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 recognise our responsibility to deliver long term value in financial, environmental, social and ethical terms.
By consistently improving the member experience in our gyms, growing the estate with excellent new sites and continually refining our operating model, we deliver sustainable, profitable growth whilst realising our vision of providing access to affordable fitness for everyone.
Providing affordable, accessible exercise facilities has always been our company objective, and disruptions like the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us that many individuals have a desire to improve their physical and mental health through physical activity. Equally, in tougher economic times and periods of inflation, our low-cost offering provides great value for money. Our highly efficient operating model and gyms provide resilience to future economic and environmental challenges.
We conducted an extensive materiality assessment with our internal and external stakeholders, including members, investors, suppliers and our people, to identify significant issues that matter most to them. Aligned with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) our approach to materiality promotes principles of stakeholder inclusiveness, sustainability context and a balanced and reasonable representation of our business.
The materiality matrix demonstrates the findings of the assessment. The sustainability topics that are key priorities for our stakeholders are aligned with the business impact of The Gym Group, therefore identifying our highest priorities that we actively manage. The outcomes of the materiality assessment have formed the pillars of our sustainability strategy.
We engage with our stakeholders regularly on key sustainability topics to ensure the company is alert and responsive to evolving attitudes and beliefs. We actively seek feedback from our shareholders on sustainability matters. Our employees play an important part in shaping our sustainability strategy through representation on the sustainability working groups and regular surveys. We are also building communication platforms to talk to our members about our sustainability goals and performance.
Robust governance practices are a fundamental foundation for a sustainable business. Our Sustainability Committee is composed of Board and Exco Members and reports to The Gym Group plc Board to ensure sustainability is at the core of our business. The Committee has 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 Climate Related 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.
The Sustainability Committee usually meets four times a year and, where required, escalates relevant matters to the Board for consideration. In between meetings of the Sustainability Committee, the Board regularly considers reports on other sustainability-related matters such as Health & Safety.
Our people-first culture plays a key part in our success and over the past years, despite various challenges, we have continued to ensure that nurturing our people and our culture remains a key business focus. Across our business, we will provide a workplace where our people can thrive personally and grow professionally.
Through continued stakeholder engagement, we recognise that providing good jobs and career opportunities with fair pay and conditions is of high priority to our stakeholders. Our focus on people aligns with, and contributes to, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (‘SDGs’), as we strive for Quality Education (SDG 4) and Good Jobs and Economic Growth (SDG 8).
Employee wellbeing & engagement
At The Gym Group we believe it is vital to provide regular opportunities for our people to share their experiences, ideas and feedback. We are committed to bi-annual employee engagement surveys to gain thoughts on energy levels and employee satisfaction.
To support employees in balancing their home and work life The Gym Group are open to flexible working arrangements and we ensure all employees have the right to request flexible working from the moment they join us. Our Flexible Working policy considers a range of flexible working options such as: job sharing, part-time working, voluntary reduced working time, working from home and career breaks. The Gym Group recognise that there may be alternatives, and that the working pattern that may suit any particular individual could be a unique one involving a combination of options.
Learning & Development
Prioritising providing good jobs and career opportunities, whilst supporting our employees’ wellbeing and growing our conscious culture is integral to our success. We are committed to growing our own talent from within The Gym Group and our communities, providing career pathways through delivery of our early career’s initiatives, digital development programmes, leadership capability upskilling, and apprenticeships.
Human rights, anti-bribery and anti-corruption
We conduct our business honestly and ethically wherever we operate. We recognise the risks of modern slavery and take active steps to assess and manage them. We comply with the Modern Slavery Act and our statement, including further information on our activity to mitigate risks related to modern slavery, can be found on our website: www.tggplc.com/modern-slavery. We also have a detailed Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy, which is available to all employees via our intranet with annual training.
Climate change is the most pressing challenge of our time, and beyond the potential business and financial impacts, it threatens our ability to provide accessible fitness for all.
We recognise the importance of the Paris Agreement commitment to limit global warming to 1.5°C through collective action and individual responsibility. At The Gym Group, we know that it will take each and every one of us to achieve this goal.
We will take a proactive, strategic approach to reducing our environmental impacts and are leading the way within the health and fitness sector. We continue to reduce our carbon emissions and environmental impact and are investing in energy-efficient design and technology for our new and existing sites.
Our responsibility to the environment is a significant way in which we align and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. Our efforts to procure renewable energy and increase the energy efficiency of our gyms align with SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy; our efforts to reduce waste align with SDG 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption; and our approach to address our carbon risk aligns with SDG 13 – Taking Urgent Action to Combat Climate Change.
Our environmental policy statement is available on our website.
Reducing our carbon emissions
Our strategy is to deliver energy efficiency in our sites by exemplary design and high-quality maintenance. Our carbon emissions are measured and reported as required under the Large and Medium-sized Companies and Groups (Account and Reports) Regulations 2008 as amended in 2013. Our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions are calculated in line with the Greenhouse Gas (‘GHG’) Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standards (revised edition 2015) and data is gathered to fulfil the requirements under the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency scheme to calculate the disclosures.
In addition to the total carbon emissions, we will report two intensity metrics to track our progress in reducing carbon emissions:
- tCO2e per million member visits
- tCO2e per gym
We have also chosen to offset emissions on our journey to net-zero and are proud to be the UK’s first carbon neutral gym chain.
We will ensure that carbon offset projects we commit to are carefully chosen and certified by internationally recognised bodies.
