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Corporate social responsibility

While our work aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and generally improve the environment, we are conscious that running a business creates its own impacts.

As an organisation we work hard to manage our impact in order to reduce our effect on the environment. This is pursued through maintaining ISO 14001 environmental accreditation which is supported by an environmental management system (EMS) and our ISO 50001 support by an energy management system (EnMS). The EMS and EnMS provides a systematic approach to keep current with relevant environmental legislation and provides a structure on which to base our internal environmental activities. It is our sustainability group which is the backbone for promoting environmental activities and sustainable behaviour throughout the organisation.

Our sustainability group

The sustainability group is composed of three subgroups in each of the main offices (London, Edinburgh and Cardiff) and is run by volunteers in the organisation. The group encourages all employees to be as resource efficient as possible through sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm as well as promoting sustainable activities and behaviours. The group monitors and reports the organisation's carbon footprint each year, identifying areas for improvement. Through understanding what we can do to improve our use of carbon, the group helps to influence staff and suppliers in a positive way. The group has accumulated practical knowledge and experience since it was formed in 2004, developing a variety of successful approaches to engage employees.

A list of our significant environmental aspects can be found below.

Sustainability measures

Waste

  • The waste hierarchy is actively applied in each of the offices to minimise the amount of waste produced.
  • Waste and recycling rates are monitored each quarter to review the level of waste in the offices.
  • All possible waste is recycled including paper, cardboard, plastic, organic waste, glass, aluminium cans, batteries, CDs, printer toner cartridges and electronic equipment.
  • Other initiatives include having ethically produced cloth bags to reduce the number of plastic bags and where possible encouraging use of reusable coffee cups to help reduce office waste.

Energy efficiency

  • The sustainability group works closely with building management in each of our offices to minimise use of energy resources.
  • Energy use is monitored and recorded in each of the offices. The data is reported quarterly to top management.
  • Procuring only the most efficient appliances for our kitchens (A+++).
  • Energy efficient behaviour is promoted such as powering down 4-way extensions at the end of the day, turning off monitors when not in use, switching off appliances when not in use, etc.

Travel

  • In instances where staff meetings are held remotely, the use of a variety of facilities including video conferencing is preferential.
  • Facilities for cyclists are provided in each of the main offices, i.e. bike rooms, changing rooms, showers and lockers.
  • A ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme is available to help make purchasing a bike more affordable for employees.
  • Use of public transport over taxies is actively encouraged.
  • For occasions where a rental car is necessary, employees are permitted only to hire economic, low emission vehicles.
  • Private cars used by employees for business purposes must meet a standard of vehicle efficiency.
  • Flights are restricted to necessary travel. Domestic flights within the UK require approval from our Chief Executive.

Water efficiency 

  • Water use in the offices is recorded and monitored where possible.

Sustainability group initiatives

A variety of internal events are held during each year to promote sustainability throughout the organisation. Examples of these are listed:

  • Volunteer days to help the local community, such as cutting back intrusive vegetation in local beauty spots.
  • Climate change training delivered by the Met Office available to staff.
  • 'Brown bag lunches' (bring your lunch and eat while you listen) are regularly held with guest speakers. Sustainability documentaries are shown to promote sustainable living, i.e. insects as a sustainable food source
  • ‘Walk to Work Week’ competitions.
  • Week long events to promote a sustainable lifestyle, i.e. ‘Energy Saving Week’ and ‘Ready Steady Winter’.
  • Internal intranet site to promote the group’s activities within the organisation.
  • Posters and signs around the offices to promote recycling, events and sustainable living.

Products and services

We are committed to incorporating sustainability across all business functions in order to manage and influence the positive environmental and social impacts of our business activity, as well as to exceed our high standard of environmental excellence. Therefore, sustainability principles are embedded within all procurement related activities including our relationship with ethical suppliers and in the communities where we operate.

We expect that all of our employees are committed to:

  • procuring products and services which minimise our environmental impact, taking into account the lifecycle of any product purchased

  • complying with all applicable legislative requirements

  • continuously improving knowledge of environmentally responsible supply chain management

  • assessing the sustainability credentials of our suppliers and encouraging activity among suppliers which minimise environmental impact.

 

Quality and environmental policy

We are committed to:

  • providing high quality services and advice

  • consistently meeting customers’ requirements and exceeding their expectations

  • continually improving all areas of activity including its management systems and procedures

  • meeting all legal requirements and those of BS EN ISO 9001:2008.

We are committed to implementing this policy throughout the organisation by:

  • maximising emission savings from our activities

  • minimising our energy use associated with building management and travel

  • reducing overall waste and improving levels of recycling

  • working with suppliers to mutually improve environmental performance and favour procurement from those that do

  • using ethical suppliers and sustainable sources wherever appropriate.

Environmental aspects

Environmental aspects are an inevitable result of any organisation’s operation. To address these aspects, they have been identified, assessed and rated in terms of their significance by the Sustainability Group.

As part of the Environmental Management System, the organisation’s environmental aspects are regularly reviewed.

Aspects (in order of significance)

  • CO2 / CO2 emissions: office use of electricity

  • CO2 / CO2 emissions: office use of gas

  • CO2 / CO2 emissions: business travel

  • Suppliers and sub contractors

  • Consumption of resources

  • Hazardous waste

  • Accidents i.e. fire

  • Non-hazardous waste

  • Nuisance and noise

  • Cleaning products.