At Novia we’re committed to minimising our environmental impact in all areas. There are already many steps that we’ve taken to this end.
Novia has always carefully considered its position as a company and employer in Bath. We're committed to the protection of the environment and aim to minimise the impact of our business activities by applying effective environmental management initiatives. Our management reviews for environmental impact are part of decision-making processes and we strive to improve performance factors by minimising waste and maximising recycling wherever possible.
As a company we have been largely paperless since inception and are fortunate to have the technology in place to reduce the environmental burden of paper. All documentation is provided online by default. In other words, if clients wish to receive their documents on paper, they will need to actively opt for this. This saves around three million sheets of paper each year.
We do everything we can to minimise paper production, but because we can't always control how we receive documentation at our office, we optimise our secure recycling capabilities once the paper journey is complete. All desk paper bins have been removed and replaced with central recycling units. These measures led to a three-fold increase in our recycling within the first 12 months since implementation. Just during 2019/2020 alone, our paper recycling efforts indicate the following statics (using data from Shredit, our confidential waste contractor):
Keep Cup campaign
In 2019 we were delighted to start our Keep Cup campaign. Being based in the centre of Bath, we are lucky to be surrounded by so many coffee shops. With everyone becoming increasingly aware of the problems of plastic take away cups, we decided to give all our staff a Novia branded Keep Cup. Staff were thrilled to have their own branded and reusable cups, and with Keep Cup being one of the favourite providers of re-usable coffee cups, staff felt an extra incentive to make use of them. Their use can also allow a cost saving as a number of the large coffee chains offer a discount to those bringing their own cup.
The campaign was very successful with staff so we decided to do the same with reusable branded water bottles, which have proved particularly handy for exercise sessions as well as the workplace.
Our electricity supplier, Opus, provides energy from 100% renewable resources. In addition, around 10% of the energy needs for our offices comes from the solar panels on our building. We have replaced all lighting with LED lights to save energy. For anyone brewing a cup of coffee in the office, there is no need to use an energy hungry kettle; boiling water is available via an energy saving tap from a heat-conserving insulated tank.
At Novia we have always made the commitment not only to help maintain the development and welfare of our staff, but also to do what we can to help those in the wider community. We have a history of supporting local charities and have done a lot of work with the Bath Rugby Foundation who help young people in and around Bath. In 2018, then Novia CEO Bill Vasilieff decided that he wanted the company to be better equipped to give back to the community, not only in time but in resource too. He therefore established the Novia Foundation to support projects and initiatives for the benefit of people in and around the city of Bath, and other parts of the United Kingdom. You can find out more about the Foundation through the website here.
Through the Foundation two of the charities we have supported are West of England Mentoring and Mentoring Plus. Novia has partnered with the charities for a number of years now. Each year a number of employees volunteer to work with students at a chosen school in the area to help build their confidence and introduce them to skills they might need in the work place. The programme is extremely successful and both employees and students have found the process very rewarding.
We take staff health and well-being very seriously. All staff are automatically entitled to private medical insurance upon joining the company. The medical insurance plan is provided by AXA PPP and ensures that staff get quick and easy access to the medical care that they need, allowing them to get well and back to work when they can. The company understands the importance not only of the physical well-being of employees, but of their mental well-being too and the cover provides support for both. In 2019 a number of staff undertook training as mental health first aiders. The company has also looked at initiatives it can take to help employees achieve good mental health. Also in 2019, through an invitation from a company within our office building, staff had the opportunity to attend mindfulness sessions. This was very well received by all those who attended.
Providing products and services in an industry such as Financial Services means that we understand the importance of providing products and services of the highest standard and ethics. As a company we are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and we work hard every day to ensure that we meet their rules and guidelines for client protection and transparency with everything we do.
We have always understood the importance that any company, and particularly those in the Financial Services sector, must place upon good corporate governance. The company, directors and the board have put a solid framework in place to make sure that good governance is embedded throughout the company. We do this with the support of our business advisers who are some of the leading firms in the country. Our auditors are nationally renowned Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC), and our legal advisers are Dentons and Stone King. Dentons are one of the largest full service law firms in the UK and both have been advising in the financial services industry since the introduction of the Financial Services Act in 1986. Stone King, ranked in the UK’s top 200 law firms by The Lawyer and with a leading reputation in the charity sector, has an office local to Novia’s home town of Bath.
The Company Board
The Company Board consists of seven individuals all of whom have a great deal of experience in their own specialities and in business in general. Novia's board is chaired by Mark Winlow, an experienced Independent Non-Executive Director in the financial services sector whose other roles include Ageas and Starling Bank. Our board also includes: Peter Cartwright (non-exec), Robert Massey (non-exec), Ken Fry (independent non-exec), Jane Dale (independent non-exec), Patrick Mill (CEO) and James Slade (CFO).
The Board has responsibility for the overseeing of all day-to-day matters of the company but it has a particular responsibility for reviewing trading performance, resources, standards of conduct, funding, strategy and reporting to shareholders.
The company has two board committees, the Audit and Risk Committee and the Remuneration committee. The Audit and Risk committee is responsible for making recommendations to the Board on the appointment of external auditors, and for keeping under review the external auditors’ independence. The committee is also responsible for reviewing the accounting principles, policies and practices adopted in preparation for the interim and annual financial statements. In addition, the audit and risk committee monitors the framework for internal control and risk with regular reports to the Board. The Board has delegated their authority to the Remuneration committee to approve the Remuneration policy and the remuneration schemes, including those of the executive directors and senior management of the company.
The Board has overall responsibility for the Company and focuses on the strategy and interests of shareholders. The company has an organisational structure with clearly defined responsibilities and lines of accountability and each executive director has been given responsibility for specific aspects of the company’s affairs. The integrity and competence of personnel are ensured through high recruitment standards and subsequent training. The company’s employees are essential for the future prosperity of the business. The company encourages contact and interaction between members of staff at all levels.