Corporate responsibility

The business case for corporate responsibility

Corporate responsibility is a fundamental part of the Group’s business strategy. It is not conducted as a separate and self-contained activity, but is integral to the business. This is because we see corporate responsibility as making a key contribution to the success of Rolls-Royce in the markets in which we operate. We believe that conducting business in an ethical and responsible manner creates competitive advantage through:

  • attracting and retaining the best people;
  • building goodwill and maintaining successful working relationships with customers, suppliers and governments; and
  • supporting the global communities in which our employees live and work.

The Group’s values of reliability, integrity and innovation are embedded in our Global Code of Business Ethics. This provides a framework for our stakeholder relationships worldwide, the strength of which helps to shape the Group’s reputation.

With around 39,000 employees in more than 50 countries, our strongest contribution to society is the wealth generated by the thousands of highly skilled jobs we provide worldwide.


Each area of corporate responsibility has its own governance process or managing committee, and each is led by a member of the Board or Group Executive. These include:

  • the ethics committee, consisting exclusively of independent non-executive directors;
  • the health, safety and environment committee, chaired by the Chief Executive;
  • the Environment Council, chaired by the Director – Engineering and Technology;
  • the Environmental Advisory Board, chaired by a senior academic from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;
  • the Global Council, chaired by the Director – Human Resources;
  • the Global Diversity Steering Group, chaired by the Chief Operating Officer; and
  • the Group community investment and sponsorship committee, chaired by the Chief Executive.

Individual subject matter expertise is reviewed by the Corporate Responsibility Steering Group, which reports to the Board. This group comprises the Director – Human Resources, Director – Public Affairs, Director of Risk and the General Counsel and Company Secretary. In addition, the corporate responsibility risk register uses the Group risk process to identify the potential risks and opportunities, as well as mitigation plans to address these risks. Additional information can be found in the principal risks and uncertainties section

External recognition

Rolls-Royce is ranked in a number of external indices which benchmark corporate responsibility performance, see below:

BitC BiE Index

BitC BiE Index
In the 2008 Business in the Environment Index, Rolls-Royce was once again awarded Platinum status and maintained first position in the Aerospace and Defence sector.

BitC Corporate Responsibility Index

BitC BiE Index
In the 2008 Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index, Rolls-Royce achieved Gold status.

DowJones Sustainability(World and European) Indexes

BitC BiE Index
Rolls-Royce has retained its position in the Dow Jones Sustainability (World and European) Indexes for the seventh consecutive year. Achieving first position in the Aerospace and Defence sector during 2008 confirms the Group’s position among the best in class for addressing a range of sustainability issues.

Rolls-Royce has a long history of being a responsible business. We are committed to building on our track record and our obligation to behave responsibly.