We focus community investment in areas most closely aligned to our core business expertise, so that we can maximise our impact in society. This means building young people’s skills to create future energy innovators, ensuring vulnerable people receive vital support with their energy needs whilst helping people reduce their impact on climate change.
During 2015, we invested £228 million and 52,588 volunteering hours in local communities.
Of this, £214 million was spent on mandatory contributions we are required to make primarily by the UK government to alleviate fuel poverty and support national carbon reduction targets. This included support for more than 650,000 vulnerable customers via the Warm Home Discount scheme who received £140 off their energy bills and over 24,500 people benefitted from debt advice and grants through the British Gas Energy Trust. An estimated £400 million in bill savings and lifetime carbon savings totaling 2.8mtCO2e, was additionally secured for vulnerable people through energy efficiency products delivered as part of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO). Obligations also included investments near to our energy exploration and generation sites.
Alongside these investments, £8 million in voluntary contributions were made for our customers. This included help for more than 3,000 Direct Energy customers through our ‘Neighbor-to-Neighbor’ bill assistance programme in Texas, providing individual grants of up to £400 ($600).
£5 million went to our local and strategic charitable partners. Within this contribution was our £1.2m partnership with National Energy Action which supported 68,700 people in fuel poverty during 2015 while British Gas’ education programme, Generation Green, provided low carbon energy technologies and free lesson plans for schools across the UK.
We recognise that the same talent and skills that make our business a success can similarly make a meaningful contribution in society which is why we provide our people with up to two days to volunteer each year. And during 2015, our people invested around 2,570 hours to enhance the impact of social enterprises who receive investment from Ignite, the UK’s first corporate impact investment fund focused on energy and backed by Centrica.
We also enabled a £1 million contribution through leverage which includes the fundraising efforts of our people, partners and customers. Our people utilised fundraising skills by supporting British Gas’ five-year partnership with housing and homeless charity, Shelter. And in 2015, we raised £426,890 for Shelter through ‘British Gas Treks Britain’, a series of sponsored walking, running and cycling events which helped surpass our £1 million employee fundraising target for Shelter.
Overall, our 2015 total community contribution was down from £409 million and 66,729 volunteering hours in 2014. The reduction was largely due to front-loading of ECO, alongside a transition to new reporting tools for volunteering.
Want to know more? Read about our community focus and partnerships.
 Based on the London Benchmarking Group methodology which includes cash donations from the company, in-kind contributions such as solar panels, cost of during work hour volunteering and core management costs for running key community programmes.
 Comprising of £361.7 million in mandatory, £40.0 in voluntary, £4.8 million in charitable and £2.1 million in leverage. The previously reported total of £406.5 million has been restated due to a change in methodology which now incorporates leverage.