In light of D&G's commitment to all things sustainability, we decided to chat to our Sustainability Intern, who has been helping to improve our Environmental Social & Governance (ESG) credentials as a business. Owain discusses what he's been up to during his internship and what's on the horizon.

What brought you to D&G?

I had just finished my degree in Geography at the University of Newcastle and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do in my career yet. I came across this new sustainability internship and thought it would be a great place to start.

Tell us a bit about the work you’ve done during your internship?

At D&G  we’ve been preparing to set science based, emission reduction targets later in the year as part of a wider effort to improve our ESG performance. A lot goes into getting to that stage, though.

As a team, we need to gather all the relevant data from all of our sites (globally) to create a baseline score. I’ve essentially been communicating with the Facilities teams across every region to collect this information – which has been much trickier than I anticipated!

We also have an accreditation from Ecovadis, and we’re trying to get from a bronze medal to a silver medal. So, I’ve been helping with the processes you go through to achieve that.

Similarly, I’ve been learning lots about the UN Global Compact, which is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. I helped develop the questionnaire that we are required to submit every year to be a member.

I was also given the opportunity to focus on developing a sustainability calendar. I’ve been working with the Brand and Creative teams to release sustainability-related content that I think is relevant and important to D&G. I headed up the content for our Earth Day activities (internally and externally), and I’m working on some content for events that will roll out after I leave.

What does a typical week look like for you?

We start each week with a team huddle, where we go through the plan for that week, establish our priorities and goals, and agree deadlines.  

I’m lucky enough to be part of the Sustainability Tribe, made up of people across multiple departments, and we meet twice a week to monitor progress in key areas. It’s still in its infancy, so we’ve been discussing and developing objectives and key results (OKRs) going forward.

Sometimes we’ll have an ‘All In’ day midweek, which gets everyone into the office. They're really fun as there’s always some sort of activity or event planned.

I generally have Fridays off, as D&G has allowed me to carry on my work volunteering with Fairtrade once a week.

What's been the hardest part of your work?

The research has definitely been the most time-consuming activity.

Collecting data from each part of such a big company is a complicated task, and it’s been a challenge navigating the different regulations specific to each country. You’re also reliant on lots of other people to provide information and services before you can move forward.

What’s the most exciting thing about D&G’s sustainability goals?

We’ve been working really hard towards earning our silver medal from Ecovadis — which is all about trying to make big decisions that positively affect the environment.

Conversations about how we could run the business without emitting greenhouse gases are important to our progress — and reducing our environmental impact.

What's been the most valuable thing about your internship so far?

The longer I’ve worked here, the more I’ve learned about the challenges you can face in a big company. When something huge needs to be achieved, you really appreciate the importance of preparation and advance planning.

What have you enjoyed most during your time at D&G?

The company culture. It’s genuinely a nice place to be. The people are really friendly, so the office environment is great.

Also, having the freedom to explore how other teams across the Marketing Department operate. I was able to collaborate with Brand and Creative, which was an excellent learning experience.

What most surprised you about D&G?

Well, I think insurance companies have this stigma around them that they’re boring. And when you first think of domestic appliances, that could fit the description. But luckily, I’ve found the people here are great fun, you can get involved in some very interesting work — and D&G has real character.

About the author

Elissa Wilson

Elissa is part of the Digital Marketing team here at Domestic and General.

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