Bishop Fleming: Driving Carbon Reduction in Modern Accountancy

Bishop Fleming: Driving Carbon Reduction in Modern Accountancy
“Reducing a carbon footprint is not easy so be patient - sometimes it is a case of one step forward and two back. Seek advice – Net Zero Now are good at this!” - Ewan McClymont, Head of Responsible Business

Exploring Bishop Fleming’s Commitment to Environmental Responsibility

Net Zero Now is excited to feature Bishop Fleming in our series of client case studies, highlighting their journey towards sustainability within the accountancy sector. As an award-winning firm recognised for investing in people and creating a great workplace, Bishop Fleming has taken significant strides in reducing their environmental impact. With a validated footprint from Net Zero Now, they are committed to a comprehensive sustainability plan and active membership in Business in the Community (BITC). This case study explores Bishop Fleming’s motivations, the steps they’ve taken, and the tangible impacts of their green initiatives.

We spoke with Ewan McClymont, Head of Responsible Business, to gain deeper insights into their efforts and achievements.

Insights from Bishop Fleming’s Sustainability Journey

How does Bishop Fleming integrate sustainability into its business practices and corporate strategy?

Sustainability is one of our three core pillars of Responsible Business - Healthy Business, Healthy Communities, and Healthy Environment. We are trying to integrate sustainability into all our business practices - eg. from buying sustainably sourced products from local suppliers to reducing our business travel. It’s an ongoing journey but being able to measure our carbon impact certainly helps to address ‘the why’.

What motivated Bishop Fleming to pursue the validated footprint with Net Zero Now, and how does this align with your broader sustainability goals?

When we researched the market two years ago for a carbon partner, Net Zero Now demonstrated an understanding of our sector. Indeed, they had invested time with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in developing an accountancy sector Net Zero protocol. This helped us to develop our sustainability goals, first by measuring our footprint, then understanding its impact. 

How have your sustainability efforts influenced your membership of Business in the Community (BITC)?

The decision to measure our carbon footprint coincided with our membership with Business in the Community. We benchmarked our performance in each of the three pillars, highlighting a gap in our environmental focus. Understanding our carbon footprint has enabled us to take more focused action on where to create the best impact. 

How do your sustainability initiatives contribute to being recognised as a Great Place to Work®  and winning the Accounting Excellence Award for Investing in People?

Recruiting and retaining the best people in a competitive market is a challenge. As part of our growth strategy, each September we recruit a cohort of around 70 new apprentices into our business. It is very clear that this generation of school leavers and graduates want to work for an organisation that is being proactive on sustainability and the environment. Our focus in this area has certainly helped in our recent re-accreditation as a Great Place to Work® and in winning awards.

How has the Net Zero Now platform and team support helped in measuring your carbon footprint and shaping your sustainability strategy?

The NZN platform is very easy to use and the team support we’ve had from day one has been excellent. This was particularly important when we calculated our base year - lots of queries that were answered with helpful and practical suggestions.

The NZN team have also helped us with internal messaging to nurture engagement from our people - helping deliver webinars explaining our carbon footprint and highlighting the impact of climate change.

What message would Bishop Fleming like to convey to other firms considering embarking on their own Net Zero journey?

Understand the language - read articles, google websites, attend webinars, speak to peer members – it helps if you can gain a basic understanding of terms used and core definitions. You will read a lot about ‘net zero,’ ‘carbon neutral,’ ‘carbon offset’, ‘scopes 1, 2 & 3’ etc – try to familiarise yourself with what some of these mean.

Look at the things that your organisation does that has the greatest environmental impact and assess what actions you may already have undertaken to reduce them. Also embrace ‘quick wins’ and some of the ‘small stuff’ – it may not dramatically reduce your footprint, but it could help win hearts and minds of staff and demonstrate that you are acting as a responsible business. For instance, we are working with environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage to reduce our single use plastic - better recycling, beach cleans and litter pickups have been a great way to engage our people on this issue.

Start with measuring Scopes 1 and 2 - the data required is usually fairly straight-forward to find. Then look at what elements of Scope 3 are material to your organisation and establish what data is available.

Reducing a carbon footprint is not easy so be patient - sometimes it is a case of one step forward and two back. Seek advice – Net Zero Now are good at this!

Leading the Charge in Climate Action and Carbon Accounting

Bishop Fleming’s journey exemplifies how strategic carbon accounting solutions and a dedicated carbon reduction platform for the UK can significantly tackle climate change. Their proactive measures, supported by the Net Zero Now climate action platform, highlight the benefits of carbon accounting in driving meaningful climate action. By partnering with industry leaders like Net Zero Now and engaging with professional bodies such as ICAEW, Bishop Fleming has set a new standard in the accountancy sector. Their achievements underscore the importance of comprehensive carbon accounting and robust sustainability strategies in creating a positive environmental impact and fostering a culture of responsibility within the industry.

Ready to take the next step in your sustainability journey? Discover how our carbon accounting solutions and climate action platform can help your firm achieve its environmental goals. Let’s work together to tackle climate change and create a more sustainable future.

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