In line with the commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) outlined in our CSR Policy, Ethical Screening is pleased to report on the progress that we have made over the last 12 months.
Climate Emergency Declaration
In October 2019, Ethical Screening published a Climate Emergency Declaration, in which we committed ourselves to doing all we can to address the climate emergency within our spheres of influence. The sourcing of green energy and use of carbon offsetting are key measures in our approach to reducing and mitigating the climate impacts of our direct operations.
In autumn 2019, Good Energy replaced Ecotricity as the electricity supplier to us and a number of other businesses in Formal House, the office complex in which we are based. Good Energy derives 100% of its electricity from renewable and alternative sources of energy. Since making the switch to a green energy supplier in April 2016, we have made carbon savings of over 40 tonnes CO2e (using the Carbon Trust SME Carbon Footprint Calculator).
In mid-2019, a gas-fired central heating system was installed in our offices. Ecotricity is the chosen supplier of carbon neutral gas.
As we previously reported, the owners of Formal House have installed solar panels on the roof of the building; these have now been commissioned into service. To date, they have generated over 1,250 kWh of electricity.
The majority of our employees walk, cycle, or use public transport to get to our office, but business travel outside Cheltenham is also necessary from time to time. Where public transport is not a practical option, we use cars. On the rare occasions when we need to fly to business locations to mitigate the carbon impact of such trips, we use Carbon Footprint (provider of Carbon Offsets to the UK Government) to calculate our emissions and select a Quality Assurance Standard approved provider of carbon offsets. In the last 12 months, we have not taken any flights for business purposes.
For the first time, in 2019, Ethical Screening also offset the personal carbon emissions (flights and travel) of our staff.
Waste Reduction & Management
Formal House has now switched its waste management supplier for the building to PrintWaste. This allows both us and other tenants to recycle a wider range of waste products such as used printer ink and toner cartridges, spent batteries and unused electrical cables. PrintWaste is a certified member of The Recycling Association. The company has implemented an environmental management system that is certified to the international standard ISO 14001 and operates a Zero Waste to Landfill policy.
On the UK's Anti-Slavery Day on October 18th, 2019, Ethical Screening published its first Modern Slavery Statement. As a small business, we are exempt from the legislation but this exercise has enabled us to identify and address the key risks within our supply chain as far as possible. All company staff have completed training to raise their awareness of modern slavery both at work and in the wider community.
In the past 12 months, Ethical Screening staff have been involved in fundraising in the following way:
In July 2019, our colleague Jim took part in a sponsored Butterfly Walk on Greenham Common to raise funds for Debra, a charity which aims to find a cure for Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a group of genetic skin conditions that cause the skin to blister and tear at the slightest touch.
In 2019, Ethical Screening donated a total of £1,620 to the following charities:
- AfriKids - which raises funds to support more children in Ghana to complete their education.
- Centrepoint - provides housing and support for homeless young people in London, Manchester, Yorkshire and the North East and through partnerships all over the UK.
- Crisis - national charity for homeless people, offering one-to-one support, advice and courses for homeless people in 12 areas across England, Scotland and Wales.
- Debra - see above.
- Little Princess Trust - provides free real hair wigs to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment or other conditions.
- Mary's Meals - provides daily meals to some of the world's poorest children when at school.
- Practical Action - works internationally with communities to develop innovative, lasting and locally owned solutions for agriculture, water and waste management, climate resilience and clean energy.
- Street Child - works in remote and disaster-affected states to help children go back to school support families to set up businesses.
- Village Water - currently working in Zambia and Mozambique to promote hygiene and sanitation, and improve access to safe water.
We also have a Matched Giving policy in place, through which Ethical Screening matches employees' charitable donations.
Engagement with the Responsible Investment Community
Ethical Screening operates within a wider responsible investment community and welcomes the opportunity to support initiatives which promote or advance its cause. In 2019, our participation included:
- Corporate Human Rights Benchmark 2019 - online consultation, and launch event.
- edie Live - an exhibition and conference connecting energy, sustainability and resource professionals with the information, ideas and suppliers they need to make their businesses more sustainable.
- RI Europe 2019 Conference on sustainable business and finance.
- UN Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) - Ethical Screening has been a signatory to the UN PRI since 2014 and provides an annual submission under the Service Providers Framework. We also participate in the UN PRI Corporate Reporting Reference Group.
- UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF) annual analyst conferences in London and Edinburgh.
In July 2019, Ethical Screening was awarded the Fair Tax Mark for the second year in a row following our successful first application in 2017/18. The Fair Tax Statement for 2019 was compiled in partnership with the Fair Tax Mark and certifies that Ethical and Environmental Screening Services Limited meets the standards and requirements of the Fair Tax Mark's small business standard.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
We have now expanded the scope of our research in order to assess whether company activities are aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals Ethical Screening further the aims of the Goals itself through engagement with relevant organisations such as UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development (UKSSD) to which Ethical Screening became a member in August 2018.
Objectives for 2020
We are interested in participating in the UN Global Compact, a voluntary initiative based on CEO commitments to implement universal sustainability principles and to take steps to support UN goals, and will look into joining the initiative in 2020.