FirstGroup has been ranked third out of the world’s 90 most influential transport companies in the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA)’s 2022 Transport Benchmark, making it the top performing UK transport company in the category. 

The WBA is a non-profit organisation that holds 2,000 of the world’s most influential companies accountable for their part in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  

The WBA’s Climate and Energy Benchmarks measure corporate progress against the Paris Agreement and whether companies are contributing to a just transition. Their 2022 Transport Benchmark is the first comprehensive assessment of companies in the sector that combines the Assessing Low-Carbon (ACT) assessment and the just transition and social assessment to provide an overall score and ranking. By considering social and decarbonisation issues together, the benchmark mobilises stronger action needed to hold companies to account on contributing towards a low-carbon transition that leaves no one behind. 

The Transport Benchmark ranks 90 of the world’s largest transport companies (covering freight and passenger transport by air, land, rail and sea), with scoring based on an ACT assessment (60%) and a social assessment comprising core social and transition indicators (40%). FirstGroup achieved a total score of 41.3%, compared to a median score of 19.4%.

We have a long-term goal for our operations to be net-zero by 2050, as well as an interim target to run a zero-emissions bus fleet by 2035. This will be achieved by increasing the use of electric vehicles and alternative fuels, as well as supporting the electrification of the UK rail network and the use of battery and hybrid trains. To support our ambitious decarbonisation targets, we have embedded carbon-related indicators within FirstGroup’s remuneration approach, including fleet electrification and emission reduction measures into the company’s long term incentive plan.

In addition, each of our divisions provides training and invests in the skills we need for the future. The changing nature of transport and mobility, particularly new vehicle technologies and energy transition, requires us to adapt the way we develop, operate, and maintain our services. To deliver this change, we are focused on creating an engaged, agile and diverse workforce with the skills and expertise for a zero carbon economy, equipped to innovate and deliver mobility for the future.

Graham Sutherland, Chief Executive Officer of FirstGroup, said: “We are delighted to be ranked third in the new WBA Transport Benchmark, making us the best performing UK transport company in our assessed group. Our services play a vital role in creating a connected, healthy, zero carbon world, reducing congestion on the roads, improving air quality and helping to reduce carbon emissions. We welcome the scrutiny provided by this new benchmark, as we continue to take positive steps to align our business with the goals of the Paris Agreement.” 

Vicky Sins, Decarbonisation and Energy Transformation Lead, World Benchmarking Alliance, said: “FirstGroup is the third highest ranking company in the 2022 Transport Benchmark because of its progress towards decarbonisation. It’s one of the few companies within the transport sector that has set a target to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, including interim targets. For all these reasons, we believe that FirstGroup has an important role in helping mobilise the entire transport sector to contribute towards a just low-carbon future.”