2020 was a very challenging year, with the COVID-19 pandemic impacting every part of our business. We saw the initial effects in China in January, with our eight plants in China closed for an extended period over the Chinese New Year holidays.
This quickly spread to Europe, the Americas, wider Asia and the rest of the world. During the first half of the year, we saw a small number of plants closed for multi-week periods in each region as local, regional or national governments took steps to control the spread of the virus.
"The safety of our people has always been our top priority and our immediate focus at the outset of the pandemic was to ensure their safety and wellbeing, as well as the safety of our customers and communities."
Pete Raby, CEO
Our response to COVID-19
We implemented a range of measures at all our facilities to protect our employees, including physical changes to layout and people flow, social distancing, requirements for additional protective equipment, and additional hygiene, cleaning and disinfection protocols. We introduced flexible working for all roles that could do so, encouraging working from home where possible.
Environmental Social and Governance
In support of global efforts to reduce climate change I am delighted that we have set an aspiration as a business to reduce our CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement, with a 2030 goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 50%. We are a relatively energy-intensive business (although our products are designed to save significant amounts of energy for our customers) and this will be a big challenge for us, but it is one that we commit to wholeheartedly.
- Trading conditions were very difficult during the year, reflecting the impact of the pandemic on global economies.
- We took rapid action to reduce our discretionary cost base and focused on protecting our cash position.
- We launched a restructuring programme during the year to reduce capacity across the Group, reflecting the sharp reduction in activity levels and the expected lower medium-term volume levels in the aerospace market in particular.