Maintel has many customers in the financial and public sectors, which added a further layer of complexity, as they have their own stringent regulations. The company opted for a full materiality assessment across the board, investors, customers, employees and the local community to find out what was important to all stakeholders. Then they made a thorough analysis of current and upcoming legislation and guidance, from SBTI to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
“When we did our materiality assessment, we decided to align to the UN SDGs and within those, carbon disclosure and getting to net-zero were important. Also assisting the local community and getting work/life balance right for employees,” says Ballard.
“Specific projects we run include our volunteer policy, which allows employees to choose good causes to give their time to and take part in company-sponsored events. We also started planting a forest last October. By December, we had 150 trees in total. Now, when customers move from on-premise into the cloud, we plant a certain number of trees. As of end-April, we have 2,985 trees in our forest, from those customers and what employees have gifted.”
The forest is another of those small steps. While young trees don’t sequester much carbon, so they’re not necessarily a strong contender for carbon offsetting, it’s an initiative that has won hearts and minds among employees and customers.
“If every company does something small like this, we make huge inroads into what could be a very bleak future if we carry on along the same trajectory where the environment is concerned,” says Ballard. “And it creates employment, in the planting, nurturing and harvesting of those trees.”
Maintel’s £26m sustainability-linked loan (SLL) from HSBC UK will refinance existing debt while also supporting the company’s various ESG projects and ambitious green targets.
Commenting on the SLL, Ioan MacRae, CEO at Maintel, said: “As a business with an eye on the future, it’s really important that our partners and the decisions we take across the company contribute to society and the environment in a meaningful way.
“The SLL gives us a real opportunity to invest in the right decisions for our business as a technology company, while staying ambitious on our ESG journey. We are delighted to be working with HSBC UK to help us make both those things happen.”
HSBC has committed to providing between $750bn to $1trn of sustainable financing and investment globally by 2030, and this deal marks the development of what the bank sees as an emerging trend toward sustainable financing in the technology sector.