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Ethics policy


We’re committed in all our activities to be a sustainable, diverse and inclusive organisation, driven by ethical principles and our values. We’re independent and impartial.

This policy details our ethical principles and our commitments to embed these in our activities. It influences other policies governing how we work and aims to aid decision making.

This policy is endorsed by the senior leadership team and ultimate responsibility for its implementation lies with the chief executive.

Ethical principles

Energy Saving Trust exists to address the climate emergency. We provide leadership and expertise to deliver our vision of a zero carbon society. To deliver our vision we:

  • empower millions of householders every year to make better energy choices.
  • deliver transformative energy programmes working with governments.
  • support businesses with energy efficiency strategies, research, assurance and communications, enabling them to transition towards a net zero future.

This policy covers the ethical principles we set and uphold for ourselves and for those we work with as partners, collaborators and funders. It aims to ensure that we do not compromise our mission or values when working with others.

In delivery of our policy commitments, we’ll be pragmatic and realistic: we recognise that in some cases there will be conflicting demands or dilemmas, and a need to balance many differing aspects (for example, financial, ethical, environmental and reputational).

We expect organisations that we work with to:

  • respect and comply with the detail and the spirit of this ethics policy wherever possible.
  • be clear where this is not possible so that we can act with integrity in our decision making.

The principles we set ourselves are at least as high, and usually higher, than the standards we expect of others. In our engagement with third parties we’ll seek to strike a balance between negative and positive actions: in some cases our response to an ethical issue will be “negative” i.e. we will not work with/buy from/invest in an organisation.

In other cases, we may determine that we can exert a “positive” influence on such an organisation, therefore we may work with them to seek to influence a change in behaviour or policy on a specific area. This will only be where it can be clearly demonstrated that there is genuine senior leadership commitment.

We also recognise that here may be occasions where the strategic value for our mission of working with an organisation may outweigh areas in which they fall below our normal ethical requirements. In any such cases we will be transparent in the reasons for any decision to work with them.

We also note that we will not work or be associated with any organisation that denies anthropogenic climate change.

Our ethical commitments

We will:

  • contribute positively to reduce carbon emissions in all our activities and report on our progress in our annual impact report.
  • have clear internal policies outlining our commitment to employee health and safety, diversity and inclusion, support and wellbeing.
  • manage our own environmental performance to an externally recognised standard, continually improving upon our material areas of impact.
  • assess organisations we are working with, or are considering working with, against this ethics policy.
  • work with organisations to influence a change in behaviour or policy around issues of ethical concern linked to our objectives, only if there is a genuine intent and motivation to reach our standards.
  • use our ethical principles to define our approach when undertaking and commissioning research.
  • optimise financial sustainability (including in investment decisions, procurement decisions, corporate partnerships, and influencing), without compromising our social or environmental values.
  • constantly challenge our own performance on diversity and inclusion and take active steps to reflect and represent wider society in our governance and decision-making.
  • review our ethics policy at least annually to ensure they reflect our areas of greatest concern.

Delivering our ethical commitments

Our ethical commitments will be considered in our appraisal of our own activities and of those of whom we work with.

We will consider how a potential collaborator aligns with our mission, for example: 

  • Are they having a positive impact on the climate emergency and is this quantifiable?
  • Do they or their parent company have clear policy statements and a strategy to address their impact on the climate emergency?
  • Are they perceived positively as contributing to solutions to address the climate emergency?

We also expect collaborators to share our commitments to people and comply with the Equality Act aligning with our values in areas including the following:

  • human rights
  • anti-slavery regulation 
  • diversity and inclusion
  • social value

This list is not exhaustive, and we recognise that each potential partner will present a unique set of parameters and policies across all the areas listed above and so each situation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Using this policy

This policy is designed to provide guidance for decision making. To comply with the policy decisions, the appropriate level of due diligence should be taken.

We recognise that we do not have the resources to conduct in-depth investigations of a wide variety of organisations that we work with and that due diligence will be required to a greater or lesser degree depending on the nature of the the organisation being assessed.

However, as a guide, we should conduct checks for all organisations where we are contemplating a significant engagement, including but not limited to:

  • purchases over £25K
  • sales or funding over £25K
  • organisations with whom we are contemplating partnership, joint ventures, consortia or major sub-contracts
  • co-branded projects

For these checks we’ll normally:

  • ask for copies of their net zero, fair work and social value policy statements.
  • check their most recent set of published accounts, if available, including statements on organisational purpose and social value etc.
  • do a search for – and evaluate – any media coverage within the last year.

In cases where due diligence has previously been carried out on an organisation, it doesn’t need to be repeated unless more than 12 months have passed since the last check.

Final decision making is held within the senior leadership team which also holds accountability. Ultimately the chief executive should be consulted as owner of this policy.

Date approved: 23 May 2024

Last updated: 10 July 2024