The climate crisis poses a great threat to the economy and society. To help address this, we work hard to reduce our environmental footprint, promote positive behaviour through education and preserve biodiversity.
Sustainable action from within
Our environmental initiatives are coordinated and communicated by a group of Investec employees and contractors passionate about the environment called Team Green. The group is led by our sustainability team and contains 115 volunteers, across 27 of our offices including the UK, Ireland, Channel Islands and Switzerland. Team Green
runs coordinated national campaigns as well as local events.
We’re proud to set the bar high when it comes to environmental best practice. Our external recognition includes 16 consecutive annual Clean City Awards, from the City of London Corporation, for best practice in our waste management efforts, including three Chairman’s cups, a Plastic Free Cities award, and a Communication and Engagement award for our internal campaigns.
Promoting sustainable operations
A business is only sustainable within a healthy natural environment, and we work hard to reduce our footprint. Our operational environmental programme focuses on six key areas of sustainability: energy, waste, water, air quality, sustainable procurement and sustainable travel.
Managing our waste
Our mantra is to avoid producing waste at all costs – and we believe no waste should make it to landfill.
Reducing energy use
We’re always looking at ways to reduce our use of energy.
Use of water
Water is a precious resource, and we strive to use it responsibly.
We source goods and services in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life basis.
Air quality and travel
We invest in green and effective alternatives to business travel.
Managing our waste
Our waste policy is simple: no waste should make to landfill. We recycle whenever possible and as a last resort, we use incineration to generate energy. To do that, we first look at what we consume and how. We then do everything we can to source and promote reusable alternatives to disposable products.
As an organisation, we’ve made significant progress since 2006 in reducing our waste streams, including single-use plastics in our UK head office in London, where we operate a zero-to-landfill waste policy. This includes both behaviour change initiatives targeting our people, and working collaboratively with our third parties. Our UK head office’s waste management system has been certified to the Carbon Trust Waste Standard since 2014, when it scored a best practice management score of 85%.
Reducing energy use
We’re always looking at ways to reduce our use of energy, we invest in renewable energy in our buildings wherever we can, and purchase Renewable Energy Certificates where we cannot. We have smart meters installed in our offices to help us better measure and manage our energy use. We also replaced our PCs with energy-efficient laptops.
Use of water
Water is a precious resource, and we strive to use it consciously across our offices. We installed the state-of-the-art toilet system Propelair, exclusively in our new London offices in 2018. Propelair uses 1.5 litres of water per flush compared to a standard toilet system that uses approximately seven litres.
We also run education campaigns in our offices, for example in support of World Water Day, to help our people save water at home too.
We’re as dedicated to our suppliers as we’re to our clients – it’s part of who we are. We work together so we can source goods and services in a way that achieves value for money on a whole-life basis.
This means that whatever we procure should benefit us, the society and the economy, while minimising damage to the environment.
Air quality and travel
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected travel on a national and global scale and we’ve seen a drastic reduction in business travel. This has resulted in an associated emissions reduction of 98%, amounting to 4,577CO2e or the equivalent of taking 995 cars off the road. We recognise the importance of this shift in behaviour and have plans in place to ensure this sticks well after the pandemic is over, ensuring our people carry on taking advantage of seamless videoconferencing and only travelling on a needs-must basis.
We will continue to encourage and incentivise active travel among our colleagues through our cycle-to-work scheme and facilities, as well as promoting greener commutes to work through cleaner air walking routes and the use of public transport. We include our travel footprint under scope 3 of our annual carbon footprint.
Some of our achievements
CPD B-list rating
* this drastic reduction has been mostly the result of Covid-19, as our business flights halted
Investec’s Energy Management System has been certified to the international energy standard ISO5001 in 23 of our UK, Ireland and Channel Island offices since 2018.
The Environment Management System which covers the operational aspects of our London office buildings has been certified to the international environment standard ISO14001 since 2012.
Investec Gresham Street has been certified to the Carbon Trust Waste Standard since 2014. This reflects a best practice approach to managing and reducing waste output and improving resource efficiency.
Improving our community and environment
As part of our environment programme, we engage our employees with volunteering opportunities that help improve the surrounding area for communities local to our offices.
Trees for Cities partnership
Trees for Cities delivers projects with both social and environmental impacts. They engage with local communities and schools to plant trees, shrubs and to grow food, helping to reconnect people who live in cities with nature. We first partnered with them in 2016.
Volunteers from our London, Manchester, Leeds and Reading offices regularly roll their sleeves up to improve their local environment with Trees for Cities.
In addition, we support the charity's Planting Healthy Air in Schools project, which helps address London’s poor air quality and the detrimental effects this has, particularly on children. The programme involves redesigning areas of the school playgrounds where air quality is particularly poor, including planting trees and other vegetation and creating woodland shelters and wildlife areas to help create greener, healthier playgrounds for play and outdoor learning.
Volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic
As an alternative to in-person volunteering during the Covid-19 pandemic, we launched a programme that gave home-based, safe and inclusive volunteering opportunities to our UK colleagues. These opportunities focused on reconnecting our people with their local communities to create a lasting positive impact. These included:
- providing mini allotment packs for people to grow plants and vegetables, helping improve biodiversity, productivity and air quality in their local communities
- inviting colleagues to undertake a litter pick in their local areas, promoting best community behaviour and removing hundreds of bags of rubbish, and recycling as much of it as possible
- encouraging people to become citizen scientists for a day to collect data and photographs of plants and animals through an app on behalf of the Centre for Ecology, informing conservation research
- supporting the National History Museum’s Project Plumage programme where our colleagues and their families contributed to the research of rare bird species.
Our approach to waste
Investec's environmental champions, Team Green, and waste management partners Paper Round talk about what sets our approach to sustainability apart.
We won our 16th Award in the City of London's Clean City Awards. These prizes include the Chairman's Cup in 2006, 2013 and 2017, and Special Commendation Chairman’s Cup for 2020.
Investec London was awarded the Best Waste Reduction Project winner in the 2019 Paper Round Best Recycler Awards. The awards recognise best practice waste management and innovation towards the reduction and effective handling of waste.
Investec London won the City of London Corporation’s 2020 Plastic Free City award for our efforts in eliminating single-use plastics in our London offices.
Project grants for charities
Outside our partner organisations, we support small to medium charities through small project grants. If you represent a charity that works in our focus areas – education, entrepreneurship and/or environment – and are local to one of our offices, you can apply for a grant. Please read the full criteria below to find out more, and get in touch.
Get in touch
You may also be interested in:
Supporting our communities
Our award-winning community programme focuses on education, entrepreneurship and the environment.
Investing in our people
It’s the passion and dedication of our people that enables us to deliver superior client service and value for stakeholders.
Our business decisions are driven by our values and the intention to live in society, not off it.