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Shutterstock: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 84255913. Environment concept, glass globe in the grass
Shutterstock: Royalty-free stock photo ID: 84255913. Environment concept, glass globe in the grass

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NCC Conversations: Taking action to protect the environment

This month as part of our ongoing NCC Conversations series, we’ve been exploring the topic of climate change and the role we, as NCC Group and individuals, must play in making a change now, to protect the environment for the future.

As part of this, our Global Director of Sustainability and Corporate Affairs, Yvonne Harley, went on a virtual roadshow in September, connecting with colleagues all around the world from her base in Scotland to check in and involve colleagues in how we can keep up with our commitment to prioritise our focus on the environment.

Here, Yvonne shares her thoughts as we continue to assess and improve the way in which we impact the world that we live in.

What have you been most encouraged about following your virtual roadshow and conversations with colleagues?

There’s two stand out things for me having done this – one was the personal accountability that colleagues feel, and the opportunity we have collectively to do more – locally and globally as an organisation.

I deliberately talked to colleagues in different locations to understand the local context and there was a real sharing of information. Embracing plant-based diets, car sharing where public transport isn’t an option, the importance of wellbeing, giving back in our local communities and supporting local initiatives, are just some of the real changes our colleagues are already doing in a bid to support the environment.

The conversation with colleagues around the world was just the start. It’s important that we make this about conscious decision making. It’s not about telling people what they can’t do but giving space to consider options and making the right decision for the right reason. And we must always think about the broader impact of our decision making. For example, we had a great idea to remove printers in some of our offices, however, that may impact those who require printed documents for accessibility requirements or in some cases we are still required to print documents for customers. So, taking an idea, engaging with our stakeholders, then taking action…

How is NCC Group making a difference this year in the fight against climate change?

So, it’s part of our overall commitment to sustainability and it’s not just about this year, it’s about setting the foundations for the future. I feel the global pandemic has offered us a chance to do things differently and if we reverted to our ‘normal’ ways of working, meeting, and travelling it would perhaps show a lack of creativity and a wasted opportunity.

As our office environments come back to life, we are investing in education programmes to reduce our physical impact – from flexible working and unnecessary printing, to recycling. And we will continue to review our physical office requirements to ensure we only use what we need.

We’ll measure our travel behaviour, understand the impact on the environment and how we can improve/offset, with an aim to reduce activity by 30% based on FY19 (our last full year of travel pre the pandemic).

Building on the new and successful ways of working created by the pandemic we are also committing to engaging in conversation with our customers to explore how we can work together to reduce the impact on the environment through reducing non-essential travel and different ways in delivering our projects.

So that we can measure what we are doing, we’ve also partnered with Willis Towers Watson to develop our approach to identifying and assessing climate change risk, which will support the development of a robust strategy and enable reporting against the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures in 2022.

Finally, we will be creating a new colleague resource group at NCC Group, dedicated to championing all areas of our sustainability framework, with a focus this year on establishing our commitment to protecting the environment, today and for the future.

What big change are you personally making this year?

I’m not sure it’s a big change, but I’m waging war on bringing packaging into my home right now and food waste. I’m going to make a real effort to try zero waste shopping. Of course, that it is easier to say than do, however I think it links with wellbeing, and that is taking time out to prepare rather than always feeling rushed.

Notes

Sustainability at NCC Group

Our approach to sustainability is focused on the recognised elements of environment, social and governance (ESG). These are brought to life with our framework, which enables us to focus our efforts on the activities that deliver the greatest value to our people, our customers, our shareholders, and the world we all live in.

You can find out more about our commitment to sustainability here.

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