16 Nov 2023

Doing right for the planet… and its people (Part 2)

In July we wrote about the importance of doing right for the planet and its people, and Monahans’ focus on getting colleagues involved in playing an active part in creating a more sustainable world. Meanwhile, championing a culture where our colleagues can thrive has been a key driver in our pursuit of B Corp certification, and we’ve made great waves in the last few months.

If our people are the ‘S’ – the social – of ESG, the place of the firm in the world around us is the ‘E’; our environmental impact.

We cannot overstate the firm’s intentions to do everything we can to minimise this impact, indeed it was the principle focus of our recent manager conference aimed at increasing awareness and understanding, alongside encouraging employee participation.

To keep our intentions at the forefront of people’s minds, our marketing team has created a dedicated ESG branding to ensure that all stakeholders understand the importance of ESG and its role in our strategy. This creates cohesive messaging across the organisation and gives us nowhere to hide in terms of our commitment.

Also sitting within marketing’s remit is the highly visual printed materials that the firm produces to demonstrate its expertise to the numerous sectors in which we operate. Unfortunately, we can’t eradicate this completely – it’s the nature of the business that we have to explain our varied accountancy and business advisory services to prospective clients – but we have been able to establish certain environmentally-friendly protocols.

For example, all of our printed literature now adheres to standards put in place by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and states: ‘Printed on 100% recycled, carbon balanced uncoated paper sourced from responsible managed forests and approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the Carbon Capture Programme and the World Land Trust. Printed using energy from renewable sources, supporting the Woodland Wildlife Trust. In the coming months, a major focus of the business will be on supporting clients through tax investigations by the HMRC, since the number of cases opened in the year leading up to 31 June 2023 was up 30% on the previous 12 months. As such, all of our forthcoming tax investigation marketing will feature this statement and the firm is also investigating printing materials with non-petroleum, vegetable-based inks.

This is just one area where we’re making improvements, identified as part of a project to improve our carbon footprint. We have enlisted the help of a dedicated service that maps out our carbon footprint, giving us as clear a picture as possible of the work that needs to be done across the business. It also allows us to communicate clearly with employees, engaging them in each step of the process and getting them involved with the firm’s commitments. After all, it’s our team that we depend on to be the instigators of our policies.

Much like B Corp certification itself, the carbon footprint process gave us some positive news, but there is certainly scope to do better. It has taken us through a journey of discovery, considering every area of spend and consumption, in a level of detail we hadn’t previously gone into and looking at how we can monitor energy usage and carbon emissions.

From there we have been able to put clear plans and priorities in place, and set targets for reduction. To that end, we are about to launch some trials with Giki, an employee sustainability engagement platform that will encourage individuals across the firm to think about their habits and suggest alternatives, raising awareness of how they can make a positive impact. It’s a great tool that encourages behavioural change, with the idea that we can increase our collective environmental influence as a firm. Other initiatives, including using green alternatives to stationery, improving recycling facilities in offices, engaging with landlords to find out more about green credentials of buildings leased, and changing travel policy to encourage use of public transport where possible and incentivise car sharing, all add to the incremental improvements being implemented across the firm.

It comes back to our people. We’re asking all colleagues to consider how they can, in their role, support the business in being a force for good. By implementing firm-wide initiatives and showing how committed we are to them, we hope to instil a culture whereby our colleagues can live and breathe our ethos of striving for better business practices. And we are confident they’ll be empowered to spread the word to their clients as a result,

As we make significant progress in a number of areas, we are buoyed by the prospects of becoming a B Corp since recent research shows that B Corps out-perform their UK peers across several business metrics. These metrics – faster growth in turnover and employee headcount, for example – can’t be the sole objective of the process, rather we must focus on being a ‘better’ business in areas such as environmental impact, employee engagement, civic and community engagement, and governance processes.

There is, of course, still work to be done. So, we will remain steadfast in our mission to be a responsible business, focusing our efforts on doing our bit for the planet. In the meantime, if improving our processes in these areas leads to greater levels of employee retention, engagement and diversity, stronger relationships with clients, higher levels of innovation, and collaboration with other B Corps, we won’t complain.

If you would like further information or have any questions on Monahans’ ESG policies, please contact one of our HR team today.

Sophie Austin