14 April 2021 by James Langley

Duo of companies commit to CSR ambitions

Two waste management companies have underlined their commitment to corporate social responsibility with separate announcements of support for the fight against modern slavery and for sustainability.

Biffa announced today (14 April) it is to partner with Ride for Freedom, the social enterprise that undertakes inspiring cycling challenges to raise awareness of modern slavery.

And, Powerday has launched its new ‘Sustainability and Wellness Manifesto’.

Modern slavery

Biffa is to become a podium partner for Ride for Freedom, a social enterprise that undertakes cycling challenges to raise awareness of modern slavery.

The waste company says the partnership will enable it to raise awareness of human trafficking, as well as sharing the psychological and physical benefits that cycling can have in supporting people who have previously been victims of modern slavery.

Ride for Freedom has been running since 2019 and is led by the human rights advocate Gordon Miller

Mel Flogdell, Biffa’s divisional HR director, said: “Modern slavery is a heinous crime and as a leading business in the waste sector employing more than 8,000 people, we want to be at the forefront of tackling the issue in our industry.

“Along with embedding anti-slavery policies and procedures across our business, part of our responsibility is to raise awareness of the presence of modern slavery.

“Modern slavery is a heinous crime”

Mel Flogdell, Biffa

“Ride for Freedom is a fantastic initiative that helps us do just that. It also has the added benefit of supporting the health of our employees who take part in the cycling event.”

The Ride for Freedom 2021 cycling challenges include a ride of approximately 2,900km from Cadiz, Spain, to London, starting on 1 October and finishing on 18 October, Anti-Slavery Day. The ride will follow a documented human trafficking route. Biffa team members will join the final two legs of the ride, which will take place in the UK.

In October 2020 Biffa launched a campaign in partnership with Hope for Justice to raise awareness of modern slavery in the waste sector (see letsrecycle.com story).

Biffa is involved in an issue regarding modern slavery allegations. In January 2021 a pre-action protocol letter was sent to Biffa, Smart Solutions, and the latter’s umbrella company FS Commercial, by law firm Leigh Day saying an action was to be launched on behalf of three victims of the “largest-ever modern slavery ring uncovered in the UK” (see letsrecycle.com story). In response, Biffa said all allegations against it were “denied and will be defended in any court proceedings”, and Smart Solutions said it had been working in partnership with West Midlands Police and other UK forces to support their investigations.

Sustainability

London-based Powerday launched its first ‘Sustainability and Wellness Manifesto’ on 23 March in a bid to integrate sustainability throughout its business.

The waste company will set specific and measurable targets for each of the manifesto’s five core pillars – local community, employees, carbon management, clients and procurement.

Powerday’s manifesto is founded upon five core ‘pillars’ – local community, employees, carbon management, clients and procurement

Powerday is working with environmental consultancy Carbon Footprint Ltd to help it reduce its carbon emissions. The waste company is currently undergoing an assessment to help it understand the company’s current emissions and set out a carbon management programme to reduce them.

Liam Kearney, joint managing director at Powerday, said: “We are delighted to be working with Carbon Footprint Ltd to not only help us in our journey to net zero but to provide independent verification of our achievements.

“Supporting this, our new sustainability manifesto demonstrates what we are currently doing to become a more sustainable business, and how we are challenging ourselves in key areas to do better for our clients, employees, communities and the environment.”

Emissions

Powerday is offsetting fleet emissions with Carbon Footprint, saying it recognises the “difficulty” in decarbonising the company’s fleet given the current technology for viable electric skip vehicles. It added it sees this “very much as an initial and interim step” while it continues to explore options for heavy electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

“We are delighted to have been chosen by Powerday to support them in their important commitment towards net zero”

Dan Hill-Morriss, Carbon Footprint

Powerday has also signed up to a REGO certified renewable energy tariff that will be rolled out across all its sites later this year.

Dan Hill-Morriss from Carbon Footprint said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Powerday to support them in their important commitment towards net zero and helping to address the impact of the business on climate change.

“We are excited to progress the great work that has already been achieved in reducing their direct emissions, as well as exploring how we can support their future ambitions.”

Related links
Powerday’s Sustainability and Wellness Manifesto

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