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Only One Earth: how can you support World Environment Day?

By Jane Donnelly, Managing Director, Hays East of England

With the world becoming increasingly aware of the current climate crisis that we are experiencing and its disastrous consequences for the whole of society, it is fitting that the theme for this year’s World Environment Day is ‘Only One Earth’. We only have one planet, and we all have a collective responsibility to take action to help protect it.

What is World Environment Day?

World Environment Day is a global event led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and it aims to put a spotlight on pressing planetary issues and promote meaningful environmental action around the world. Since World Environment Day was first established in 1972, it has developed to become the largest annual platform for environmental outreach in the world.

Each year there is a different theme for World Environment Day, focusing global attention on specific issues like sustainable consumption, marine pollution, and global warming. This year’s theme, ‘Only One Earth’, is the same as the 1972 Stockholm Conference that led to the creation of World Environment Day.

What can you do to support World Environment Day?

As individuals, sometimes we can feel a bit helpless when considering massive global issues like climate change. However, we can all play our part by making deliberate changes to the way we live, eat, work, and travel. We can opt for sustainable choices in our personal lives, such as insulating our homes, avoiding disposable products, and taking public transport whenever possible, and these choices can have a direct impact on not only the environment but also local communities and economies and help drive meaningful societal change.

What’s more, individuals can also play a crucial role in pressing for greater environmental commitments from businesses and governments - for example, individuals can call for leaders to join the net-zero coalition through direct communication and petitions.

What can organisations do to support World Environment Day?

Workplaces are in a unique and strong position when it comes to pushing the environmental agenda: collectively, firms have the power to transform and shape our economy in a way that meets society’s needs in a sustainable manner. Corporate sustainability should be at the forefront of the agenda for organisations wanting to take meaningful action to protect the planet and reduce their environmental impact.

Sustainability initiatives within businesses can consist of setting higher recycling targets, joining the Race to Zero campaign, or supporting local charities and good causes. As well as having a positive effect on the environment, pursuing corporate sustainability can also help businesses reduce energy bills and waste management costs, enhance their brand image, and become an employer of choice for talent.

Banning single-use plastics, rolling out renewable energy, and environmental volunteering

Here at Hays, we are continuing to put sustainability in the spotlight through our commitment to reducing our environmental impact as a business. In 2021 we became a carbon-neutral organisation and our overarching carbon-reduction targets have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), a key element of our goal to achieve net-zero emissions.

Other sustainability initiatives include banning single-use plastics around the office, moving to LED lighting, improving the recycling facilities in our workplaces, and switching to 100% renewable energy across our offices in the UK and Ireland, where we have control.

As part of our wider Hays Helps global framework, we are dedicated to supporting the communities that we serve as a business. Each year, every Hays employee is entitled to take paid volunteering time to support causes aligned with the employment of people who may not have the same opportunities as others, plus those focused on protecting the environment.

One of our recent partnerships is with Trees for Cities and, as well as facilitating volunteering activities for our employees with this charity to help plant trees and aid conservation projects, we are also committed to donating trees to help create greener spaces in cities around the UK&I.

We know that taking steps to protect our planet now will help the environment, our business, our employees, and our customers in the future. We have ‘Only One Earth’, and we can all take some simple action to care for it - how will you support World Environment Day this year?

About this author

Jane joined Hays in 1994 as an Associate. Initially recruiting within Accounting and Finance in Scotland, she progressed to Regional Director in 1999 running all Hays Finance, Office Support, and Customer Contact recruitment across the North East of England.

She moved to Hays Australia in 2001, working as a Regional Director for offices across Sydney and Canberra expanding her specialism management to include Procurement, Technology, Construction & Property, Sales & Marketing, and Insurance & Banking. Jane also launched Hays Life Sciences in Australia and was instrumental in the development of the national Healthcare and Education business. In 2006 Jane was appointed as Senior Regional Director, coordinating successful projects in New Zealand and South Australia, while running the professional service operations in Sydney's head office and account management of NSW government.

In July 2013, Jane returned to the UK completing several operational project roles in Cambridge and Chelmsford before taking responsibility, in 2015, as Regional Director for 6 offices across Essex and Suffolk. Towards the end of 2017, Jane was appointed as the Managing Director for the East of England region, covering 15 offices across East Anglia, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, and Buckinghamshire. She is currently Vice-Chair of the East of England CBI Committee and will take over as Chair from January 2022.

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