Following a robust re-certification process, Leeds-headquartered Bailie Group, a United Nations’ named climate leader, has achieved internationally renowned Planet Mark accreditation for a third year – while celebrating a 20% reduction in carbon emissions and a social value exceeding £1m.

The Group’s most recent priorities include reducing energy consumption, bringing landfill close to zero, and increasing the accuracy of social value reporting – moves designed to bolster the firm’s progress on sustainability, and further its positive impact on society.

The accreditation marks significant progress in Bailie Group’s 2020 pledge to halve carbon emissions by 2030, and to reach net zero by 2050.

Of the Group’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, Katie McShera, sustainability lead at Bailie Group, comments: “Gaining re-certification is a year-round process which touches on each department. Overall, it’s a big commitment for our team – but it’s something that we are extremely proud to champion across the company.

“Our businesses each strive to make a positive difference within society, and this is a crucial means through which we can make our mark. We’re looking forward to moving to the next step in our plan to reduce waste, save energy, and accurately measure our efforts.”

Waste reduction activities have involved gaining a deeper understanding of the journey of refuse at each site. This meant scrutinising existing waste contracts, putting in place processes to measure the weights of any waste produced, and exploring greener supplier alternatives. With these steps now in place, the company is focused on its next priority – launching a waste reduction programme.

Meanwhile, a focus on energy saving has seen the team achieve ISO 50001 certification. With the structure and driving force in place, the team is equipped to further reduce its energy consumption. Activities to date include the installation of solar panels at the Cheltenham site, an increased temperature within server rooms, and awareness campaigns encouraging colleagues to consider their energy usage.

Improving reporting accuracy has seen proxy values attributed to social value activities, enabling measurement of social value. Areas captured include charity donations, apprenticeship activities, and volunteering, all of which saw increased activity in 2022 Actions undertaken include volunteering business and HR advice for the Prince’s Trust, cleaning up local parks, school governor responsibilities, apprenticeship delivery, and army reservist support.

Recent donations include contributions to the Ukranian appeal — £10,000 from Bailie Group and £3,510 from CDS, a Bailie Group company. In addition, £800 worth of equipment was gifted to local voluntary, community and social enterprises, including pedestals to the Red Cross, laptops for Meanwood Urban Valley Farm, and £2,000 worth of CDS stock — including paper and stationery — given to a local school.

With an aim to reduce carbon emissions by a further 5% during 2023, kickstart the waste reduction plan, extend the scope of the business’s ISO 50001 accreditation, and begin measuring both upstream and downstream transportation emissions – the progress is set to continue into the second half of the year.