Environmental, Social and Governance Policy
Environmental, Social and Governance Policy
The purpose of this policy is to provide information about ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) factors and to encourage everyone working for and with Distinct to understand ESG better and our approach to sustainability matters. It is supported by our ESG Strategic Goals and Action Plan.
We want all our stakeholders, from our people to customers to investors, to be proud to be a part of our business. Part of that pride is understanding how our business makes a positive contribution to the world.
Environmental – Environmental sustainability is an ethical and commercial imperative. Managing our carbon footprint goes hand in hand with the strategic necessity to operate efficiently. Our commitment to tackling climate change at a corporate level is fundamental to our strategic objectives. Examples of how environmental factors relate to a business’s impact on the environment are: renewable energy usage; waste management; environmentally responsible policies.
Social – Our people make up our business. We aim to foster an environment that values and nurtures unique talents and contributions from every individual within a culture of inclusivity. While we have progress to make, we are committed to cultivating and empowering change by building an inclusive workplace where all talents can thrive. Social factors within a business could include: diversity and inclusion; appropriate working conditions for our people; and our community relationships.
Governance – Good governance is foundational to our business, and all aspects of ESG. We cannot thrive without paying attention to our compliance obligations. Our business seeks to go beyond the concept of ‘box-ticking’ and embed compliance into the heart of our business. Governance factors within our business could include: our company structure; our communication and reporting practices; and embedding our policies into meaningful practices.
Environmental, social and governance issues do not exist in a silo. ESG is about bringing them together under one banner to demonstrate the positive impact our business is having on the world. We believe that by driving forward our ESG efforts it will help us to live our values in our everyday working relationships, practices and behaviours. These are:
- Do the right thing
- To dare is to do
- No egos
- In it together
- Go home proud
This policy will inform how we aim to do this from an ESG perspective.
This policy has been agreed upon by the Board following a recommendation of the Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee. In making its recommendation, the ESG Committee engaged with the whole staff body, seeking their thoughts and contributions.
This policy does not form part of any contract of employment or other contract to provide services, and we may amend it at any time.
Our ESG commitment
Environment: our statement on climate change and the environment
We are committed to driving down our energy and carbon impacts, as we believe that climate change is one of the greatest risks to our world. Our sustainability programme is committed to environmentally sustainable initiatives that deliver efficiency, value, and health for our business, our people, and the wider community.
We actively promote a paper-free office. We regularly support our clients to avoid printing and we will make all endeavours to be a digital-first business.
We seek to comply with current environmental legislation and work to minimise the impact of our activities on the environment.
We support full communication and disclosure with our staff and wider stakeholders on our progress against climate-related performance indicators, including our progress to becoming a carbon neutral business.
Social: our statement on social responsibility
Our focus is to deepen relationships with our key stakeholders by investing in our employees and partnering with our customers, communities, investors and suppliers.
We are committed to engage with our employees to provide a challenging, dynamic, inclusive and diverse work environment that supports their professional development, as well as promoting a good work-life balance that prioritises their overall health and wellness.
We will support initiatives that benefit the environment, human welfare and education. This includes skills training that advance workforce talent pipelines for our customers and economic development in the communities in which we operate
We will engage employees, customers and suppliers around safety, health, and wellness.
We will preserve and promote the protection of human rights and welfare within our own business activities, as well as those of our supply chain, in accordance with our ethical procurement approach and our Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking policy.
Governance: our statement on ethical governance
Our focus is to promote strong oversight, transparency and risk management at all levels of our organisation, ensuring the resilience and long-term preservation of value for our business.
We will maintain strong corporate governance practices through exemplary board stewardship, management accountability, and proactive risk management.
We will mitigate risk exposure and build the resilience of our business to climate change through smart design and sighting.
We are committed to high ethical standards through a strong Code of Conduct, ongoing ethics training, and executive leadership that promotes a culture of integrity.
We cultivate strong stakeholder relationships through transparency, open communications, and responding to stakeholder input.
We establish clear and effective governance for ESG, set goals and establish accountability. This is set through our ESG committee and reported to our board.
Your role to play in ESG
As a member of our business, you have a vital responsibility to ensure our organisation thrives. When it comes to ESG, this means understanding your role in each area of ESG. You can start to do this by familiarising yourself with the concept of ESG, such as through this policy, and also our strategic objectives around ESG. You should know:
- Our strategic ESG goals
- How we plan to achieve them and over what time
- Your individual and team contribution to those goals
- How to discuss our ESG goals with customers and third parties
- Where to report potential concerns or actions which go against our policy
On an individual level, you have an important role to play in meeting our ESG objectives. Here’s how:
Environmental – We all have a role to play in reducing carbon emissions and getting to net zero. While as a business we are setting organisation-level targets, consider the choices you make and the environmental impact. For instance:
- When travelling, are there more environmentally friendly options to take?
- Can some meetings be done remotely instead of travelling?
- Think before you print
- Does the office have recycling and energy saving measures?
