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Putting sustainability back in the spotlight: why we are committing to net zero carbon emissions

Simon Winfield, Managing Director, Hays UK & Ireland

For the past year, governments and scientists around the world have been focused on how to tackle the real and immediate threat of Covid-19. However, the long-term need for a more sustainable, low-carbon way of life to reduce the impact of climate change has not become any less important and it is now firmly back on the radar for us and many others.

Over the past 12 months, many of us have felt even more compelled to lend our voices to societal issues – from racial and gender equality, to learning to be better allies to the LGBTQ+ community. Purpose has become even more important to employees, who expect their organisations to make a difference on issues like sustainability. Taking a strong stance on climate change is, to me, an equally important issue.

With this in mind, Hays has pledged to become ‘Net Zero’ in terms of carbon emissions by the end of 2021. This is a global commitment across Hays and follows a number of initiatives in the UK and Ireland to help improve our sustainability.

Our case for sustainability

Not only is there a strong business case for being more sustainable. Increasing energy efficiencies and decreasing waste helps reduce costs, for example. Being more sustainable also enables us to be better able to adapt to regulatory changes, should they arise. Plus, our customers and employees feel strongly about sustainability issues, and we want the communities that we work with and for to know that we represent their interests and values.

And finally, it keeps us thinking long term. Hays has been in operation for over 50 years, and we want to celebrate many more anniversaries. Business leaders need to continually ask ourselves: what are we doing today, that will benefit this organisation tomorrow? Protecting our planet now is the action that will help our business, our employees, and customers in the future.   

What else have we done to become more sustainable?

Our Net Zero commitment is by no means a stand-alone initiative. In fact, it follows our pledge to eliminate single use plastics across all 90 UK offices by the end of 2022.

And the work to uphold this promise is well underway. Before the lockdowns, we reduced our single use plastic consumption by 70%, largely by prohibiting the purchase of single use plastic for office needs, improving recycling facilities and raising awareness amongst staff about personal plastic use.

We also switched to 100% renewable energy across our UK and Ireland offices, an effort that is estimated to save 1,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide over two years and we are in the process of moving our car fleet to electric vehicles, in addition to automating expense and invoice processes to reduce total paper usage.

Of course, we are also a significant recruiter of skilled workers into low carbon, social infrastructure and environmental, social & governance (ESG) roles, and is actively looking to grow our ESG-related talent pools, helping to solve skill and talent shortages globally.

Taking the right steps

Whilst we may not have products or manufacturing processes that need urgent attention to reduce environment impact, we recognise that we still have a responsibility to join the effort and do what we can.

We’ve taken some great measures across our business, and this latest Net Zero pledge is, I believe, another important step to help us make a difference. Tackling the climate crisis requires all businesses to do their part and at Hays we are stepping up and making that commitment. What action are you taking?
 

About this author

Simon joined Hays in 2006, having commenced his recruitment career in 1993. Initially responsible for our businesses in Western Australia and Northern Territory, Simon relocated to the UK in 2014 where he was responsible for our operations in the West & Wales and Ireland, before being appointed Managing Director of the UK & Ireland business in 2018.

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