This policy applies to all Growth Company (GC) colleagues, associates, secondees, agency staff and third parties who undertake activity for, and on behalf of, GC. It applies to the goods and services we procure, our direct operations and the services we provide to our customers. GC operates within a suite of interdependent policies and their procedures, which are implemented collectively to deliver the objectives of the Environmental Policy.
To provide an effective framework for realising GC’s commitment to protecting, and where possible enhancing, the environment by reducing the Group’s environmental impacts, preventing pollution, mitigating and adapting to climate change and a low carbon future.
All colleagues including associates, secondees, agency staff and third parties are responsible for ensuring this Policy is adhered to. In addition, those colleagues who procure goods and services should follow GC’s Procurement Policy including the requirement to include social value considerations which include environmental issues. As referenced, some activities within the scope of this Policy are covered by additional dedicated policies and procedures to ensure the objectives of this Policy are delivered.
GC is a group of companies that works in partnership with others to enable growth, create jobs and improve the lives of residents and local communities. The Group delivers activities across the service areas: Business Support & Finance, Commercial, Corporate Services, Skills & Education, Employment, International and Green Services. With over 1,800 colleagues across 45 sites, the Group recognises that its activities impact the environment in several ways, principally through:
- Energy – including the heating, lighting and electricity we use in the buildings we occupy and when working from home
- Business travel – emissions to air from our business-related travel
- Disposal of information communication technology hardware (ICT) – we have an obligation to ensure safe and secure recycling of IT assets in accordance with relevant regulations
- Use of paper – through the paper we use in our day-to-day operations
- Reducing the risk of emergencies – such as fire through the correct use of equipment, storage of hazardous chemicals and substances and waste collection and disposal
In recognising GC’s need to reduce its environmental impact, it has set a target to be Net Zero by 2035. The following actions will be taken to support this ambition, as well as its commitment to protecting the environment and continually improving its environmental performance by:
- Ensuring compliance with all relevant legislation and standards, and the expectations of our Customers and other key stakeholders
- Ensuring our systems and procedures prevent pollution
- Ensuring our suppliers are able and are encouraged to support our environmental commitments
- Ensuring we continually review how we can make improvements to our environmental performance
- Continually improving our environmental management system
Specifically, we will:
- Reduce energy consumption across our estate through staff awareness and improved controls
- Reduce business travel miles through better journey planning
- Reduce paper consumption through colleague awareness and increased use of electronic communication and data storage
- Rationalise our use of ICT hardware and ensure that all waste electrical & electronic equipment is reused or recycled where possible
- Reduce the amount of waste produced by considering purchasing decisions, and whether items can be reused or recycled, before putting them into the bin
- Utilise recycling facilities available to recycle paper, plastic bottles, cans, batteries, waste electrical items and other waste streams.
In addition, there are specific policies that address the individual environmental impacts:
- Waste Policy which covers the collection, storage and disposal of waste
- Use of ICT hardware via our Electrical and Confidential Waste Disposal Policy which covers data security and recycling
- Remote and Blended Working Policy which promotes flexible working conditions
- Business mileage via a Colleague Expenses Policy, which encourages journey planning and alternative modes of transport
- Company cars, the Policy for which requires all owned and leased vehicles to be euro 6 compliant
- Responsible Procurement Principles and Procurement Policy which covers sustainable procurement
GC has implemented several Strategic Priorities and Objectives related to Environmental Sustainability. These objectives are reviewed at set intervals and reported to the GC Board.
To realise our environmental objectives GC both recognises the need for, and is committed to, communicating our environmental commitments and performance to our suppliers, colleagues, customers and wider stakeholders. This is achieved via our procurement processes, and our existing communication channels to colleagues including the GC Business Plan, our policy management system and group wide awareness raising emails.
This policy and the actions arising from it will be annually reviewed as part of the business planning process, which involves input from GC’s Senior Leadership and Management Teams.
Version: 5 June 2023