Why does the Jersey Institute of Directors need a committee on the environment?
The formation of the IoD sub-committee on the environment reflects a growing realisation that businesses need to look beyond their own immediate horizon to ensure their long-term success by embracing and adapting to contemporary drivers whether diversity and inclusion, technology or sustainability.
Climate change is one of the biggest issues currently facing humankind and Jersey is no exception. 2020 marked the publication of Jersey’s strategy to achieve carbon neutrality. The people-powered focus of the strategy has at its heart, the need for everyone in Jersey to play a part in achieving those goals. The members of the IoD, their businesses and organisations, have an enormous opportunity to change the behaviour of their customers, employees and stakeholders, and in doing so encourage demand for sustainable services and products, increase environmental awareness and improve the local economy and global environment.
Who are the members of the committee?
The members of the sub-committee come from a broad range of backgrounds including agriculture, finance, the legal profession and telecoms. It is hoped that in bringing their unique experiences and perspectives, the committee will be alive and responsive to the differing needs of the members of IoD Jersey and the businesses and organisations within which they work.
The committee is chaired by myself, Dilly Wright (Mourant). The other members are: Kate Huntington (HSBC), Catherine Taylor (Rathbones), Bradley Davidson (RBSI), Clare Hamon (JFSC), Tom Bailey (Agri-Co), Nicola Le Boutillier (Mourant), Elaine Walsh (BNP Paribas), Gill Knights (Jersey Telecoms) and Malin Nilsson (Duff & Phelps).
Why will it help my business?
Businesses and organisations in Jersey are steadily realising the benefits of sustainable practises, driven by both internal and increasingly external factors. The commercial benefits in preventing physical waste, increasing efficiency and productivity, thereby saving money, improving profitability and enhancing competition.
These factors combine with compelling non-financial benefits in making a positive contribution to society and the environment, and to individual stakeholders in fostering a culture of responsibility. We are increasing the speed at which controlling environmental risk, localising supply chains and improving engagement allows businesses to adapt to the changing environment and pressures.
Given the diversity of the membership of IoD and their associated organisations, the committee recognises the need to cater for businesses at all stages of the journey – whether sustainability is only now forming part of their long-term strategies or they already have well developed initiatives and wish to play a greater role in the Island. The committee hopes to assist IoD members with setting their goals, achievable or aspirational, and to work with them to reach those goals.
How does the committee help IoD members?
As an independent committee, we welcome the free flow of ideas. Sustainability in business is not only about reducing waste by reducing paper usage, installing water saving taps or motion sensor lighting. Why not plant trees in your car park or grow vegetables in your staff courtyard? Why not offer your staff bus passes instead of biscuits? When business travel resumes, are there lessons to be learned from engaging with your customers or employees remotely?
For anyone starting to tackle these issues, there is an abundance of information available and it is easy to be overwhelmed and defeatist. One of the focuses of the sub-committee is distilling that material into accessible guidance for IoD members and their organisations to improve understanding amongst business leaders, enhance sustainability and decrease negative environmental impact across the Island.
Jersey adapted swiftly to the current crisis, and quickly shifted focus to finding local solutions. The committee aims to capitalise on that local focus by putting in place a network of contacts to facilitate local solutions to local problems. Jersey businesses and organisations have adapted to the changing pressures and offer digital solutions to measure environmental impact, environmentally conscious infrastructure and sustainable services. There is a wealth of resources and information available in Jersey and the committee aims to marshal this to be at the fingertips of IoD members.
The sub-committee is also pleased to work with IoD members and their organisations to promote wider sustainable practices. We are working with Cycle4Jersey and their efforts in promoting sustainable transport, and using the opportunities created by the current crisis to change people's views. As part of this programme, we have an interview with Gavin Breeze, the founder of Evie, the eco bike and car service, on our website: https://www.IoD.je/interviews.
What are we working on now?
Taking a leaf from the huge success of the Diversity & Inclusion Sub-committee's launch of the 2020 Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Vision Statement, we are working on a sustainability charter as a way for businesses and organisations in Jersey to demonstrate their commitment to meeting this challenge and a mechanism to drive innovation within their businesses.
There are so many passionate people in the Island who are doing great work in their organisations and personal lives. It is clear that there is a need to bring these like-minded individuals together and the sub-committee is pleased to be working with EcoJersey and the Jersey Business Sustainability Challenge in their establishment of a cross-Island, cross-sector group to work in conjunction with the States of Jersey to achieve Jersey's sustainability goals.
Whilst conscious that Jersey is more than its leading finance sector, there can be no escape that finance has an enormous platform from which to effect change. The sub-committee has worked with industry leaders to establish a working group on ESG, green fund finance and sustainable banking. Being a leader in sustainability would be another string to Jersey plc's bow and represents a great opportunity for Jersey to lead from the front.
How does the work of the sub-committee benefit Jersey?
The committee hopes that by developing sustainable practices and behaviours within the businesses and organisations of IoD members, there will be trickle down to their staff, colleagues, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders, raising the overall public awareness and engagement in this issue.
Jersey is a small island, but the talent and resources it has at its fingertips, mean it is uniquely placed to have a much bigger influence on an international stage. Jersey has always been a forward-thinking jurisdiction, and it is hoped that the committee can support IoD members and their organisations help set a standard for what can be achieved to combat this crisis which faces us all.