With happy colleagues, satisfied customers and a profitable Group we are able to take the 4Cs full circle by taking an active part in serving our communities. We focus our efforts locally so that we play an active role in the communities where we work and live and do this by being a good neighbour, investing in local education initiatives and looking after our environment.

Being a good neighbour

Our Charity Events Committee is made up entirely of colleagues who volunteer to organise fundraising events throughout the year for local charities nominated by Hastings colleagues. The Hastings Community Fund provides a helping hand to local individuals or groups by providing advice, physical support or small grants to help with fundraising. In 2019 we provided support of over £50,000 for local charities and organisations and gave over 9,000 hours of practical or professional advice or support through our community days.

“From your kind support we have been able to pay for another year of fees for our holiday caravan in Mablethorpe which we offer to patients and their families for free. Other money raised has paid for wishes for young adult cancer patients in the East Midlands, such as iPads, cameras, theatre tickets and holidays away. Thank you for your support and raising awareness of our charity and what we do.”

Edgar’s Gift, 2019 charity partner

“The input from Hastings Direct both in financial terms and practical terms, has allowed the charity to go onto the next level. We are now one of the largest homeless charities in East Sussex, have over 140 active volunteers and many of them are first aid trained. We have grown in terms of expanding into advocacy and now boast a rapid response team, we have two vans, have moved premises and are about to open a shop in Bexhill. We are all grateful to Hastings Direct, it has been great working with you!”

Warming up the Homeless, 2019 charity partner

Pink Ribbon Foundation 

As part of our insurePink product offering, where £10 for every insurance policy purchased is donated to a breast cancer charity (Pink Ribbon Foundation), we are pleased that our customers have now helped us raise over £1 million for the good cause over the last 11 years. Our colleagues support fundraising for the Pink Ribbon Foundation across the year too and in July they raised an additional £4,000 from our company golf day.

“The golf day was a great day! It was nice to see so many colleagues come together to support a great cause, along with a bit of healthy competition! I’m very proud to have been part of a day that raised so much and will very much look forward to taking part again next year.”

Investing in local education initiatives 

We have significant interaction with schools, colleges and universities in and around our communities to help develop, attract and nurture home grown talent. In 2019 we continued to sponsor a programme called ‘Be the Change’ in Bexhill and Leicester which aims to raise the aspirations of local 13 - 14 year olds. The programme is designed to help remove barriers that may make students disengage from school and in life and provide them with life skills to help shape their future and give them the opportunity to make a difference to their education and career paths. Our colleagues volunteer as business mentors to help support the students with anecdotal and professional advice and guidance.

“This was a great start to the ‘Be the Change’ programme. We now have students and parents requesting to be part of the ‘Be the Change’ programme based upon its reputation and testimonials from past students. It really engages not just thinking about what they want their future to be but how they can make it happen.”

Teacher, Bexhill Academy, Bexhill

Looking after our environment

The Group’s direct operations are purely office based and as such have a relatively low impact on the environment compared to other industries, however, we seek to improve the Group’s and our colleagues’ footprint as much as possible. We are currently developing a broader sustainability strategy that will come into effect in 2020 and in the meantime, remain committed to making ongoing improvements, however small, to benefit our colleagues and the environment. These include:

  • Ongoing improvements to Conquest House, the Group’s head office that was built in the 1970s including the replacement of lighting systems with more efficient light sources that need less power.
  • Discounted train travel options for colleagues
  • Cycle to work and car share schemes.
  • Free charging points for electric vehicles
  • Outdoor green spaces, quiet rooms and breakout areas where colleagues can catch up, have a bite to eat or drink, play games or just to take some time out from their busy days.
  • Pulling plastic! In 2019 we launched a new initiative which has proved hugely positive with our colleagues across our sites and involves:
    • Replacing takeaway food containers and cutlery in our staff restaurants in Bexhill and Leicester with compostable alternatives, significantly reducing our single use plastic waste.
    • Removing plastic drinking cups from our water vending machines, encouraging colleagues to reuse water bottles and further reducing single use plastic waste.  
    • Adding a 25p levy to the cost of a hot drink when colleagues don’t use a reusable cup when they buy a hot drink in our staff restaurants in Bexhill and Leicester. All proceeds will go to environmental charities.

The Group does not currently operate a green procurement programme but encourages all of its suppliers to be environmentally responsible. Our sites in Gibraltar, Leicester and London are rented and all have good environmental credentials which were key criteria when sourcing the sites.

It is early days and although not ground breaking numbers we are pleased with the progress we’ve made to date:

  • Over £3,500 raised from the Costa cup levy surcharge for the donation to an environment charity partner
  • 250 colleagues registered car sharers, reducing the number of vehicles our Colleagues use
  • Unsold fresh packaged food donated to local homeless charity twice a week in Bexhill
  • Food waste composted from our kitchens avoiding waste to landfill
  • Over 300,000 plastic cups saved across Bexhill and Leicester
  • 42%of waste recycled

The Group has followed the methodology laid out in DEFRA’s Environmental Reporting Guidelines and calculated the carbon emissions using the relevant carbon conversion factors as issued by DEFRA: www.ukconversionfactorscarbonsmart.co.uk/. Emissions have been reported in tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) which include CO2, CH4 and N2O. The publication of Gibraltar’s CO2 per kWh of electricity generated ended in 2015. Therefore, we have estimated this year’s emissions from this source using the 2015 factor. The Gibraltar electricity consumption accounted for only 1% of the Group’s emissions from electricity usage in 2019. The emissions have been calculated and the data validated by an independent energy consultancy – Concept Energy Solutions.

**Emissions report (pages 61-62 of ARA)**