Reducing waste to landfill
Poor waste management contributes to climate change and air pollution, and directly affects ecosystems and species. Landfill release methane and are considered the last resort in the waste hierarchy.
We are therefore committed to reducing our waste to landfill by:
- preventing waste, especially the use of single use plastic, where we can
- reuse refurbished equipment when appropriate
- recycle as much of our waste as possible and motivate our members to do the same
Reducing use of water
The use of water at our sites is confined to washrooms and cleaning requirements. As a business we do not operate saunas, steam rooms or swimming pools.
To allow us to better monitor and manage our water consumption and therefore reduce the environmental impact, we have put systems in place to collect water data and report on water consumption. We continually investigate new technologies that become available and how they could assist us in reducing water consumption.
Regular physical activity benefits both the body and mind. It can reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as contribute to preventing and managing a host of health conditions, including cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.
Through the provision of affordable, high-quality, safe, 24/7 facilities and an extensive gym network, we are supporting the UK Government’s vision to get the nation active and directly contribute to target 3.4 of Sustainable Development Goal 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing: to reduce premature mortality and promote mental health and wellbeing.
Generating Social Value
We are the first private gym operator in the UK to have measured the social impact of our business using the Social Value Model created by Sheffield Hallam University that determines the social value to communities created through regular exercise.
As a business, we are dedicated to generating social value and therefore our Executive Committee holds responsibility for increasing the social value we generate for the communities we serve. To drive social value, we have created a performance measure based on the percentage of members visiting our gyms at least 4 x per month and thereby contributing to the social value generated in the community.
One of the major factors in social value generation is the socio-economic status of our members. Individuals from more deprived communities are more likely to suffer from chronic conditions and therefore the social benefit of keeping these members active will be more significant. 32% of The Gym Group’s estate is located in the 20% most deprived areas in the UK – reinforcing our commitment to tackling inactivity in disadvantaged communities. We will ensure our site rollout programme will be balanced and we will continue to provide exercise facilities in communities that most need it.
The Social Value Model
The model was created by Sheffield Hallam University in collaboration with 4Global, a Uk based data, services and software company. The methodology (see diagram below) was updated in 2021 to reflect the latest scientific research and is used extensively by local authorities and the UK Government.
Protecting our employees’ and members’ health, safety and wellbeing
The safety of our members and staff is at the heart of our operation and as the business has grown we have continued to evolve our health and safety management system.
A clear understanding and continuous review of our risk profile ensures our processes are compliant and mitigate risk, whilst remaining functional and easy to use. Our external health and safety auditors deliver a consistent and transparent review of performance at site level, including the physical safety of equipment and facilities, as well as audits of our wider safety and building maintenance systems.
Our digital health, safety and compliance portal provides central visibility of compliance, as well as advanced reporting and management data to support us in quickly identifying and responding to health and safety trends. Our aim is to reduce accident frequencies by focusing on areas where we see opportunity to improve risk mitigation.
Our Primary Authority partner, Wakefield Council, provides regulatory advice on our health and safety management system and liaises with other regulatory bodies across the UK.
Our health and safety management system conforms to ISO 45001, the international health & safety standard and we are working to be certified by the end of 2023.
Equality, diversity and inclusion remain fundamental to our culture, values and decision-making. We are committed to achieving our purpose of breaking down barriers to fitness for all and ensuring that The Gym Group is a place where everyone is welcomed, accepted for who they are, and has equal opportunities to succeed.
Collaboration is an important part of our culture, and we remain active members of Women in Hospitality, Travel and Leisure (‘WiHTL’), regularly contributing to cross-industry discussions and initiatives. As signatories of the Business in the Community Race at Work Charter, we continue with our commitment to its five ‘calls-to-action’ for businesses to prioritise activity on race and improve equality of opportunity in the workplace.
Breaking down barriers to fitness for all
It is vital for us to understand the barriers that still exist for our staff and our members and ensure that where possible these barriers are removed.
Key barriers we have identified in our extensive research across five areas of diversity: age, cultural diversity, disability, gender and LGBTQI+ are perception of the gym sector, accessibility, gymtimidation, visibility and representation, and education and understanding.
Building a diverse, inclusive and equal workplace
Our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategy focuses our actions on three core pillars: Insights, Talents and Culture. Our Diversity and Inclusion Manifesto provides transparency on our commitments to realising the goals of the strategy. Our Executive Committee pledged their personal commitment and accountability to this agenda by signing The Gym Group Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, which sets out the principles and our ambitions in this area.
We are committed to fair pay and reward and our ethnicity and gender pay gap reports published on the tggplc.com website provide detail on our figures and the actions we are taking to address this.
We would like our staff and members to be reflective of the diversity of the local communities in which we operate and continue to take positive action to address gender balance through our targets.
We are committed to being open in disclosing our sustainability performance and are continually reviewing and improving our reporting processes. Our annual sustainability report aligns to the Global Reporting Initiative (‘GRI’) standards (Core Option). In addition, our reporting aligns with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (‘SASB’) standards. 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 and SASB Content Index can be found on our website.
In 2022, we committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative (‘SBTI’) and joined the Business Ambition for 1.5⁰C and the UN Race to Zero. We will continue to make a complete submission of our net zero target and pathway. We have also made a disclosure to the Carbon Disclosure Project (‘CDP’) and will continue to make an annual submission.
We are embracing the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (‘TCFD’) and are developing our disclosures in line with the Task Force’s recommendations across four thematic areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics & targets. We will continue to refine and develop our approach to meet the recommendations in full for our financial year 2023.