ESG and DSW’s journey

DSW is actively progressing on its Environmental, Sustainability, and Governance (ESG) journey, having made significant advancements in the past year. Pete Fendall, Chief Operating Officer, shares insights into the development of DSW’s ESG framework and its objectives.


How did you develop the ESG Framework?

Over the past five years, ESG has gained significant prominence as people have become more familiar with the term and recognised that it touches all aspects of how we operate as responsible businesses and professionals. We know prospective teams and recruits are placing more emphasis on joining a company with clear ESG policies and goals when making career decisions.

DSW’s ESG framework is built on four cornerstones, which are:

  • Social & Environmental Impact
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Empowering our People
  • Responsible Business Practices.

These cornerstones were developed by listening to our stakeholders, who increasingly value companies with strong ESG principles at their core. We are committed to building a sustainable future and will continue to work towards achieving our ESG goals.

How has DSW empowered its people to deliver on the ESG goals?

We are proud to have established our ESG committee, which I chair, to spearhead positive organisational changes as we strive to become ‘best-in-class’.

This committee meet quarterly to review progress and explore new initiatives, ensuring accountability and continual advancement towards our ESG goals. The ESG committee outcomes are shared across DSW, and the committee members act as ambassadors within the organisation, providing a channel for others to feedback on their ideas and priorities.

Take us through the achievements of DSW’s ESG Strategy

We keep future sustainability trends firmly on our radar and align them with DSW’s organisational goals. Highlights since the launch of our ESG Strategy include:

  • Scope 1 Emissions were reduced by 45.9%, and Scope 1&2 Emissions by 31.6%.
  • Over £3,000 was raised for charity in 2023.
  • We’ve conducted a comprehensive employee engagement survey and begun to integrate the findings into our business.
  • Advanced a ‘Best-in-class’ ESG strategy with a bespoke framework for monitoring progress, which is published in DSW’s ESG Reports.
  • Delivering re-purposed and relevant company values and purpose statements.
  • Establishing our ESG Committee.
  • Implemented Diversity & Inclusion training, mental health first aiders, whistle-blowing & ABC policies, and well-being/social events.
  • Creating and delivering the DSW Future Leaders Programme with BecomingX.

As a 120-strong organisation, we are striving to live by our ESG values and aim to be carbon neutral by 2025 and carbon net zero by 2030.

What is DSW’s giving back ethos?

DSW has always maintained a strong charitable focus. With our new ESG agenda, we plan to enhance impact through significant charity events and increased employee involvement.

We are exploring matched funding and partnerships with charities that align with our mission and values. Our team can submit nominations, and we review these charities on a case-by-case basis – there’s always a back story with why people champion and want to support specific charities. We are also promoting skilled volunteering opportunities for the team.

What are the Diversity & Inclusion initiatives?

DSW is rolling out comprehensive Diversity & Inclusion training, which includes Awareness Days and inclusive language and communication initiatives.

Collaborating with local colleges, we aim to diversify entry points into the accountancy and corporate finance sector, complemented by apprenticeships, debt-free study options and mentoring for young people.

As part of our BecomingX leadership and development programme, spearheaded by Liz Lawson, our Talent & Resourcing Manager who is integral to all our ESG and further development programmes, we are acutely aware of training our leaders on how to involve diverse perspectives in decision-making processes while providing mentoring and support within DSW.

What are you looking forward to in 2024?

I’m enthusiastic about working closely with the ESG committee planning social and wellbeing events to enrich DSW’s culture. I value the opportunity to engage with team members’ experiences and challenges, which contributes to a supportive and inclusive workplace environment.