SME Climate Commitment and REL Sustainability Developments
We need to talk – Why is Sustainability Important?
Discussion around sustainability and climate change is commonplace nowadays. It is in the news, on the television, and all over the internet. By now you are probably well aware that the UK built environment is responsible for around 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This figure needs to be reduced if we have a chance of achieving Net-Zero by 2050 and limit global warming to 2 degrees above preindustrial levels to mitigate potentially devastating impacts. If this is clear and commonplace knowledge – do we really need to keep talking about it?
Yes, we do.
Transparency and communication are crucial to drive us from awareness into change. We can engage people in what we have achieved and explain what next steps will be taken. We can inspire and educate within our network with the aim of having a greater positive impact than we could achieve individually. We can be part of the solution and encourage others to do the same.
Roberts Environmental Ltd (REL) is Committed
REL have taken action through signing up to the SME Climate Commitment.
We understand that although any single SME’s climate impact may seem small at first glance, the combined effect of the category is sizable, with SMEs making up 90% of business worldwide. As such, in October 2022 REL signed up to the SME Climate Commitment, becoming one of the 3,612 UK businesses (and growing) that have committed so far.
The SME Climate Hub is a global initiative that is empowering SME’s to take climate action and resilience for the future. This initiative is part of the We Mean Business Coalition, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative, and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign in collaboration with Normative and the Net-Zero team at Oxford University.
What is the SME Climate commitment?
By recognising that climate change poses a threat to the economy, nature and society, the commitment bullet points below mean that REL will take action immediately in order to:
- Halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030
- Achieve Net-Zero emissions before 2040
- Disclose our progress on a yearly basis
By doing this REL are recognised by the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, and join governments, businesses, cities, regions, and universities globally that share the same mission.
REL has gone above the minimum levels of commitment for when to achieve Net-Zero emissions, instead of 2050 REL have made the ambitious commitment to achieve Net-Zero Emissions before 2040. By selecting 2040, we are closely aligned with companies that have signed The Climate Pledge and are taking further steps to reduce emissions and protect the climate for the future.
Over the next three to six months, we will be undertaking the following;
- Measuring current greenhouse gas emissions to determine a baseline for reduction
- Short and medium targets for emission reductions
- Creating a plan to achieve the reduction target
- Take concrete action to reduce key emissions and move towards our Net-Zero target date
- Encouraging other SMEs to do the same
Why pledge to the SME Climate Commitment?
As well as providing useful tools and resources to facilitate emission targets being reached, it is also enabling us to improve in the following areas:
- Future-proofing the business
- Being part of the solution
- Improving efficiency
- Managing business risk
The SME Climate Hub provides support for strategic emissions reductions and opportunities for climate leadership. By taking action now REL can lower the risks that come from climate change and take advantage of new opportunities for a greener future.
What is RELs Current Sustainability Action?
As well as signing up to the SME Climate Commitment, REL have begun to start tracking our progress against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implementing our Sustainability Road Map in order to maximise our ability to reduce climate change impacts.
Implementing our Sustainability Road Map
The REL Sustainability Road Map is demonstrable evidence of our sustainability ethos, our commitments and genuine intent to embed sustainability throughout the REL business model and operational practices. The Sustainability Road Map will adapt overtime to reflect successful delivery, evolving context, increasing client expectations, and changing business priorities.
REL have collaborated on, and are in the process of implementing our Sustainability Road Map, based around four key themes; Business, Society, Biosphere, and Partnership. The 17 United Nations SDGs were then mapped into each respective sustainability theme.
The Sustainability Road Map has a timeline split into High, Medium, and Low priority areas. Currently, our emphasis is on the high priority areas where we can make the greatest impact.
Tracking Progress Against the Sustainable Development Goals
REL has undertaken a dynamic self-assessment to benchmark of our progress against the SDGs using the SDG Action Manager This is internationally recognised and externally verified, providing greater transparency and certainty in our progress. Produced by B-Corp, it allows REL to see where the main opportunities for improvement are in relation to achieving the SDGs and motivate us to act these.
Innovation - New Service Lines
Sustainability and wider societal goals are at the core of REL’s Business Plan. As sustainability becomes common place, clients’ requirements shift. REL have identified a number of areas where our technical expertise can ensure our clients are supported.
This is where we are positioned to assist.
ESG Due Diligence
An assessment focussed on risk management and value creation during Due Diligence providing increased protection to the medium to long term value of real estate assets from factors such as occupier demand, investor requirements, regulatory exposure, climate change, biodiversity, and energy security. Outputs identify proposed action and expected outcomes, with an understanding of cost, risk, and benefits.
Internal Sustainability Purpose and Road Mapping
We offer a consultancy service to create a client focussed mission statement which demonstrates that sustainability is a real, integral, and authentic driver to your business purpose. Added value includes the integration of SDGs into your business model to achieve competitive advantage, improve risk management, innovation, improve financial performance, increased client loyalty, employee attraction and retention.
Environmental Consideration – Fuel
We are currently carrying out feasibility assessments to determine if moving to a fleet of electric or vehicles using HVO fuel is possible. Further research is needed.
Social Considerations - Wellbeing and Coaching
The team at REL during October and November 2022 went through a coaching program to improve employee wellbeing and performance using an external coach to assess the relevant factors.
This coaching combined individual development with team support improving our understanding of how to ensure we are looking after our physical and mental wellbeing. It also identified the required tools and support necessary to succeed in supporting our staff in achieving an excellent work/life balance and feeling fulfilled in their personal and professional lives.
Health and wellbeing are an important consideration at REL. Before the coaching the employees of REL completed a survey to assess their wellbeing at and outside of the workplace. This measured what REL are doing well for their employees and what can be improved. Making sure that the staff have the support and knowledge to feel fulfilled, productive and prevent burnout. The results of the survey will be collated and assessed to identify opportunities for REL to enhance the support of all employees. Surveys will subsequently be undertaken periodically to ensure we can support our staff.
Reviewing and updating our policies
REL have been updating the following policies and statements to stay relevant and in line with current guidance.
- Modern Slavery
- Equal Opportunities
- Sustainable Procurement
Although REL is not required to have certain policies and statements, we believe it is important to demonstrate our commitments and how we conduct ourselves. It also allows us to have governance over our practices and ensure the whole team is committed to working in unison.
REL has been taking numerous steps to improve sustainability and will continue this development going forward. We have completed the first steps on our Sustainability Road Map, this on-going process will be documented as we complete more aspects. By signing up to commitments i.e., SME Climate Hub and the B-Corp SDG Action Manager we are aligning all of our sustainability targets together.
We believe it is important to be transparent and communicate what we have achieved and the next steps we will take. This will continue to provide updates on our progress on decarbonisation, waste prevention, energy security and improved wider socio-economic impact and much more.
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