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Measuring our commitment to sustainability

| Duncan & Toplis | 4 March 2024

Ever since we were founded in 1925, we have strived to support communities and businesses throughout our region and to give good causes our backing in both a professional and personal capacity.

Now that we’re one of the largest accountancy groups in the Midlands, we recognise that it’s even more important that our group plays a greater role in supporting people and the natural environment.

To help us have a greater positive impact on the environment and society, we’re setting out our future ambitions for sustainability and measuring our progress with the first of many annual ESG reports.

Sally-Anne Hurn, Duncan & Toplis’ Sustainability Champion said:

“Not only do we recognise the importance of doing our bit and the benefits this has for our team, our clients, and associates alike, having a greater positive impact on the world around us is also something we want to do. Our people care about each other, the environment, and the areas in which they work and live”.

From CSR to ESG

While many will be familiar with the concept of ESG (environmental, social and governance), you may be more familiar with CSR (corporate social responsibility) which is the concept that companies should be mindful of the impact they have on the wider world and take actions to make this more positive.

In many ways, ESG is an evolution of this; setting out a clearly defined set of standards measuring a business’s impact on society, and the environment and measuring against these and reporting our progress with honesty and transparency.

The idea behind this is that by focusing on ESG, we hold ourselves more accountable for our actions and the outcomes they have so we can work toward improving the positive impact we have with far greater purpose.

You can read our first ESG report in full here.

Our ESG targets

We have set ourselves nine measurable targets which will help us to significantly improve our environmental and social impacts in the years ahead. These are:

  • To work with carbon emissions consultants to achieve net zero status for the Duncan & Toplis group
  • To provide ESG advice and support materials to clients
  • Developing our Sustainability Project Group further by introducing more initiatives for team members to take part in
  • Developing the role of the Sustainability Champion, and recruit more team members to assist
  • To increase reporting on sustainability matters across the company on an ongoing basis
  • Committing to implementing Sustainable Development Goals by January 2025
  • To better promote our environmental pension schemes to team members
  • Implementing sustainable stationery across all eleven offices, and phasing out the use of paper business cards by December 2024

By the time of our next report, we hope to have achieved many of these goals or have made significant progress toward achieving them.

How green are we?

For our efforts to make our business more environmentally sustainable, we have to acknowledge the impact that we have at present, being earnest and transparent about our carbon footprint and the amount of waste we produce while also highlighting our work to reduce this.

We are proud to announce that we are officially certified as being ‘on the road to Net Zero’ by the sustainability platform Net Zero Now. This means that we have made a real commitment to reducing our carbon footprint to zero within the next five to eight years.

We have established a Green Initiative Policy, with each of our offices examining the green initiatives they can introduce to lessen the negative impact they may have on the environment and supporting each location to do so.

Our Green Initiative Policy includes the implementation of the following actions:

  • Green space transformation
  • Reduction in energy use
  • Minimising waste
  • Maintaining clean and tidy office spaces

Our team has implemented a waste reduction initiative at each of our 11 offices with schemes including clothes collections, blister pack, and pod back recycling, and reduced catering having been implemented so far, and we even donated our old mugs to the YMCA’s Nomad shelter.

We’ve introduced EV charging facilities to some of our offices, and our solar panels in Lincoln, Boston, Spalding, and Louth have generated 73,000 units of clean energy since 2022.

Our team has helped to create a wildflower meadow in Melton and our Spalding colleagues have been picking litter each month. Together with other organisations, we’ve also supported the National Forest in planting nearly 15,000 trees. We’re switching to more eco-friendly stationery and digital business cards while phasing out paper cards.

On top of this, we’ve elected our first-ever Sustainability Champion, Sally-Anne Hurn, who has also been shortlisted as Green Leader in the East Midlands Leadership Awards 2024. Sally works with our sustainability project team to build their skills, monitor our progress, and help clients to do the same.

We will be calculating our carbon footprint annually, compensating for residual emissions, and publishing our greenhouse gas emissions data in the spirit of transparency.

Last year, our whole organisation produced 1,821 tonnes of CO₂. 15% of this was produced by utilities, 22.39% by transportation, 22.04% by IT, and 34% by goods and services and we are confident that we can reduce this to zero within five to eight years.

What good do we do in the community?

In 2022, we established The Duncan & Toplis Foundation to allow us to increase the effectiveness and reach of all our charitable endeavours. The foundation helps identify local causes and make a greater contribution to the communities in which we operate.

So far, the foundation has supported a wide range of charities and community groups including Carers First, EDAN Lincs (Ending Domestic Abuse Now), Grantham ARK, The Respite Association, Tonic Health, and many more.

As a responsible employer, we also look after our 400-strong team, offering agile working to make Duncan & Toplis more equitable, while actively promoting inclusivity and diversity through training and by updating our career pathways.

Many of our managers have been trained in mental health, we have arranged menopause awareness training and free online fitness sessions, and our team member engagement group has raised £85,000 for charity.

We have a positive impact through the work we do every day, which helps to create and sustain employment and supports the local economy. We back several well-deserving charities, helping them to access funding and maximise the value of their donated income.

Looking forward, we’re also reviewing the benefits of becoming a B Corp-certified business, which would prove that we meet the highest standards of verified performance, accountability and transparency.

We’re just getting started

There are a great many things we have done and are doing, to ensure that Duncan & Toplis has the best possible impact on the environment and wider society, and we should be proud of these. At the same time, we have to be conscious of the fact that there is more to be done.

As our Sustainability Champion, Sally-Anne Hurn explains:

“We’re passionate about making a difference and we’re perfectly placed to do so. We’re very proud of the work we’ve done so far, but we’re only just getting started.”

Download our first ESG report in full here.


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