Spend Time Logo Large_edited.png
Mountain Range

Our environmental and social credentials

Spend Time is very much aware of the world around us, and we believe strongly in doing what we can to minimise the impact we have as a business on the environment, whilst operating in a socially responsible manner. We hope that despite being a small business, our contribution will help to make a difference. We know we still have work to do and we're committed to making continual improvements.

We have signed the SME Climate Commitment for net-zero

Our first step on our journey to becoming carbon neutral was to sign up to the UK Government's SME Climate Commitment. We have pledged to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, although we hope to achieve it much sooner than that.

We have calculated our carbon footprint for 2021 to be 5.4 tonnes of CO2. This is lower than a typical office-based firm but we think we can do better, and will be reporting annually on our progress to achieving net-zero carbon emissions as soon as possible.

smeclimatehub-dark.webp

It's not just about the environment

Being a socially responsible business to us means far more than just considering our environmental impact. To us it means:

  • Treating our clients fairly and providing a valued service for a fair price

  • Operating in an open, honest and ethical manner

  • Considering and supporting others in our local community

  • Providing a supportive workplace for our staff with fair pay, treatment and working conditions

  • Working with our suppliers and business partners to encourage the adoption of similar practices

  • Actively seeking and adopting best practices to bring continuous improvements to our business

Summarised below are some specific examples of steps we have taken.

Our operations

  • Minimising our use of paper and printing; we have operated secure electronic files since 2012. We print hardly anything, and only when absolutely necessary.

  • Choosing low energy devices.

  • Encouraging electronic communications with our clients rather than print and post.

  • Using sustainable means of travel where possible, both for commuting to the office, visiting clients and other necessary travel.

  • Offering online meetings where appropriate to reduce travel.

  • Our company vehicles will only be electric powered.

  • Making our services inclusive and accessible to those with additional needs and vulnerabilities.

  • Offering a cycle to work scheme to give an affordable means of access to sustainable travel for our staff.

  • Flexible and home working to avoid unnecessary commutes. Naturally we have security safeguards in place for home working.

  • Providing a safe and healthy working environment with fair pay for our staff.

  • We operate a Give as you Earn scheme to make it easier for our staff to support their chosen charities.

  • We do not employ aggressive tax strategies for us or our clients and pay our fair share.

  • Careful and prudent management of our business to ensure we'll be here for our clients for the long term.

  • Regular donations to two local charities we support; Link Visiting Scheme and Link Foundation

 

Suppliers and Partners

 

  • Choosing to do business with small local firms where possible.

  • Hold providers to account on their ESG claims and credentials.

  • Favouring socially responsible firms with positive engagement strategies

  • Switching to electronic communications with providers and encouraging to offer this service if it is not available.

  • Encouraging providers to offer webinars instead of seminars.

Investments with an Ethical, Sustainable and Governance (ESG) Focus

We are aware there has been a strong focus on ESG investments in the last few years. Whilst we are very positive about this, we also remain deeply sceptical of this emerging area of investment management. Our key concerns about this are as follows.

  • Green-washing of actively managed funds, giving an ESG label to make them more appealing.

  • High costs of ESG funds.

  • Lack of clarity over exactly what the ESG objective is aiming to achieve.

  • Potential for mis-match between ESG fund objectives and clients' ESG views.

  • Much evidence of firms promoting their ESG investment solutions while their business acts in a way which is not aligned to ESG principles.

 

We are certainly in favour of the concept of ESG investing, but we question whether now is the right time to adopt this approach as an investment strategy. We believe that day will come, and in the meantime hope our clients will take comfort from working with a Financial Planning firm that wholly embraces the importance of ESG in their own practices.

On the right track

We know we all still have work to do to build a sustainable future for everyone, but we hope by incorporating high standards for ethical, social and environmental concerns into our culture will give us a strong foundation to make further improvements over time. We will be regularly updating on our progress.