12 Jan 2024  •  Blog, CSR  •  4min read By  • Dan Gamson

Practice Plan and Wesleyan building a sustainable future

As a mutual, Wesleyan is owned by its members and has no shareholders. As it says on its website: “We thrive by staying true to the needs of the people who matter most – our members, our customers and colleagues, as well as the communities in which we live and work.” Which is one of the reasons Wesleyan as a group takes its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) responsibilities so seriously.

Here, Wesleyan Group Sustainability Manager, Dan Gamson, reflects upon the progress and contribution Wesleyan Group company, Practice Plan, has made so far towards achieving Wesleyan’s ESG goals.

Working collaboratively

Although I am the Sustainability Manager for the Wesleyan Group, this year I’ve been working with Practice Plan Sales and Marketing Director, Nigel Jones, to create a standalone Practice Plan Group (PPG) sustainability strategy. We’ve taken the group sustainability strategy and tailored it to reflect the work that PPG does. There’s also an action plan that sits alongside it.

This year, we’ve been doing things like changing our office light bulbs to be LEDs and we’ve also changed the energy tariffs, so they’re from renewable sources now. In isolation, these are only small tweaks that we’ve made, but looking back collectively, we’ve done a lot, and it shows that there’s a real hunger and keenness to keep on going and that it’s not just a one size fits all approach. It’s not ‘we’ve got rid of some bottles, we’ve got a new bin, there we go. That’s our bit.’ There’s a genuine thirst for it, which is great to see.

Arguably, we have already harvested the low hanging fruit. One of the biggest changes we’ve made is to change all of our energy supplies to renewable energy. There was quite a cost associated with that. It was tough to do that during an energy crisis. However, while there was an uplift in cost to do so, it also reinforced the Board and Exec’s appetite for delivering the right outcome. They could have said, ‘no,’ but they were willing to put their money where their mouth was and still do it, which I believe demonstrates their commitment.

Aggregating marginal gains

Although there was a cost, switching suppliers reduced our carbon footprint by a significant amount. To keep making gradual reductions in our overall carbon footprint, we’re now dealing with smaller measures that keep things ticking over, but we probably won’t see another big reduction for quite some time now. However, these small incremental changes add up and it’s important to keep on doing them as part of our continual reduction plan.

From the point of view of colleagues, seeing those continual changes helps reinforce the message that we are doing something in this space. We have also started a workplace champions group which has a sustainability section on the agenda. And we’ve reinvigorated the membership of the Sustainability Committee as well.

There are plenty of minor changes I could mention which, on their own, seem insignificant. However, collectively, they amount to huge changes in our position. This is also reflected in our Employee Opinion Surveys which show that colleagues are engaging with our efforts to become more sustainable, which is really good to see.

The future

The biggest piece of work I’ve been focusing on recently is our carbon strategy. Back in 2019, Wesleyan made a commitment to become operationally carbon neutral by the end of 2023. Since then, we have made good progress in reducing our carbon emissions. I created a carbon policy and a carbon strategy which was approved by the relevant committees and our Board. This means we can procure carbon credits to offset the residual carbon that we could not reduce. This will enable us to achieve our goal of being operationally carbon neutral by the end of 2023 once our carbon footprint has been reviewed and validated by a third party for credibility.

So, if you look at the journey from where we made the statement in 2019, then we’ve come a long way. We’ve gone through the correct governance, educated people, taken people on a journey, and positioned ourselves to be operationally carbon neutral. It’s taken a lot of work and commitment, but I think we can be proud of our achievement.

Maybe add here, for more information about Wesleyan’s sustainability agenda, visit here

About Dan

Dan Gamson is Wesleyan Group’s Sustainability Manager. He has more than 13 years’ experience of working in sustainability and prior to joining Wesleyan worked on the Sustainability Strategy for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

 

 

 

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