Our mission began in 2022, with the launch of our Distinct Sustainability Pledge and the formation of our internal Sustainability Team.
During our regular meetings, action plans were formed which ranged from making small everyday changes within our office spaces, to taking on bigger projects – all with the long-term goal of reducing waste and becoming a sustainable, carbon-neutral business.
“It is a privilege to work with a supportive Board of Directors and passionate colleagues in our Sustainability Team so that we can enact positive change within our organisation.”– Leanne Gelderd, Finance Director
Becoming carbon neutral
In partnership with Positive Planet, we measured our scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions using the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol. This protocol provides the framework and tools to calculate total emissions and is currently the most widely used standard for companies worldwide.
Calculating the period from July 2021 through to December 2022, we have offset our total annual emissions and pledge to continue to assess and offset our impact on a rolling basis.
Our positive impacts in 2022
Planting trees to reduce atmospheric carbon
As part of our carbon offset agreement, 2,580 trees were planted on our behalf by Positive Planet.
With their partner, Eden Projects, Positive Planet “help to reduce extreme poverty and restore healthy forests” in eight different countries including Kenya, Mozambique and Nepal – supporting their economy “by employing local people (…) to plant millions of trees every year.”
One hectare of land can contain anywhere between 1,000 – 2,500 trees depending on the species planted. For rainforest species which are larger on average, this means that so far, we’ve planted enough trees to fill the grounds of two whole football stadiums!
For every permanent placement we make, our candidates are given a sustainable metal water bottle, created in collaboration with Fosh. After each of these placements, we also plant a tree in the candidate’s name.
These bottles are shipped in custom biodegradable and recyclable packaging, which is made in Europe and has production emissions offset by also planting a tree with each delivery.
Removing half a football stadium of ocean plastic
Fosh works in collaboration with CleanHub and as a result, every Distinct water bottle has prevented “a minimum of 25 single-use plastic bottles reaching the Ocean,” to protect underwater life and habitats.
After making the switch part way through 2022, this means our permanent placements stopped a minimum of 5,575 items of plastic pollution from reaching the sea.
On our behalf, Positive Planet also removed a further 2,580 items of ocean plastic.
Combined with these efforts, we avoided the production of 1,656 plastic milk bottles by switching to glass in our weekly grocery delivery from a local supplier, Kerry’s Fresh.
This total figure means that in 2022, we planted 2803 trees and either prevented or removed 9,811 items of plastic pollution from the ocean or landfill.
That’s enough plastic to fill just under half of the seats in the Notts County Football Stadium.
How the ocean and land negate the causes of climate change
The ocean and land absorb around half of all carbon dioxide emissions made by humans.
Planting trees is one of the most effective solutions to mitigate climate change, alongside keeping the ocean thriving with marine life and unpolluted water. The ocean generates 50% of our oxygen, while coral reefs can absorb carbon four times faster than trees.
As a business, we hope to be part of the solution to stop global warming by continuing to protect these vital resources.
“By planting more than a half trillion trees (…) we could capture about 205 gigatons of carbon (…) reducing atmospheric carbon by about 25 percent. That’s enough to negate about 20 years of human-produced carbon emissions (…) or about half of all carbon emitted by humans since 1960.”– Alan Buis, NASA, 2019
Small changes add up
“Today, with more than two dozen earth-observing satellites and instruments, it’s clearer than ever that our planet is an interconnected system. Local events can have global impacts and global events impact local communities.”– Katherine Rohloff, NASA, 2023
Over time, we’ve cultivated an office environment where every decision has sustainability in mind – from the dish sponges we use to our heating system, which auto-times out every 40 minutes. Below are a few examples of small everyday changes we’ve made.
We changed suppliers for our Distinct hoodies, which are given to all of our new starters. These new-and-improved designs are from a local supplier (which also means lower transport emissions) and are made from organic cotton, with an embroidered design.
Our new starters are also gifted their own Distinct steel bottle from our collaboration with Fosh, to reduce single-use plastics from our drinks in the office.
Alongside regular recycling, we also have a dedicated bin to recycle wrappers made of soft plastic; such as chocolate bars, crisp packets and other packaging often found in lunchtime meals.
Our tissues, kitchen and toilet roll, supplied by Naked Sprout, are made from bamboo and are plastic and chemical-free. Our hand soaps and washing liquid arrive in refillable bulk containers which are given back to the supplier, Shop Zero. Our sink sponges are also made from cellulose and coconut, meaning they dissolve over time.
Our coffee machine is stocked with beans from 200 Degrees, a Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade-certified business. Thanks to this unlimited perk, we output a considerable amount of coffee grounds each day, which has provided us with a great opportunity to get involved with Wilford
Roots Community Garden. Wilford Roots uses these grounds to create a nitrogen-rich compost, perfect for growing vegetables in their sensory garden.
“I am incredibly proud of all the environmental efforts that our sustainability cohort (and the business) have made through making positive, climate-friendly changes within our office and in their personal lives. Through knowledge and awareness of the things we can change and the impact we have, we’ve seen a positive movement towards a greener way of thinking!”– Jaimee Bishop, People Operations Manager
What’s next for us?
We’ve achieved our carbon-neutral goal, but our efforts won’t end here.
We’re determined to continue to push ourselves further throughout 2023 and we already have a number of exciting plans in store for the future.
For now, we’ll hint at our next mission; expanding what ‘sustainability’ means to us – not only in environmental terms, but also in the humanitarian aspects of what makes a business truly ethical.
“Having a purpose – ‘Doing the Right Thing’, has been at our core since day one. Putting people first and doing our bit for the planet is at the heart of our strategy as we continue to grow Distinct Recruitment, as a responsible and sustainable business, to new levels over the next few years.”– Alex Alcock, UK Growth and Strategy Director