Doing our bit to protect the planet - Earth Day with Ben Wright

Doing our bit to protect the planet - Earth Day with Ben Wright

This Saturday is Earth Day - an annual event to demonstrate support for protecting the environment. To mark the occasion, Ben Wright, our Director of ESG and Sustainability, has given an insight into some of the work being done to protect the environment with our new 'Players, People & Planet' strategy.

My name is Ben Wright, I’m the Director of ESG and Sustainability and I’ve recently re-joined the business after starting my career here. ESG and sustainability are both business buzzwords at the moment; ESG means Environmental, Social and Governance. My role is working on our new strategy, ‘Players, People & Planet,’ which we see as our three core focus areas.

Players: Preventing harm through safer gambling, and engaging players with positive experiences

People: Creating an engaging and inclusive environment where colleagues can thrive

Planet: Protecting the environment and becoming a net-zero business

Lots of great work is going on across all areas and I work with the teams to bring it together into one strategy that we can talk about both to colleagues and external stakeholders. We have done lots of work with various ESG ratings agencies in recent years and we are really well rated for our sector. We want our colleagues to be proud to work here, so progressing in these areas is key to that. The business has changed so much in recent times, particularly in the area of safer gambling, where our risk appetite is radically different compared to several years ago, but there is more work to be done for us to meet our goals.

With Earth Day taking place this weekend, I felt that this was a good time to update on you on the progress we are making to play our part in tackling the climate change. The primary focus of our efforts is in reducing our emissions as we need to limit green house gas creation urgently to limit global temperature rises.

Our emissions can be divided into 3 types:

Scope 1: emissions we make directly from our offices and betting shops

Scope 2: these are indirect and come from energy we consume to power our offices and data centres around the world

Scope 3: come through use of our products, our suppliers, waste, business travel and many other component parts.

5% of our emissions are scope 1 and 2 and we’ve made good progress in this area, primarily by switching a large amount of our locations to renewable energy. Scope 3 emissions are going to be the tough nut to crack though and that’s where we will need a lot of focus, including working with suppliers to reduce their environmental impact. David Medori, Chief Procurement Officer, and our Procurement team have been trailblazers for the business in this area and they will be playing a key role in getting our suppliers to match our ambitions.

As part of the Paris Accord, which was adopted by 196 nations at COP21 in 2015, emissions need to be reduced by 45% by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. This is an effort to stop the risk of global temperatures rising to 2 degrees and an attempt to stop a rise over 1.5 degrees Celsius. Going over these thresholds risks triggering a severe climate catastrophe that could radically alter life on Earth. In response to this we have devised some ambitious climate targets:

  • By the end of 2025 we will have a defined pathway towards 80% emissions reductions from suppliers representing 60% of our external spend
  • By 2030 we will be net zero across our scope 1 and 2 emissions
  • By 2035 we will be fully net zero

In recent years we have made really good progress across the organisation, with a highlight being William Hill achieving carbon neutral status in the UK last year. This is a fantastic building block but there’s more for us to do to play our part in battling the climate emergency. Everyone can contribute to help us hit our goals and we’ll be looking to organise ways in which our colleagues can get involved in the coming months. Watch this space!

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20 Apr 2023

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