Sustainable September: Manx Telecom reflects on how support for community events makes a difference

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As a responsible business and one of the largest employers on the Island, Manx Telecom has always had a very strong community focus.

For many years our support has been expressed by helping local charities, organisations and events: initiatives such as our It’s Our Community awards that provide funds for local good causes; our sponsorships and technical help; and our support of some of the key community events like the Parish Walk, the Royal Manx Agricultural Show and the launch of FC Isle of Man.

They each bring people together in their own individual way, for example, the Parish Walk is the most popular community mass participation event on the Isle of Man where thousands of people turn out to support the walkers. This year’s Manx Telecom Parish Walk was also notable for what it didn’t do, after the success of a number of initiatives introduced to reduce its impact on the environment.

Chief among these was a reduction in the amount of rubbish from the event sent to the Energy From Waste plant - from a whopping 2.4 tonnes of rubbish in 2021 to just 360kg this year. This was achieved by bringing in a zero single use plastic strategy to avoid reliance on plastic bottled water and the use of collapsible reusable cups, backed by sustainability partners IGFL and Mann Made Group. Other waste was composted or recycled.

On top of this, 262 entrants to the Parish Walk opted to give a £5 donation to the Isle of Man Woodland Trust in lieu of receiving the traditional Parish Walk T-shirt which is normally included in the registration pack. This generated £1,310 which will be used by the Isle of Man Woodland Trust to plant around 262 saplings in an effort to restore and revive the Isle of Man’s native woodlands.

Being a part of events like this is not just about giving money, it’s about getting involved with something inspiring that contributes to the wellbeing of people, to the Island. As a business we have recognised that there is a lot more we want to do and developing an ESG strategy has allowed us to consider other areas where we can act and give our support to the community at large.

The social part of our ESG strategy, for example, has seen us develop what we can offer our staff in terms of wellbeing  - mental health training, menopause policy, cycle to work scheme - and also the broader population, particularly given the impact of the pandemic. This has led to our recent support of The Samaritans, for Motiv8, who help those with addictions and their families, and for Isle of Play, who provide opportunities for children to play with others out of doors. Our store on Strand Street is now a designated safe place for victims of domestic abuse where people can seek help and advice.

Under the environmental pillar and in our drive to reduce our carbon footprint, we are aiming to electrify our small fleet and to increase the proportion of renewable energy we use. Already we have a number of electric vehicles in service, we have installed EV charging points at our headquarters for fleet and personal car use and we have launched an incentive scheme for employees to lease electric vehicles. We are actively looking at how we can use our buildings and land to generate electricity through wind or solar.

Earlier this year we became the first ever sponsor of a Manx Wildlife Trust nature reserve, the Cooildarry Nature Reserve, just outside Kirk Michael where we will support the ongoing maintenance and provide Manx Telecom volunteers to help with the groundwork. Nearer home, gardens at our HQ on Isle of Man Business Park are being developed to encourage wildlife.

Using an ESG framework enables us to work towards providing our services in the most efficient way possible and to think about where we can create social value for our community. In a nutshell, it enhances the value of our business not only to our shareholders, but to our customers, our people and our Island.

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