Creating change

Dorian Gonsalves reflects on the importance of franchisees pursuing a proactive ESG strategy

Creating change

Climate change is a topic that is familiar to all of us, and the need for franchisors and franchisees to embark on a journey of sustainability and reduce their carbon footprint is more urgent than ever. Net zero is the ultimate goal for our business and becoming carbon neutral is an important step towards achieving this. The Belvoir Group has been actively creating and working on an effective ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) policy since 2021.

After considerable research, the Belvoir Group’s ESG strategy is focused on five pillars, which are:

  1. Building local businesses,
  2. Building trust
  3. Raising standards
  4. Nurturing talent
  5. Harnessing technology

The Belvoir Group’s franchisees help people to realise their property, mortgage and franchise aspirations, so our carbon footprint and impact on the environment is by nature less than that of franchises that are working in industries that are involved with shipping and production etc. Nevertheless, we are investing considerable time, money, and resources into becoming carbon neutral by 2024 and net zero as soon as possible thereafter. We are also working to engage with our franchisees and encouraging them to aspire to the same goals.

Each of our ESG pillars have been broken down into areas of interest and metrics, to help focus our efforts, and measure progress. As well as the environmental element of our ESG strategy, the Belvoir Group is also very focused on the social and governance aspects of the plan. This ensures that the welfare and training of our team is foremost – for example, we have recently trained five people to become mental health first aiders, and team members have been made aware that help is available should this be required.

At our Central Office in Grantham, we recently hosted a workshop with all interested parties to consider ways that the Belvoir Group might reduce its carbon emissions. As a result, we have developed a plan of action, which includes steps such as changing our energy tariff to a renewable energy supplier. We are also changing our pool cars to fully electric models and installing electric charging points. Another important area within our ESG strategy is to work with our suppliers to determine their carbon footprint and where possible to encourage them to reduce this.

Many of Belvoir’s franchisees are showing great interest in ESG, and we now have an ESG working party, which includes members of the Central Office team as well as franchisees. The working party looks at how we can improve our engagement with franchisees across the networks so that they fully embrace the concept of ESG and understand the many benefits this can have on their businesses, such as enhancing standards and working practices, and providing a pleasant working environment with greater emphasis on the health and wellbeing of team members.

I feel extremely proud that the Belvoir Group is taking such a proactive stance towards ESG. This month Gary Pemberton from Belvoir Warrington, who is one of our most successful franchisees and a keen advocate of ESG, has volunteered to take part in a pilot study that will accurately measure the carbon footprint of his business. This study will involve Gary inputting various pieces of data and information to gauge accurate measurements and highlight those areas where the carbon footprint of his business can be reduced. This initiative will also enable the development of a simplified data collection system where franchisees across the networks can input their own data to determine the carbon footprint of their businesses.

Importantly, with the information gained from the study, Gary can then talk to other franchisees, via a webinar and our network group meetings, to help them understand how valuable this process has been to his business and encourage them to prioritise their own ESG strategies. This will ultimately benefit not only franchises within the Belvoir Group, but also the wider society, and the future of our planet. ESG is here to stay and will undoubtedly influence future investment decisions as well as customer choice. With this in mind it’s worth asking the question – is ESG a priority for your franchise?

Dorian Gonsalves
Dorian Gonsalves