At Atkin Jones limited, we’ve been measuring our emissions and looking to reduce our impact as a business for over two years now. Having been introduced to Investors in the Environment, we set about calculating our carbon footprint in year one and setting targets to reduce our energy usage, whilst increasing our social and community activities, resulting in a Silver accreditation. The audit assesses five key areas of an organisations’ activities – their Environmental Policy, Resource management and monitoring, Progress against targets, Action Planning (including social/environmental projects) and Communication.
We decided to attempt to achieve a Green accreditation in year two, which meant monitoring and reducing two additional outputs and committing to procurement, travel and waste management plans. With a growing business and sister brand Sanderson Phillips also requiring additional resource, this quickly became an involved process, but one we knew needed our full attention.
Having undertaken a purpose-mapping exercise with expert consultancy Prosperah, we knew which areas to focus our strategies on and did little else but look to support the six Sustainable Development Goals we identified. Committing to our plan and seeing through all our goals ensured were able to submit a strong application for Green and we were very proud when this was awarded last week.
What’s abundantly clear, however, is that we now have to do more – more than is required of a business our size – to ensure that we continue to improve but also encourage other organisations to do the same. Yes it takes time, effort and resource to work to these plans and principles, but we cannot keep operating our businesses blindly ignoring the fact that we won’t have a planet capable of sustaining our operations at all if we keep doing things the same way.
We’ve found that a good way of making sure enough focus is placed on our social and environmental responsibilities is by joining organisations like UK for Good, who provide businesses with support and a community of like-minded leaders who meet regularly to discuss key topics and bounce ideas around.
I was very pleased to be asked to join the panel for the The Global Travel and Tourism Resilience Council session on managing risk and preparing for the future at Global Travel Marketplace in London last week. Crisis management was high on the agenda and unsurprisingly climate change was up there with the most common fears. We are seeing the affects of natural disasters with worryingly increased regularity in the travel industry and the impact of these are wide-reaching for everyone involved. Sustainability is now firmly in the spotlight for travel businesses and very much part of the risk management conversation.
Read more about our social responsibility charter here.