Hot Topic - ESG
Hot Topic – Environmental, Social and Governance
ESG – Environmental, Social and Governance. I’ve blocked out some time, turned off my emails and settled down to write an article on ESG. I want to tell the world how great Agility EOR is and how we’ve got our ESG responsibilities nailed. But here’s the thing; we’re not doing enough.
I’m confident we’ve got “S” and “G” covered in a manner appropriate to the age and stage of our business. To ensure we are doing our best to be Socially responsible, our team got together to consider all the groups of people we touch; our own employees, partners, clients and their employees, our advisers and our suppliers. We talked about how our values would relate to each group and developed statements to describe our commitment. We also have plans to support our wider communities through sponsorships, voluntary work and charitable giving.
Governance is a core part of our business and an area in which we have to be strong. There is an increasing, ever-changing amount of regulation around international employment and we work hard to stay on top of that. We are properly licensed, carry appropriate insurance cover and are hot on data protection. We carefully follow rules on corruption, bribery and money laundering and provide training to our teams to help them in these areas. Throughout our business, our ethics of doing the right thing (even when it’s not the easiest thing!) and avoiding those grey areas, stand us in good stead.
Our ESG values are revisited on a regular basis to make sure we feel they are still our best understanding of what our Environmental, Social and Governance responsibilities are. By checking back against what we have said we will do, we keep ourselves honest.
So what about “E”? This is what where I feel we can be better. On the plus side, our business is all about facilitating remote working so our work is impactful in that it helps other companies to do something green. But that’s really just a side effect and I want to be more deliberate in what the Agility team does to be environmentally friendly. It’s not that we’re irresponsible, it’s that I don’t think we are being consciously responsible. And I want that to change.
As a service business, we may have less opportunity than some industries to make meaningful changes. But there are some commitments we can make and I have identified the following, which are reflected in our formal environmental policy;
- Consider our travel arrangements – Even though we work remotely, we do meet in person on a regular basis and often attend events. I commit to walking when the distance is relatively short, and to consider rail journeys over flights when that is an option.
- Where can we cut waste office waste? – I commit to print only what I need to and to learn how to get my printer to print double sided. I will buy recycled products when possible and recycle my own office waste.
- Do we choose suppliers who consider their own environmental impact? – I commit, as a minimum, to understand which of our partners has their own environmental policy.
- Can we share learnings with our teams so that they can choose to be greener in their day-to-day life? – I commit to positively question our colleagues and offer them training if they wish to consider their personal impact on the environment.
- Could more of our charitable giving support organisations with environmental protection aims? – I commit to investigate carbon off-setting as one option and prioritise this over the year.
Some of these are small things but they are all positive and achievable. Over the next 12 months, I will be reflecting periodically on how I and the Agility team are progressing in these areas. And a year from now, I will write again and we can all see where there has been an improvement!
If your business has made steps to reduce its impact on the environment, we’d love to here what you did and the difference it’s made. Every day is a school day, as they say, so please share your learnings and we’ll see what we can adopt here at Agility EOR.