When we launched Celtic Financial Planning in 2018, we always knew we didn’t just want to do business – we wanted to do it in the right way. For us, that will always mean respecting the local environment and the community in which we work.
For these reasons, we wanted to formalise our commitment to both and so we came up with the idea of creating our own corporate social responsibility mandate which is built on those values and underpins the way we do business.
Carbon Offsetting: For every new client that invests in our portfolio service, we donate and plant a native British tree. The thinking behind this is that the trees – like the investments – will grow well and will help to offset our carbon footprint at the same time.
Fairtrade Products: Where we can, we stock Fairtrade products such as tea and coffee. We want to ensure the money we spend goes to help those who need the support and allows everyone to have a fair deal.
Recycling: We support and promote recycled products. Where possible, we look to source them locally.
Working in the community: We donate a lot of time each year to engage with our local community and that includes litter picking to help look after the local environment. For the business community, we also run green workshops to help them lessen their carbon footprint. We are also working in partnership with Refill Mold so that anyone can access free tap water at our new offices in the town. The award-winning scheme is designed to help reduce plastic pollution, by making it easy for people to refill a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one.
Look at what you do at the moment and target the areas that will have the biggest impact. It can be simple, like having a paper-free office and using e-documents instead. It’s also a good idea to compress PDFs when storing them on the cloud. Storage takes energy and so the smaller the document, the less energy you’ll be using. For instance, by reducing the size of a document by 60% or 70%, it will take about 30% less energy to store. There are huge cost savings with this sort of thing. We’ve saved thousands on storage, paper costs and shredding by altering the way we do things.
Don’t just consider how to reduce your carbon footprint, but also how to offset it too. Our tree-planting campaign for every new pension client we get, is very popular. We’re also looking at investing in solar panels to sell energy back to the grid.
It’s important not to be overwhelmed by the process, start with baby steps and just brainstorm internally with your teams about what you think you can achieve.
Understand that progress is good for business. We’re all about planning for the future and we are under no illusion that businesses need to be flexible if they are going to make it. The world is changing. Clients and staff want to work with companies that have an environmental conscience. Our business has grown 700% since we launched – there’s no question that, in part at least, this is because we are a business who is doing our bit for the planet.
A word of caution though, it has to be in your DNA, otherwise it won’t work. There’s no room for greenwashing here. We’ve seen businesses who just pay lip service to green issues, and it doesn’t end well.
Consumers are increasingly educated on environmental issues and so your commitment has to be cultural – from the top down. This isn’t a PR exercise, it’s a firm commitment and a way of working that stands up to scrutiny.
- We measure by the level of interaction we have with the community, the number of trees we plant as part of our pension & investment scheme offering, and the recognition we are receiving from external organisations and initiatives for our environmental efforts.