At Cenkos, we recognise the importance of embedding sustainability into business practice to help mitigate the issues that our societies and environment face at a global scale.
By considering environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors within our operations and services, we can identify opportunities to reduce our negative impact, contribute to positive real-world outcomes and increase our resilience in a rapidly changing world.
Establishing our purpose
As a provider of financial services, we deliver capital and corporate advice to support sustainable growth across a range of sectors. We recognise that the operations of Cenkos, our clients and their underlying activities have varying impacts on sustainable development. As a firm we are committed to operating responsibly. This is not solely driven by legal compliance and a clear case of good business sense, rather, we see it is our wider purpose to support the concept of sustainable growth in every aspect we can. At a higher level, we are conscious of the role we play in capital markets to engage with our stakeholders on ESG, demonstrating the value that is brought by aligning effective sustainability management with corporate and investment objectives.
The global sustainability agenda is pursuing meaningful climate action and the protection of human rights. These represent existential threats not only to the future performance of our clients, and ultimately ourselves, but to the prosperity of the environment and society as a whole. Our commitment to embedding sustainability into our own activities and services to clients is driven by the objective to avoid significant harm and to identify positive impact where achievable.
Ensuring oversight and implementation
The ESG Working Group that reports directly to the Executive Committee, comprising members from various areas of the organisation, was established in 2020 to drive our ESG ambitions forward.
Our policy is overseen by the Cenkos Executive Committee, which has overall accountability to the Board for us implementation, and is responsible for the following activities:
- Development, maintenance, and review of the firm’s ESG policy
- Measuring and reporting on progress
- Development and implementation of supporting ESG procedures
- Making ESG recommendations to the Executive Committee and Board in this regard
- Development and growth of internal ESG knowledge through training and awareness raising, including oversight of evolving legal requirements
- Liaison with ESG expert network and engagement with external stakeholders
It is the responsibility of all Cenkos employees to support the implementation of this policy.
Key Areas of Focus
Protecting the environment
The existential threats that the world faces through climate change and biodiversity loss, means that all businesses, including Cenkos, must align with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 2°C and to protect our natural capital.
For us, we recognise that this means taking the first steps in assessing our climate-related risks, disclosing on this process and taking appropriate action. Our main carbon impact stems from direct and indirect emissions from energy consumption in our offices and from employee travel. Our resulting efforts lie in addressing the challenge of maximising the energy efficiency of our older office space and scrutinising our approach to staff transportation to replace carbon-based travel with sustainable alternatives where possible.
Beyond reducing our carbon emissions, we are committed to minimising other risks of harm to the local and global environment. We seek to minimise the use of plastic, optimise water efficiency and maximise the diversion of waste to landfill, and we will report on our progress accordingly.
Prioritising societal wellbeing
We firmly believe that our people are our main asset, and their wellbeing is of fundamental importance. We also recognise how this view fits into broader society and our role in encouraging fairness and decent work practices for all can generate positive impact.
We are committed to creating a workplace and culture that is healthy, safe, welcoming and inclusive for everyone. We value the contribution of all our people and recognise that diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas enable us to grow and remain versatile. We are committed to achieving a working environment which provides equality of opportunity, freedom from discrimination and openness of dialogue.
We base the beliefs, behaviours and practices of our organisation on internationally recognised human rights principles (UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights & the European Convention on Human Rights). We have a zero-tolerance approach to slavery and human trafficking and bribery and corruption.
Our commitments are further captured by our Health and Safety Policy, Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy, Harassment and Bullying Policy, Whistleblowing Policy and Modern Slavery Statement.
Beyond the protection of the human rights of our workforce and those within our supply chains, we are committed to contributing to, and creating opportunities for, our communities through our Charity Committee and Community programme and the Apprenticeship Levy Scheme. We have partnered with the #10000BlackInterns programme which is due to commence in the Summer of 2022 and is designed to help transform the horizons and prospects of young Black people in the UK. We also support the Great Ormand Street Hospital.
Safeguarding governance procedures
Good governance breeds success. It requires effective oversight and accountability that permeates throughout the organisation, by facilitating the right ‘tone from above’. This in turn shapes our strong culture of transparency and objectivity, which helps to protect our clients, ourselves and the market more generally. The Board is fully committed to ensuring a robust internal governance framework including driving the broader ESG agenda forward as part of this process.
Our Board, which is 60% independent, has a female Chair and is supported by executive management and other sub-committees, establishes the foundation on which our governance framework is built by ensuring fair and sound decision-making. Our training and certification programmes safeguard our high standards of corporate governance across all levels within the organisation promoting professionalism, excellence and opportunities for all staff to pursue.
Moreover, the Board also recognises the importance of understanding the ESG risk and opportunity exposure of our client base, which is overseen by our Supervisory and New Business Committees in the process of liaising with potential new, and existing, clients. As an AIM Company, Cenkos has adopted the QCA Code of Corporate Governance for Smaller Companies and we have an established Anti-bribery and Corruption Policy.
Engaging with our clients and stakeholders
Beyond the management of our operations, we recognise the influence that Cenkos has on sustainability through the services it provides to clients, as well as the important link we facilitate between the investor community and corporates seeking access to the capital markets. Through our corporate finance offering, we emphasise the importance of embedding sustainability by supporting our clients with the development of their own ESG strategies and associated disclosures. We strongly believe this is a fundamental step for companies to take as they ready themselves for being brought to market and for maintaining capital market investment once a public quote has been achieved.
As part of our consideration of new clients, we request information on their approach and commitments in the ESG space which informs our wider due diligence workstreams. We recognise that we play a significant role in this regard and we understand the importance of the robustness of these exercises not least to the investor community whose investment drives the growth of our clients.
Alongside our influence on clients, we also recognise the importance of, and our ability to, engage with our external stakeholders to steer progress on ESG issues in the market. We consider collaboration to be key in tackling the systemic threats to sustainability we all face. Through committee representation for the Quoted Companies Alliance and the Association for Financial Markets in Europe by senior management, the ESG Working Group additionally provides input into relevant engagement and consultation programmes and feeds back on such activities accordingly.
Monitoring and reporting progress
With the drive to significantly strengthen our approach to operating responsibly, ESG considerations are core to the Company’s principles. We will implement a reporting framework to showcase our ongoing progress against the priorities highlighted in this policy. We will also undertake periodic review of our policy and our associated ambition as sustainability issues continue to develop and emerge.