At the start of July, UK chancellor Rishi Sunak published a roadmap for reforming capital markets, boosting opportunities for green finance and investment and protecting access to cash.
His vision for the future of UK financial services is to be more open, competitive, technologically advanced and sustainable.
On green finance, Sunak announced plans to require Financial Services firms and their investment products to report on the impact they are having on the climate and environment, as well as the risks and opportunities facing their business.
It’s hoped this will streamline existing climate reporting requirements, ensuring that consumers and investors have the information they need to make informed investment decisions.
Alongside this, the Government is to work with the Financial Conduct Authority on the creation of a new sustainable investment label so that consumers can clearly compare the impacts and sustainability of their investments for the first time.
Details have also been announced on the types of green projects that will be eligible for funding when the UK issues its first ever sovereign green bond later this year. They include zero-emissions buses, offshore wind and schemes to decarbonise homes.
On the Government's plans to protect access to cash, Sunak pointed to a consultation which proposes new laws to make sure people only need to travel a reasonable distance to pay in or take out cash.
At MERJE, we believe that it’s vital for organisations to get ahead and prepare for these proposed reforms, by implementing a clearly mapped out sustainability framework to minimise environmental impact and avoid greenwashing.
We recognise as well that it’s important to lead by example, which is why we wanted to share our approach to sustainability and how it can offer peace of mind to the people who choose to partner with us.
How we measure and reduce our carbon emissions
Our board regularly meets to discuss how MERJE is performing on an environmental basis
In 2018, we moved into a new, purpose built head office in Manchester which was designed and developed to the highest standards to support the lowering of our energy emissions.
The office is directly opposite a Metrolink station and a number of our staff live locally so the majority either walk to work or use this invaluable public transport system.
A number of employees who do need to drive to our head office tend to car share frequently and the business has recently enquired about having electric car charging stations installed in our private car park.
Just 35% of our employees work from the office five days a week due to our flexibility around remote working, which is underpinned by the high performing recruitment technology we have access to. This reduction in commuting further supports our impact on the environment.
All London-based MERJE employees choose not to drive into the city, preferring to commute via the Underground or cycle. Our London office was newly refurbished when we moved in and it has a strong energy rating to support our emissions targets.
The building also uses a clean energy provider to ensure MERJE is doing as much as possible for the London environment.
We also offer a Cycle to Work scheme so that our employees can reap the mental and physical benefits of cycling in to the office whilst saving money and helping the environment.
We have a robust CSR policy and regularly support local and national charities through donations and volunteering, as well as investing in and giving back to other local businesses.
How we reduce single use plastics in the business
We invest in biodegradable products throughout our offices, as well as encouraging people to use either paper or reusable bags and cardboard coffee cups.
We also promote the use of good, plastic-free local suppliers, such as independent grocery stores, butchers, zero-waste shops and healthy eateries.
We covered some great ways for businesses to reduce their plastic use in our Plastic Free July article.
Mitigating our impact on the surrounding environment
We take the time to keep our physical, in-person events or meetings local to our offices and, where possible, we host or devise virtual events, campaigns and CSR initiatives.
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