Francesca Campbell explains RSA’s sustainability efforts

RSA’s-sustainability-efforts

Authored by RSA

In the  past few months it’s been difficult to ignore conversations about climate change – with 'climate strike' being named word of the year and Greta Thunberg making headlines again by being named Time's Person of the Year awareness of our long-term impact on the environment has never been higher.

Sustainability has always been a part of our corporate responsibility strategy, but when we launched Confident Futures, our work to integrate responsible business practices into our everyday operations, we’ve renewed our commitment to building a truly sustainable business, aiming to reduce our direct environmental impact – from the way we manage our offices to how we travel.

“I can see a real impact coming through from the activities that we do on a daily basis”

As corporate responsibility manager, I work with teams across the business to encourage improvements that reduce RSA’s environmental impact. As a member of the UK and International Corporate Responsibility Committee, I work with our facilities and estates team to change the way we think about our day-to-day environmental footprint. You might also remember me from our recent ‘do the right thing’ Q&A in July.

In 2019, we turned up the dial in tackling our direct environmental impact, switching to renewable energy for our sites in Horsham, Manchester, Sunderland and Chelmsford. By making the switch, we reduced the carbon emissions from our purchased electricity by 56%. To put it another way, that’s reducing our output by 1,700 tonnes of carbon per year, which is the same as 2,800 flights from London to New York.

Setting a new carbon reduction target

We’ve also set a new carbon reduction target, aiming to reduce our emissions by 50% by 2030. Our goal is in line with science-based target methodology as far as possible, and will be reviewed when the wider financial services sector releases its approach to carbon reduction.

The target also takes into account the reduction in carbon required to keep the increase in global temperature below 1.5˚C. While our target currently applies to our direct emissions and emissions from business travel, we will be looking at how we can reduce the emissions associated with our wider activities.

From single use to social value

We’ve been working hard to phase out single use plastic cups across our UK estate. We’ve already started planning the introduction of dishwashers in our kitchens in Liverpool, London, Peterborough and Chelmsford, and we’ll continue to roll this out to our remaining sites after once we can assess its success. 

We are providing all employees with refillable water bottles being produced by social enterprise, the Commercial Foundation. The foundation helps disadvantaged young people turn their lives around by providing employment, building the skills and confidence needed to find a future career.

Find out more on efforts to integrate responsible business practices into our everyday operations in our Confident Futures hub.

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