Belgard’s Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) activities aim to incorporate social and environmental concerns into formal initiatives. These initiatives led by our stakeholders, employees, and core ESG Group, aim to have a positive impact on our communities and for the greater good of the environment.
We are proud to have worked on several projects designed to enhance our ESG strategy. Through the employee lead strategies of volunteering, supporting, and delivering change in areas where it is most needed, and doing so in an environmentally friendly fashion, we believe that we can better our community and those around us.
Our marketplace programme focuses on accessibility and equality for all.
Law Society Gender Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Charter – Belgard has proudly registered our alliance with the Law Society’s Gender, Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion (GEDI) Charter. By signing the GEDI Charter, we have committed to treating all individuals and groups of individuals equally, fairly, and no less favourably, specific to their needs, in areas of gender, civil status, family status, sexual orientation, religion, age, race, class, disability or membership of the Traveller Community. As such, we pledge to:
Our community programme aims to give back to the local and broader community through charitable fundraising and active engagement in community initiatives, as outlined below.
Fundraising – In line with our community programme commitment, we have held several employee fundraising events throughout the year and successfully raised significant donations for charities and causes in need of support. This includes, but is not limited to, Breast Cancer Ireland, Focus Ireland, GOAL, The Irish Cancer Society, Saoirse Domestic Violence Services, Friends of the Earth, and Movember.
Charitable Causes – In addition to fundraising events, our employees have also worked together outside of the organisation to provide support to some very worthwhile causes including The Liberty Soup Run, GOAL and Cooking4Families with the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Our environmental programme and sustainability journey is in its infancy, given the size of our organisation and the nature of our business at Belgard. However, we are committed to both improving our performance across our key impact areas and supporting our clients in the transition to a net-zero economy through the legal services we provide. Belgard has implemented several initial actions to improve our environmental performance. It is our intention that environmental considerations are mainstreamed into decision-making processes for our business. To enhance transparency and accountability we are investigating pathways to ESG reporting appropriate for our business and stakeholders.
Action - Belgard conducted an internal audit which identified four key impact areas namely: (i) consumption of energy, (ii) waste disposal, (iii) paper and printer cartridges usage and (iv) business travel.
As a first step, we have prioritised addressing energy consumption. We have implemented energy efficiency measures informed by the SEAI SME Guide to Energy Efficiency. This includes straightforward actions such as labelling to ensure all equipment is powered off when not in use, developing an office plan design that maximises natural light, locates desks in optimal locations. The building we occupy is managed by BNP Paribas Real Estate who is committed to preventing pollution and enhancing biodiversity through the management of its client properties. As our organisation matures in this area, we will engage with BNP to understand in more detail the energy consumption as a result of our activities. This data will inform the development of an emissions inventory which will in turn be used to identify and assess the impact of future energy-related actions and inform reporting.
Reporting - Belgard is in the early stages of ESG reporting with the first step in this process being to identify an appropriate methodology that defines the key indicators small and medium organisations should be measuring, managing and reporting against. We have selected the recently published SME Climate Disclosure Framework published by CDP and SME Climate Hub as an appropriate framework to work from. Using this framework will ensure that the actions we take and the data that is measured are aligned with key reporting frameworks such as the TCFD, CDSB and SDGs.
Employee Travel – Belgard provides tax-saver travel cards, in addition to bike-to-work schemes which encourage employees to use more environmentally friendly modes of transport when coming to and from work.
Governance – Belgard is committed to improving the skills, knowledge and well-being of our employees and creating a work environment that supports mental and physical well-being. We have ensured that all our employees can work flexibly across both their working hours and locations. The leadership team is dedicated to ensuring diversity and inclusion and is in the process of identifying options for diversity and inclusivity training for the entire workforce.
Social – Belgard frequently supports national charities and at various stages of the year run initiatives to raise funds for charities including, but not limited to, The Marie Keating Foundation, Dogs Trust, The Irish Cancer Society Daffodil Day, Pieta House, and The Simon Community.
Our people programme is focused on providing a positive workplace, development opportunities, employee well-being, and diversity and inclusion. Key areas of our focus include.
Employee Wellbeing – In line with our people programme, we have designed several workplace initiatives to safeguard and support our employees' mental and physical well-being. Throughout the year, workplace activities such as yoga, step competitions, healthy bake-offs, mindfulness and resilience talks, vaccine programme, and social events take place. We are continuously working with our employees in mind, to make their workplace one in which they feel comfortable, recognised, and supported.
Diversity and Inclusion – Belgard values and is committed to promoting equal opportunities and diversity in the workplace. The Firm endeavours to provide a working environment in which everyone is treated fairly and with respect, has an equal opportunity to succeed, and is not subjected to any prejudice. Throughout the year, we hold events such as cultural food day, International Men and Women’s Day, children’s parties and diversity and inclusion training workshops to enhance our understanding and recognition of those with whom we work.
Wellness Month – An annual wellness month takes place during the month of May each year. This programme sees activities such as weekly mindfulness times, nutritional talks, yoga classes, steps competitions, and food van lunch days, to improve the mental and physical well-being of our employees.