go Faster.” Those three strategic drivers illustrate that adopting truly inclusive frameworks for decision making is not only a responsible practice, but it makes good business sense.

The last few years have seen unprecedented uncertainty in global markets, which has required businesses to demonstrate agility and introduce continual innovation faster than ever before. Digital technologies have influenced almost everything. To become a truly digital company, it is vital to engage and enable the creative thinking across many stakeholder groups; especially our employees.

This is not new to Unipart. Since the early 90s, The Unipart Way, our philosophy of working that is underpinned by tools and techniques for continuous improvement, has been fundamental to bringing together the collective thinking and engagement of employees across our group of companies. Innovations like the Unipart Digital Communication Cells enable employees everywhere in the world to engage in real time to plan work, discuss issues and, through the “Covid S” feedback process, share their feelings on how the company has been protecting them.

When we opened The Unipart U, our company university, in 1993, we provided all our colleagues with a path to develop the skills and knowledge to deliver outstanding personal service to their customers. For over 30 years we have publicly recognised those achievements through the Mark in Action programme. More than 3,400 awards have been presented in one of the UK’s longest running recognition programmes. In 2007, we introduced ‘Gate to Great’, a promise that Unipart would support colleagues to be great in their roles providing they engaged in deliberate practice under a coach.

Today that commitment to developing the talents, skills and engagement of our people is at the heart of our drive to Go Digital. We have committed to providing our colleagues with the route map to develop the digital skills that are critical to their futures and the future of our business. We’ve introduced a network of digital champions to coach and facilitate that development, and we’ve invested in working with leading universities to develop centres of excellence to immerse our colleagues, stakeholders and customers in the most advanced digital technologies. The UK Rail Research and Innovation Network hub in Doncaster, the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering in Coventry, and the Advanced Supply Chain Institute in Oxford are playing an increasingly important role in helping our colleagues and our customers to see the future in rail, manufacturing, engineering and supply chains.

Listening to our people affirmed our belief that the second strand of our strategy, “Go Green” was vital to our future. Our colleagues regard it as vital to them personally, we also see it as critical to our company commercially.

We began our commitment to environmental responsibility more than 25 years ago. As far as we know, Unipart has won more of the British Safety Council’s prestigious Globes of Honour for environmental responsibility than any other company. We strongly believe the responsibility to achieve carbon neutrality lies with each individual and every business. Therefore, our senior leadership team has set the specific aim to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030, with the strategic intent of becoming carbon net zero before 2050. In 2021, Unipart publicly announced its commitment to the UN Race to Zero Campaign, demonstrating the highest level of ambition to reduce carbon emissions.

There have been many initiatives to reduce carbon, energy and water usage across our Group, and we’ve invested in the most efficient green technologies, including an electric fleet of commercial vehicles for one of our largest customers. We have adapted our digital product, Paradigm Insight, to provide a monitoring system for every site using state of the art sensors to identify usage patterns with live data so teams in every building will know exactly what resources are being used at any time. But perhaps the most telling example of creativity before capital has been our Green Friday event in which every team across the Group was challenged to set aside time on one day to form problem solving circles focused on reducing carbon, eliminating plastic or cutting energy use. Over 400 ideas surfaced on a single day, with many of those being implemented immediately.

Many of our customers have faced unparalleled disruption in 2021, triggered by a combination of Brexit, global shortages of semiconductors, and the ongoing pandemic. Against this backdrop of significant uncertainty, Unipart has maintained exceptional levels of service, “going faster” to adapt with agility to the ever-changing conditions. We are incredibly proud of the responsiveness from teams within our operations, with many sites having to change and adapt multiple times over the course of the year to keep supply chains moving while continuing to operate to the highest ethical standards in terms of sourcing and supply of products.

The Unipart culture is exemplified by all our people who identify opportunities daily to “go the extra mile” for their customers and deliver value through innovation and creative problem solving. We’ve long recognised that our success is entirely dependent on the skills and enthusiasm of our team of well-trained, highly motivated people. That requires us to have the widest reach of recruiting and attracting talent and providing opportunities for some who may have been excluded previously.

The recruitment and introduction of a new role, Early Careers & Apprenticeships Manager, demonstrates Unipart’s commitment to investing in future talent, and thus expanding our emerging talent offering to support the organisation’s ambitious strategy for growth.

In 2021, Unipart invested in the Kickstart Scheme, introduced and funded by the government as part of the ‘levelling up’ agenda. We saw huge success from the first cohort who joined us in April, with the majority securing full-time positions within the Group post-scheme. Following this success, we then recruited a further cohort of 10 ‘Kickstarters’ who are currently progressing well within their placements across the Group.

Like almost all companies, the circumstances at home and abroad have created challenges for our business and our people. We’ve long believed that doing well by doing good is a viable business framework, and we recognise that we still have a long way to go to live up to our own ambitions. However, we also see the Oxfordshire Inclusive Economy Charter as an important commitment to sharing our experience with the wider Oxfordshire community to play an active role in making our county a fairer and more inclusive place to live and work.

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