Caring about the world we live in

Materiality topics

> Carbon footprint

> Waste and recycling

> Energy efficiency

In the analysis we carry out for our clients’ portfolios, we look to understand the impact businesses have on the environment. We do the same for ourselves. We are committed to minimising our impact on the environment, while ensuring a safe and healthy working environment for our people. We believe managing our carbon footprint is an important aspect of Martin Currie being a good global citizen.


2017/18 Highlights

CSR Environment
Cut energy use in
Martin Currie offices
CSR Environment 3
Reduced printing
Survey
Surveyed employees to gauge
attitudes towards environment

In 2017/18, we have reduced our impact on the environment and taken steps towards enabling our staff to be global champions for the environment. As a business, the three most notable areas of impact we have on the environment are from our energy use, printing and business travel. We have gathered data to measure how we are performing across these categories. In addition, in order to assess less-easily quantifiable aspects of our environmental impact, we carried out a wide-ranging survey to gauge employee behaviour and attitude, towards reducing our carbon footprint.

Energy

Our energy use comes predominantly from lighting our office space and powering computer terminals. In our two main offices, Edinburgh and Melbourne, energy use fell 20% between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

The majority of this drop has come from major refurbishments of our Saltire Court premises in Edinburgh, where the majority of employees are based. This included installing energy-efficient lighting and other reduction measures. Electricity use dropped from 446,636 kWh in 2015/16 to 347,937 kWh in 2017/18. Our Melbourne office, which is shared with other tenants, also saw a drop, with a pro-rata fall from 53,409 kWh to 52,823 kWh over the same time period.

Energy chart
68

When asked about their energy saving behaviour, 68% said they usually turn off their monitor overnight.

35

Only 35% of respondents said they usually turned off their computer completely. Only one respondent turned off lights if they were no longer needed.

69

69% said they were aware of the environmental impact of energy use and try to take a personal responsibility to reduce it.

EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE SURVEY

At other premises, including London, New York and Singapore, electricity costs are included in the ‘seat’ price we pay to the landlord (a set fee for an employee in an office space) and there is no further breakdown available.

In addition, in Edinburgh, where we have direct control over the supplier, our energy is provided by a renewable energy company.


Paper use

We have targeted a reduction in the amount of printing, which has a significant impact on the amount of waste the company produces. This has resulted in a 24% reduction in the number of pages printed – from 1.7 million pages in 2016/17 to 1.3 million in 2017/18.

We have reduced the number of printers across the business and changed the default settings to print all documents double sided and in black and white.

Anecdotally, use of laptops and iPads in meetings instead of printing documents has increased. In addition, most meeting rooms have access to screens and are on the network, meaning presentations and documents can be accessed without the need for unnecessary printing.

In terms of our marketing collateral, there has been a shift in focus to producing online-only material, rather than creating documents in PDF form for recipients to print out. In addition, we have digitised our compliance process, creating electronic ‘job bags’ containing all copyright permission and supporting documents required for all marketing materials.

Paper chart

EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE SURVEY

Respondents indicated support for greater challenge on printing out documents and encouraging a paperless office.


Travel

We are a global business: in terms of our clients, the companies we research and hold in our investment strategies, and where staff are based. Travel is therefore a necessity.

As a result, while travel – particularly air travel – has a major impact on our carbon footprint, we do not specifically target a reduction in journeys made for business. However, we do aim to ensure all trips are essential and, where possible, use video-conferencing.

Journeys taken

In 2017/18, we saw a small rise (12%) in the number of business flights taken. The total carbon-emission estimate for business flights rose 43%, rising from 1,282 tonnes to 1,839 tonnes.

Number of flights Distance travelled CO2 mass
2016/17 1,090 2,306,989 miles 1,282 tonnes
2017/18 1,221 3,305,584 miles 1,839 tonnes
% rise 12 43 43

Conference calls

Over the same period, we have also seen a slight increase in the use of conference call technology. The average monthly users of audio calls increased to 39, from 35 in 2016/17. The total audio minutes has risen 4% since 2016/17 to 192,733 minutes, this is an increase of a third since 2015/16.

Video calls

We have started using video conferencing equipment from WebEx, and between June 2017 and the end of March 2018, there were 66 meetings. The majority of these were for less than four people and lasted less than 30 minutes.

EMPLOYEE ATTITUDE SURVEY

46

There was strong support for greater use of video conferencing in the environment survey, with several who replied saying they wanted to see improved equipment. 46% of those surveyed said they never used it, with 40% ‘less often’.

30

In terms of travel to and from work, only 30% of respondents usually drive at least some of the way to work, around 40% take some form of public transport, while 23% walk and 5% cycle.

28

Although there were relatively few respondents who said cycling was their usual method of travelling to work, 28% had purchased a bike through the company’s Cyclescheme (a UK tax benefit), a further 24% said they would consider this in the future.

22

When asked what measures would convince them to cycle in, 22% said improvements to current changing facilities (new showers were installed in Edinburgh as part of the first phases of office refurbishment in 2015/16). 40% of respondents said they would like to see improvements to cycle paths on their journey in.

55

Of those who drive, 55% said it was the most convenient option.


Other areas of impact

Aside from the key impact areas, we are also managing our waste by installing recycling bins for glass, plastic, paper, cans, batteries and printer toner. The environment survey showed that 90% of respondents use the recycling bins every day, with 44% using them several times a day. Feedback from staff included requests for food and glass waste, clearer labelling and more bins. 

In addition, as part of the Edinburgh office refurbishment, we no longer provide disposable cups at our coffee machines and installed water machines rather than water coolers dependent on plastic bottles. In Australia, dedicated recycling bins have been installed for single-use coffee-machine pods.

We asked staff other measures they would like to see introduced, responses included: 

  • Increased staff education into behaviours that can reduce impact, such as turning off computers and using less plastic packaging.  
  • Adjusting the default temperature in offices by one degree.  
  • Actively monitoring our carbon footprint – appointing ‘Carbon Tsars’ in every team.  
  • Encourage ride sharing (7% said they usually travel to work with others). 
  • Shifting to a ‘paperless office’ with greater use of tablet computers such as iPads.