At The Gym Group, our purpose is to break down barriers to fitness for all and our ambition is to deliver this in an entirely sustainable way, enabling people to live healthier more rewarding lives within the natural balance of the planet. We actively place sustainability at the core of our business and in 2021 we advanced on this agenda by forming a dedicated Sustainability Committee with the objective of continuously improving our sustainability performance.
Even though we continued to be impacted by the pandemic, we still enabled over 33 million visits to the gym in 2021. We made further progress on measurement of the social value generated by our members exercising in our gyms, achieving £485 million in the year. A metric designed to drive this value has been introduced as a key performance measure and incentive for executive performance.
COP26 concluded in November with nearly 200 countries agreeing to the Glasgow Climate Pact to keep 1.5°C alive. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) indicates urgent action is required if this is to be achieved. During the year we undertook an extensive carbon audit of our operations and supply chain to establish a 2019 baseline carbon footprint leading to the launch of our Net-Zero commitment, with a target 50% carbon reduction before 2030 and achieving net-zero by 2035. We have also chosen to off-set emissions on our journey to net-zero and become the UK’s first carbon neutral gym chain in alignment with The CarbonNeutral Protocol.
Our internal and external stakeholders are key to the success of our business and following best practice set out in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), we conducted an extensive materiality assessment with all stakeholders to identify significant issues and impacts that matter most to them, including members, investors, suppliers and our people.
The materiality matrix demonstrates the findings of the assessment, identifying the sustainability topics that are key priorities for The Gym Group. In the diagram opposite, we have aligned our material topics to our priority areas. Note that ‘Safeguarding customer data and privacy’ is specifically addressed in the GRI Index. Further information on our approach and performance on each of these topics is provided within this report.
Robust governance practices are a fundamental foundation for a sustainable business
Our Sustainability Committee reports to The Gym Group plc Board to ensure sustainability is at the core of our business and shares oversight of corporate responsibility for sustainability, reviews sustainability targets and commitments and oversees the assessment of climate-related risks and opportunities, including the requirements of the Task Force on ClimateRelated Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The Committee receives reports from three key workstreams:
- Equality, Diversity & Inclusion (‘EDI’)
- Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG)
- Health, Safety & Wellbeing
Our Board shares The Gym Group’s passion for a sustainable business and the delivery of affordable fitness for all. The participation of Executive members in the Sustainability Committee demonstrates our commitment to integrating sustainability into the heart of our business decisions.
We continually review and improve our reporting processes. In 2019, we began to align to the GRI standards for our sustainability reporting and we have continued to report in accordance with these standards (Core Option). In addition, for 2021 we have further developed our reporting to align with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards.
We have also made a submission to the Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDi) and the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
We were delighted to be a founding member of the All-party Parliamentary Group for ESG and look forward to contributing to further development of the UK’s ESG strategy.
In aligning with global standards, we ensure that we continue to provide our varied stakeholders with clear, concise information that demonstrates how we are progressing with our material topics. The GRI content index can be found on our website.
Chief Development and Sustainability Officer