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Employee-led network is key to improving sustainability and environmental protection

Category: CSR, Educational, Corporate Responsibility, Cambridge Assessment, Enviromental Solutions, Corporate Social Responsibility, Education Solutions, Staff Networks, education

Corporate Social Responsibility.

Over 130 colleagues from Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press came together to spell out the words 'Act Now'​, in solidarity with the Global Climate Strike in September

At a time when environmental concern is high on everyone’s agenda, job seekers are making their voice heard with a recent survey revealing that 70 per cent of those questioned were more likely to choose to work at a company with a strong environmental agenda.

Other studies have gone further, indicating that 64 per cent of millennials will not take a job at a company that do not have strong social responsibility practices.

Research also shows that more consumers are now buying sustainable products as they want to feel that whatever they are buying aligns with their personal values. So, it’s no surprise that people are increasingly looking to work for organisations who share the same values as they do and want to be able to apply those values at work as well as at home.

This view was reinforced when we interviewed a candidate last month who said that one of the reasons they applied was because they thought our sustainable HQ in Cambridge, The Triangle, showed that we shared their ethos.

While The Triangle demonstrates our commitment to sustainability and our ongoing environmental impact, there are also a huge number of staff-led environmental initiatives happening across Cambridge Assessment which highlight the passion and shared values of our workforce.

I took some time to chat to four fantastic people who are helping to galvanise these ideas, debates and people across Cambridge Assessment worldwide. Anna Brown, Christopher Nice, Imogen O’Bryan and Keith Stiven are all part of our Environment Network, one of many networks run by staff for staff, with a shared purpose and vision.

The group was established in 2017. Keith says there was a groundswell of interest and people were looking for a place within the organisation to raise environmental issues and questions: “Staff wanted to know what they could do in the workplace, what was already being done and how to get involved in local community initiatives that were in existence across Cambridge Assessment”.

One of these local community initiatives proving particularly popular is the litter pick in the local area which Keith says are a small but worthy bit of direct action, appreciated by those who live and work in there.

Christopher says: “I joined the network to support the organisation in being environmentally conscious in its decision making. I wanted to meet like-minded people who aspired to help make a positive change”.

Another local community scheme making that positive change is ensuring that all the unconsumed food on site is donated to a local charity in Cambridge. 

Chris adds: “The Environment Staff Network is a group of staff who are interested in facilitating new initiatives and helping to raise awareness and take action on the environmental issues which are important to them. We want to enable employees from every level to contribute ideas to the network”.

And this is a challenge when you are an international business with offices based across the world and across different time zones.

Imogen says: “We run monthly Skype meetings and our internal social network group has hundreds of staff engaging in discussion and sharing best practice internationally. Staff in Spain have recently come on board and are very active on positive environmental changes”.

Some of the current ideas span catering, travel, power usage and biodiversity. From big projects such as the solar power generated on the roof of The Triangle to smaller schemes like smart phone, stationary and crisp packet recycling schemes, Cambridge Assessment is looking at sustainability and green impact across the whole business.

“The network is recognised as an official staff network and is supported by the senior leadership team,” says Keith. “There’s high engagement from the departmental directors across all business streams but there’s plenty more we can do to raise awareness.”

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A recent event achieved just that, explains Keith: “We ran a zero-waste pop-up shop in October which was an amazing event. Everything was eco-friendly and even included a repair cafe. Hundreds of staff from Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press came to the event, and it drove a lot of thought-provoking conversations”.

 Being part of the network is important to Chris, Anna, Imogen and Keith both on a professional and personal level.

“We all spend so much time at work,” says Chris. “It’s important to me that I’ve not only got a job, but that I have a job which allows me to express my environmental values too.”

 Anna agrees: “With the current climate and biodiversity crisis, all organisations should be   working to drastically reduce their environmental impact. Personally, it’s important for me to work for an organisation which prioritises this.”

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With the help of the network, Cambridge Assessment is working towards achieving a Silver award in the University of Cambridge's Green Impact scheme, an environmental accreditation scheme which supports and encourages departments and colleges across the University in reducing their environmental impacts.

Imogen concludes: “These are issues we should all be taking seriously, not just locally but globally too. We are not experts, but we aim to facilitate our colleagues’ ideas in a helpful and holistic way and I’d encourage everyone to get involved.”

If you would like to find out more about Cambridge Assessment and explore career opportunities with us, click here to see our current vacancies, benefits and our five- star recruitment promise.

By Angela Jukes

Group Talent Acquisition Consultant at Cambridge Assessment

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VERCIDA works with over one hundred clients who are committed to creating an inclusive work environment. If you are an employer and interested in working with VERCIDA to promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives and attract the best candidates, please email [email protected] for more information.

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