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Sustainable Business

IoD Sustainability Policy

01 Nov 2021

The IoD is committed to playing a leading role in sustainable business, both in terms of its own activities and as an advocate in the business community and with policy makers.

Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. The IoD recognises that the business community must urgently accelerate its transition to business practices which are less damaging to the planet and consistent with the expectations of wider society.

The IoD is committed to reducing its carbon footprint as well as supporting our members in the societal shift to net zero. We are excited by the entrepreneurial opportunities of the green economy. We seek to support our members in taking advantage of Green Growth across the full range of our Connect, Develop and Influence activities.

Our core sustainability objectives are to: 

  • Continually reduce our carbon footprint as an organisation and achieve a net-zero position by 2027.
  • Provide information, support and inspiration to IoD members and directors in relation to sustainability risks and opportunities.
  • Influence government policy in a manner which facilitates a viable transition to net zero by the business community and encourages the effective implementation of sustainable corporate governance.

Sustainability-oriented values and behaviours are key features of the IoD’s corporate culture. We seek to minimise any negative environmental and social impacts in a variety of ways.


We influence the public discourse and engage with IoD members around sustainability.

  • We have established an IoD National Sustainability Taskforce of IoD members, which advises the IoD Management Team on how the IoD can become more sustainable, and how IoD members can be supported in embedding best practices into their organisations. 
  • We are a signatory to the United Nations Race to Zero campaign by pledging to achieve a Net Zero target by 2050 (or earlier) via the SME Climate Hub. We plan to achieve that target by 2027 – demonstrating the need for urgency in addressing the challenge of climate change.
  • A designated member of the Governance and Policy Unit focuses on policy issues related to sustainability. 
  • We have established an Expert Advisory Group on sustainability, consisting of IoD members with a high level of specialist expertise in the field. Their role is to advise the IoD on public policy issues relating to sustainability. 
  • The IoD participates in external campaigns and initiatives relating to sustainability, e.g. Net Zero Week – the UK Government’s National Awareness week regarding the transition net-zero.


We integrate sustainability principles into our physical locations and member facilities.

  • We measure the IoD’s climate impact on an ongoing basis. The IoD’s London Pall Mall carbon footprint was certified by PlanetMark for the second consecutive year in 2020. The total carbon emissions reported within the agreed Scopes of Measurement were 318 tons of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) emissions. After factoring in market-based factors, like the fact that the IoD uses a renewable energy supplier, the market-based footprint was 91.7 tCO2e. This represented a year on year decrease in emissions of 42.6% from the 2019 results, a 22.5% per employee decrease and a 30.3% per member decrease. 
  • We are continuing with this certification process in future years and are evaluating the adoption of other international standards relating to energy efficiency.
  • We offset our carbon footprint in a credible manner.
  • We have established a close partnership with our landlords, the Crown Estate, which enables us to benefit from the sustainability best practices that are being introduced elsewhere in their property portfolio.
  • We source 100% renewable electricity for all IoD offices.
  • We work together with our food and hospitality supplier, Searcy’s, to ensure that our catering offer is nutritious, healthy, integrates low impact ingredients and systematically includes a vegetarian choice.
  • We are reducing the amount of food waste and single use plastic by utilising the data we hold on building use and footfall. We recycle waste material wherever possible.  
  • We have introduced c50,000 bees into the local eco system at our London Pall Mall premises. These in turn will pollinate c 200 million local plants, fruit and flowers.  There are also significant benefits relating to wellbeing for employees, IoD members and members of the local community.


We offer employees a means of promoting sustainability through their retirement savings.

  • In 2021, all staff pensions were transferred to a new provider, allowing individuals to make more sustainable pension investments over the course of their working lives.  Staff can select funds that use environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to evaluate investments or assess their societal impact.


We incorporate sustainability principles into the way that we reward employees.

  • Sustainable staff benefits form part of the IoD’s Total Reward Package, such as support with the purchase of electrical vehicles.  We continue to review our total reward package to ensure it includes as many sustainable choices as possible.  


We seek to minimise transport emissions by employees.

  • Through our new agile way of working, we minimise the use business travel where possible. This includes the use of virtual meetings to avoid unnecessary journeys. We monitor the number of flights taken by staff and ambassadors as well as favouring the use of rail travel where possible. 


We embed sustainability into our training programmes.

  • For many of our professional development programmes, we offer a virtual method of delivery. This reduces the environmental impact of our courses by reducing travel for clients and course tutors.
  • We provide an increasing amount of our course material electronically, reducing the need for paper copies and reducing the amount of waste.
  • Sustainability forms a key topic in our training modules for directors. We collaborate with a number of tutors and external partners with expertise in sustainability for the benefit of IoD members and course participants.


We take into account sustainability criteria in our procurement and supplier decisions.

  • When selecting our suppliers, we undertake due diligence on their sustainability policies and track record in terms of implementing responsible and sustainable business practices.
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