Celebrated internationally by millions of people on 5th June, World Environment Day raises global awareness about the greatest environmental challenges facing the planet. Officially hosted in Sweden, this year’s theme is ‘Only One Earth’ with the focus on living sustainably in harmony with nature.
Since 1973, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and its 193 member states and representatives has been setting the global agenda for environmental sustainability, calling for global collective, transformative action to celebrate, protect and restore our planet. Now, World Environment Day has grown to be the largest global platform for environmental outreach.
But while awareness is rising, so too are global temperatures. According to a recent assessment by the UK Met Office, while it may still be possible to keep the global temperature rise to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, it will most likely include an ‘overshoot’ above the 1.5C threshold before lowering toward the end of the century.
Put plainly, the need for businesses to be fully committed to minimising their impact on the environment has never been greater. Every opportunity should be taken for businesses to operate sustainably. Our approach to sustainability and environmental performance is a long-term commitment, that will continue to evolve.
In fact, for over 160 years, we have followed a triple bottom line ethos of ‘people, planet, purpose’, recognising from the beginning that our responsibilities extend way beyond our base-line commercial business interests. We believe it is important to empower our colleagues to make personal environmentally conscious choices.
Our environmental practices are engrained in our culture, raising awareness across our workforce. We have dedicated teams that continually assess our policies and operational systems so that they maintain our ISO14001 certifications standards, including our Environmental Steering Group and Environmental Management Systems team. In addition, our quality compliance manager ensures that new employees are properly introduced to our sustainability practices, whatever their role. Over 200 of our colleagues are also enrolled in the Cycle to Work Scheme to reduce emissions from commuting.
As a carbon-neutral organisation, we are committed to ensuring the impact of our activities on the environment are minimised, while investing in initiatives to help us make a positive contribution outside of our business. To offset the 477 tons of carbon produced annually by our operations, we have funded a number of initiatives including a wind-based power generation project in India. The project in Maharashtra is helping the country to reduce reliance on coal, while – due to wind power’s labour-intensive nature – created a raft of local jobs.
Operational transport often carries hefty carbon emissions that requires investment to change. To reduce our footprint, we use only dual fuel and low emissions vehicles across our security patrol fleet. When needed, these are replaced with electric vehicles wherever possible, and charging points have been installed at our London and Glasgow offices.
We minimise the use of paper wherever possible, saving approximately 100,000 sheets of paper annually thanks to EDOB. Any wastepaper is recycled. Water and energy consumption is also reduced wherever possible across all our regional offices.
As a Social Enterprise since 2021, we believe we have a duty to help inspire other businesses, regardless of their size or income, to become socially ethical too. We cannot afford to let sustainability become just another tick box exercise. It is incumbent on all businesses to fully commit to sustainability and embrace it as an essential branch of the organisation. Businesses should continually be looking to improve how they incorporate sustainability strategies into every part of their daily operations.
Practically, not every business is in a position to achieve social enterprise status, but we have #OnlyOneEarth so becoming as more environmentally focused as we possibly can is something we should all embrace and be enthusiastic about.
For support and guidance about becoming a social enterprise, visit Social Enterprise UK
Corps’ full sustainability policy is available here.