Sustainability:
Our ESG Strategy

Our ESG Strategy

ESG Strategy

We believe that to deliver upon our ESG Strategy, which was informed by a comprehensive materiality assessment carried out in 2021, we need all our people to deliver. Following the materiality assessment, we identified the following four key topics to focus on the strategy.

Becoming a sustainable business and achieving net zero

Through our Net Zero Strategy, we intend to become net zero in our operations, property portfolio and energy consumption by 2033. We will reduce our environmental impact of our buildings annually as part of a strategy through investment in energy and resource efficiencies and encourage our students to increase their sustainable behaviour. We have also set a wider target of being net zero in all our emissions (adding scope 3) by 2050 or before. We hope to achieve the scope 3 target much quicker, but acknowledge that the emissions we may need to address to be truly net zero may expand beyond our value chain alone. We will be reviewing this target regularly with an aim of achieving it faster.

We worked with CBRE to produce our Net Zero Strategy which fully details our decarbonisation pathway that we are putting into practice. We have also disclosed our EPC position across the Group and steps being taken to improve this. For more details, visit our ESG reporting page.

Our key aims for 2022 include:

  • Continue our roadmap of planned energy efficiency initiatives across the portfolio.

Excelling in providing health and safety

We continue to build on our established good practice in Health and Safety where we operate. We also understand the need to create environments that make our students and employees feel safe.

We undertook a large training programme with the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH). One outcome of this training was the decision to review and relaunch our existing health and safety policy to ensure it was up to date and relevant. We have also hired a full-time in-house Health and Safety expert to increase the resource and knowledge with the business.

Our key aims for 2022 include:

  • Appointing an internal expert to help us facilitate and embed a culture change throughout the business.
  • Define and establish KPIs for external reporting around Colleague Engagement, Training, Incident Reporting and Student Feedback.
  • Continue to undertake capital expenditure on our safety projects, including fire.

Enhancing mental health and wellbeing

The wellbeing and mental health of our students and employees is a top priority for us. We also know how it can also make a positive impact on our business and the wider community.

During the last year we undertook a number of different actions to address this, including: our staff carrying our mental health first aid training, wellbeing weeks signposting resources and launching a survey so we could better understand where we can add more value.

In 2021 we have continued in partnership with Endsleigh, a Student Assistance Programme. This programme provides our students with unlimited access to a 24/7 mental health and confidential counselling service (BACP accredited) through a telephone helpline. We believe supporting our
students’ wellbeing is paramount.

Our key aims for 2022:

  • Improve our Best Companies score as well as our student satisfaction score.
  • Define and develop how we evaluate our approach to the wellbeing of all our stakeholders before being able to set out, define and establish KPIs.

Providing opportunities for all

We believe that being inclusive improves opportunities for our students, employees and people living in the communities we operate in. This will not only create long-term value to our business, but also society.

During the last year we have become a Living Wage employer and set measurements in place for staff training, among other initiatives. Group employees are committed to promoting an inclusive, positive and collaborative culture. We treat everyone equally irrespective of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, religious or other philosophical belief, disability, gender identity, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, or pregnancy or maternity. We continue to review our approach to diversity, equality and inclusion, including the use of targets. Our workforce and customers are from a diverse range of people so we need to ensure that our workplace remains inclusive and allows our people and our customers a place where they can thrive.

We are currently looking into how we measure and report the positive impacts we are making in the communities where we operate.


Our key aims for 2022:

  • Continue to support and help local causes, while also making a wider socio-economic positive impact in our communities.
  • Undertake a review looking into wider diversity issues and targets.

9%

The growth of full-time student numbers in ESPs locations vs 5% nationally over 5 years

165,965

The excess number of applicants who were not accepted to a UK University in 2017-18, indicating the continued demand for the UK’s quality Universities

18.4%

Rental costs up 18.4% between 2012 and 2016, significantly outperforming RPI

25%

The increase in full-time student population in the last ten years