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RO Group's Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Statement

Our commitment

We are committed to promoting sustainability and ESG principles for our businesses and ensuring we act responsibly in operating and managing our impact on the environment.


This statement reflects our commitment to improving how our business decisions and policies address our sustainability efforts. 


Our purpose is to create value for all stakeholders covering our solutions to environmental and social issues.


Our Capital Partners arm actively invest in business opportunities with positive environmental and social impacts, to mitigate environmental and social matters.

About us

This statement applies to RO Trading and its subsidiaries.
RO Trading is a family run company that can trace its roots back 90 years; it only operates in the UK. Based upon the founding principle that the company is ‘In business to do business’ this straightforward direct approach has seen it thrive over the years through careful engagement in a diverse range of interests, which continues to this day.  


Presently we work in the property sector through asset management, refurbishment and development, procurement of land, new build and lodge site developments. We also provide substantial support to local community charitable projects and causes. The company places an important emphasis on integrity throughout its businesses and has a rigorous approach to health and safety and ethical business practices. 


As part of our Group Occupational Health and Safety Management System, we hold a register of activities, aspects and impacts to monitor operations and expectations covering best practice, safe place of work, safe systems of work, compliance, competence, health and wellbeing, work-life balance, reward, employment, and continual improvement.

Policies and values

We have a number of policies and values that together address our commitment to ESG ensuing we act ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships.

 

This includes our policies on:


•    Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking
•    Anti-bribery & Corruption
•    Whistleblowing
•    Equal Opportunities
•    Employee Handbook & Employee Promise
•    Group Occupational Health and Safety Management System

People

Our employees are our most valuable asset, which is why our values are built with them in mind. 


We believe it is imperative that we work together to make this a great place to work, by communicating, sharing ideas and experiences, improving our business by working in partnership, listening to each other and implementing ideas so we can achieve great goals. 


We will ensure that we: 

  • Protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees and those who we work alongside. 

  • Our Occupational Health and Safety Management System is in place to ensure this is a safe place to work and every employee is trained in health & safety. 

  • Promote a healthy workplace with a contribution to healthcare provision. 

  • As well as the physical health of our employees, we support their wellbeing through the dedicated Employee Wellbeing Team and an employee assistance programme. 

  • Respect the communities we work in, are a considerate neighbour and make a positive contribution. 

  • Support diversity and inclusion. 

  • Our company is dedicated to protecting human rights. We are a committed equal opportunity employer and will abide by all fair labour practices, policies and procedures. We ensure that our activities do not directly or indirectly violate human rights in any way. 

  • Learning and development are integral to our success and employees are actively encouraged and supported to fulfil their potential and to drive future growth and success. 

  • Our benefits and rewards contribute to providing a supportive work environment and for our employees to realise their value. 

  • The higher than average length of service within the Group would suggest our employees feel valued. 

  • Our regular newsletter, collaboration, teambuilding activities and social interactions promote communication.

Community

Supporting and getting actively involved with a variety of organisations that help the lives of those most in need locally is a core value that we intend to build on and develop year on year.  


We positively encourage this as follows: 

  • The Graham Rowlandson Foundation, the family charity, has supported over 70 charities across Hertfordshire with individual grants since 2005.  We work closely with our local community foundation to provide support where it is needed most. 

  • We are proud to be involved in a small way as a long-term sponsor of Emmaus to offer support to help address the needs of the homeless.  

  • We endeavour to provide our employees with the opportunity to join a corporate charity team exercise once a year.   

  • In addition to this, we would wholeheartedly support our employees if they wished to dedicate a day a year to a charity of their choice.   

  • Payroll Giving is a way for all employees to be able to give donations to their chosen charity 

  • A charitable initiative provides grants for employee nominated projects that address our three broad charitable themes of education, disability and social deprivation. 

  • We aim to support a worthwhile cause local to each major real estate development area.

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Fitwell Certification

Fitwell building certification is a set of guidelines on how the design and operations of a building can improve occupant health and productivity.  All Fitwel strategies are evidence-based practical solutions that impact occupant’s daily routines to promote physical, mental and social health.


Four of our Real Estate developments are Fitwel certified:
GNR8, Watford
One Dorset Street, Southampton
One Suffolk Way, Sevenoaks
Waterside Place, Southampton

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What we’ve been working on in 2022

In January 2022 we conducted a staff survey with the outcome demonstrating just how engaged as a business we are towards our sustainability and net zero goals and how we can better equip ourselves through education, awareness, leadership and inclusion going forward. 

We have joined the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) whose aim is to improve the sustainability of the built environment by transforming the way it is planned, designed, constructed, maintained and operated. Through this membership, we gain access to sustainability news, policy, and best practice as well as e-learning, networking opportunities and insight into new innovations and solutions.  

We have entered two of our commercial, multi-tenanted developments; One Dorset Street, Southampton and GNR8, Watford into the CUBE competition, which is designed to deliver energy savings in commercial buildings. CUBE provides the framework to enable internal engagement in our buildings through friendly competition and collaboration. Other participants include Land Securities, Stanhope, Savills, The Howard de Walden Estate, The Office Group, Workspace, plus more. 

One of the biggest challenges we have is how we measure carbon and then formulate a strategy. In March 2022, we have signed up with Planet Mark to establish our baseline carbon footprint at an office operational level and gain a sustainability accreditation. It is a 3 step approach; Measure, Engage and Communicate and will really set us on our way to understanding and reducing our carbon footprint and determining our social impact. In the future we will also be exploring their Property and Development Certification to really be able to assess our carbon footprint throughout all facets of our business activity. 

What we are working towards

As part of our commitment, we will be further assessing our:

  • Workplace culture, training and green skills development 

  • Procurement and ethical sourcing of office supplies

  • Community impact

  • Energy consumption through monitoring and efficiency

  • Recycling, waste management and reduction

  • Water management

  • Electric vehicles and charging points 

  • Biodiversity and environmental impact

  • Working with other businesses, suppliers, customers that value diversity and sustainability

  • Innovation of better products and services

This statement will assist us in developing a Sustainability and ESG Policy and outline our targets to become net-zero to achieve a more sustainable future. 

March 2022