Social – Building a diverse and inclusive workforce where everyone feels valued is everyone’s responsibility. Understanding your role in bringing people together is critical to our success as a business. From hiring the best talent to encouraging all staff to thrive, we want a workplace where people proactively work to be the best. You can help by:
- Challenging and reporting discriminatory or offensive behaviour
- Understanding our Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Policy
- Being an active ally for groups often underrepresented
- Leading by example in your work
Governance – Good governance goes beyond having the right policies and procedures in place. It’s about embedding compliance in your day-to-day work. From completing training on time to actively understanding how regulations affect your work, good governance starts from the individual acting ethically. Take governance to heart by:
- Referring to policies and procedures instead of shortcuts
- Being aware of red flags for compliance failures and risks in your area of work
- Don’t be afraid to call out poor behaviour or report failures
Our responsibility to our customers
We have an obligation to our customers to offer them the best service. Customers are at the heart of our business, and without these partnerships our business wouldn’t exist. Part of that commitment to customers is about responding to their needs, hearing their concerns and committing ourselves to customer satisfaction.
ESG priorities are drawn not only from investor concerns but customer needs. Customers are asking how we are improving the world around us. How are we protecting our shared natural heritage, investing in our communities and being good corporate citizens? It is imperative on us as a business that all of our interactions with customers are reflective of who they expect us to be. And that is a partner in their own enterprise. A company they are proud to work with and recommend.
ESG and our supply chains
Traditional risks in supply chains were generally about quality, cost effectiveness and reliability. But seen through an ESG lens, the holistic nature of the third parties, from how they source raw materials to how they treat workers and comply with accepted standards are just as vital.
Ethical procurement gets to the heart of the supply chain. When we consider the entire supply chain, from raw material supplier to end use customer, we can better understand the needs and impacts of our business’s decisions within those relationships. Ethical procurement within the context of ESG means paying attention to the carbon impacts of a supplier, and the labour practises of an end-user.
We are committed to procuring our suppliers ethically by:
- Undertaking risk assessments of the value chain in order to identify key vulnerabilities based on supplier and customer needs.
- Real-time tracking and traceability over suppliers and movements of goods and services. We will try, where possible, to support high quality suppliers within a local geographical perimeter.
- Carrying out ESG due diligence on suppliers to evaluate and rank them based on their ESG profile and track record, and monitoring for ESG breaches.
- Investigate ESG incidents that take place in the value chain, have remediation plans ready and manage financial and reputational damage.
- Build robust internal governance frameworks to respond to ESG issues in the value chain.
Monitoring and enforcement
The Board has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy. They have delegated responsibility for overseeing its implementation to the ESG Committee
The key objectives of our ESG committee are to:
- Emphasise the importance of environmental measures, sustainability goals and performance, at all levels of the business.
- Promote, monitor implementation of and communicate progress against the strategic ESG objectives across the business – highlighting barriers to implementation both upwards to the Board and across the organisation to our people
- Provide best practice on the structure, policies and regulations that impact the business
- Increase understanding and awareness of corporate governance and social aspects that impact the industry
Progress on this policy is reported to the Board on a regular basis through the ESG Committee. Active participation and engagement at all levels of the business is of great importance to ensure ownership of ESG by all staff. At minimum, we endeavour to maintain compliance with legislative requirements.
Line managers have day-to-day responsibility for this policy and you should refer any questions about this policy to them in the first instance.
Any breaches or concerns, including ethical concerns or potential breaches in our commitment to high ethical standards should be reported as soon as possible through our whistleblowing Policy.
Review and maintenance
This policy is reviewed annually by the Board, with recommendations made by the ESG. Changes may be made at any time as government guidance develops. The date for next review is October 2025.
APPENDIX A: KEY DEFINITIONS
Equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion
Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities.
Equity: refers to fairness and justice and recognising that we do not all start from the same place and must acknowledge and make adjustments to imbalances.
Diversity: the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people. These characteristics could be everything that makes us unique, such as our cognitive skills and personality traits, along with the things that shape our identity (e.g. race, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation, cultural background).
Inclusion: actively embracing people with diverse perspectives, backgrounds. and experiences.
When a person or group of people is treated less favourably than another person or group of people would be treated based on their protected characteristic.
Types of discrimination
- Direct discrimination – treating someone unfairly because of their protected characteristic.
- Indirect discrimination – A practice, policy or rule applied to everyone that may at first appear fair or neutral but puts people of a particular protected characteristic at a disadvantage.
- Discrimination by association – a person is treated unfavourably because of another person’s protected characteristic.
- Discrimination by perception – when someone is treated unfairly because others believe they have a protected characteristic.
- Victimisation – a person is treated less favourably because they have or is expected to complain about discrimination.
- Harassment – unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity by creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
- Bullying – persistent, offensive, abusive, intimidating or insulting behaviour, abuse of power or unfair sanctions which make the recipient feel upset, threatened, humiliated or vulnerable, which undermines their self confidence, and which may cause them to suffer stress.
Each of the above, are grounds covered by current anti-discrimination legislation in the UK.
Equality Impact Assessment
An evidence-based approach designed to help ensure that policies, practices, events, and decision-making processes are fair and do not present barriers to participation or disadvantage any protected groups from participation.
Our people include employees (whether part time, full time, fixed term or permanent); casual workers, agency workers, contractors, delegates on secondment, volunteers, interns, apprentices, job applicants, third-party providers and partners.
A preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
Under anti-discrimination legislation (Equality Act 2010) employers are required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled staff. This means making changes to a disabled person’s environment or the way their employment is structured to mitigate any disadvantages and allows them to work safely and productively. This may include, for example, removing physical barriers, providing extra support, and providing flexibility.