Bishop Fleming uses sustainability actions to attract and retain employees

Accountancy firm Bishop Fleming has aligned its organisational vision and values with those that are important to its employees, creating a strong focus on sustainability and climate change actions.

In January 2019, the organisation began a plastic-free initiative led by an employee group, Bright Futures. As a result, Bishop Fleming has now removed the use of single-use plastic items such as carrier bags, coffee cups, plastic straws and cutlery from its workplaces. All employees now have a branded coffee cup and water bottle, and through its actions the firm was accredited as a ‘plastic-free champion’ in July by conservation charity Surfers Against Sewage.

Ewan McClymont, business development director at Bishop Fleming, says: “The brief we gave Bright Futures was to come up with a project that supports the community, is environmentally friendly, and also [gains] business or educational engagement. What they came back with was to eradicate as much single-use plastic as possible.”

Employees are also given one day a year to carry out work in the local communities, such as beach and river cleans, litter picking and tree planting. So far in 2019, more than 1,000 hours of community work have been recorded by staff.

Anna Averis, people director at Bishop Fleming, says: “The important thing from our perspective is that it links to our overall vision. It’s driven by our employees and very much supported by our leadership; we know that’s what we need to do to be an attractive employer and to retain great people.”

Bishop Fleming has also committed to reducing its carbon footprint by 5% each year. It does so by encouraging car sharing, cycle-to-work and walk-to-work schemes, and measuring its energy consumption.

In 2011, the firm introduced an environmental management system that measures the amount of paper it uses, as well as business mileage and electricity and gas usage. It also has a system in place to measure car sharing statistics.

In June 2019, the firm set out a five-year plan for its vision and values, and asked its 350 employees for their insights into what made it a rewarding employer from three perspectives: clients, employees and communities.

“We recognised that [being] rewarding, particularly for our [employees], isn’t just about the financial reward that they get when they work for an employer,” says Averis. “Our people look to work for, and stay with, organisations that have a strong values base, and values that are aligned to things that they care passionately about, including things like sustainability and climate change.”

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