Our policy documents are updated annually and made available to new joiners as part of initial orientation. As an employee-owned, UK-based group, MSQ has developed a series of corporate policies to guide the operations of our individual agencies. Each of the MSQ agencies has taken specific actions to implement these policies.
MSQ, and all of our agencies, have a commitment to the highest standards of good corporate citizenship. This is manifested by publishing, updating and actively implementing our polices in the areas of:
- People (operating our workplaces)
- Environment (use of consumables)
- Ethics (the way we do business)
We believe having high standards makes good business sense because it helps us to:
- Attract and retain the best people in our agencies.
- Generate new business by being seen as good partners by our clients.
- Improve the efficiency of our operations to reduce costs.
We don’t view being a good corporate citizen as an obligation. We see it as an opportunity. As professionals in marketing communication we recognise we have a responsibility to adopt high standards not only in the way we run our own businesses but in the content and nature of the campaigns we create and manage for our clients.
Corporate Social Responsibility
The purpose of this policy is to set out the values of the organisation in relation to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), with particular emphasis on the environment.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is about how companies conduct their business in an ethical way, taking account of their impact economically, socially, environmentally and in terms of human rights. CSR includes social partners such as local communities, and global responsibilities such as protecting the environment and ensuring good labour standards in overseas suppliers.
Compliance refers to our company’s commitment to legality and willingness to observe community values.
- Respect the law
- Honour its internal policy
- Ensure that all its business operations are legitimate
- Keep every partnership and collaboration open and transparent
We will always conduct business with integrity and respect to human rights. We will promote:
- Safety and fair dealing
- Respect towards the consumer
- Anti-Bribery and anti-corruption practices
Impact on the Environment
The organisation is committed to acting responsibly, and not damaging the environment. All employees are required to take this seriously and:
- Recycle materials wherever possible
- Not print off e-mails unnecessarily
- Consider the ethical stance of suppliers before placing orders
- Dispose of any chemicals responsibly and carefully
- Think about the impact of their actions on the local community
MSQ will ensure that we:
- Do not risk the health and safety of our employees and community
- Avoid harming the lives of local people
- Support diversity and inclusion
Our company is dedicated to protecting human rights. We are a committed equal opportunity employer and will abide by all fair labour practices. We will ensure that our activities do not directly or indirectly violate human rights in any country.
Interactions with the Community
It is important to the organisation to develop good relationships with the community where the organisation operates. Employees are encouraged to become involved in community activities and might (depending on business demands) be allowed some time off to assist in community events. Employees must make every effort not to damage the relationships that the organisation has with the community. We encourage employees to shop locally using independent retailers rather than national chains.
All employees must be introduced to the approach the organisation takes to CSR and the environment during the induction process. The CSR Manager is responsible for ensuring that it has happened, and that employees have understood all aspects of the ethical stance.
All employees should participate in the training session run by the CSR Manager explaining the approach of the organisation to CSR and the environment and how this has an impact on the activities carried out within the organisation.
Interactions with Customers and Suppliers
All interactions with customers and suppliers should follow the ethical stance of the organisation. Any deliberate non-adherence with the ethical stance might result in disciplinary action.
The development of all products and services within the organisation must be carried out within the guidelines set by the ethical stance.
All communications from the organisation must adhere to the ethical stance as set out in this policy.
Diversity and Inclusion
MSQ is fully committed to the elimination of discrimination and values the differences that a diverse workforce brings to the organisation.
We will not discriminate because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. We will not discriminate because of any other irrelevant factor and will build a culture that values, openness, fairness and transparency.
This policy is applicable to all employees, secondees, agency staff, clients, communities, suppliers and contractors, whether permanent or temporary and applies to all processes relating to recruitment, onboarding, training and relationships with customers and clients. It will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to reflect changes in the law, demographics and internal business requirements.
The publication of a diversity policy enables us to send out a strong message of commitment, both internally and externally. It will be brought to life only if it is reinforced by everyone.
In order to do this, we are committed to making a positive long-term change. We have established nine commitments that are publicly available and reinforced to all staff:
- Tracking and sharing our diversity statistics where we have them and collecting the data where we don’t
- Increasing the hiring of under-represented minorities to reflect the population levels in the communities where we work.
- No gender pay gap.
- Increasing ethnic and gender diversity at all levels of our company, especially in leadership roles
- Inclusive culture with equality of opportunity and advancement through fairness and transparency
- Training our people with a focus on anti-bias, allyship, recruitment and initiatives that promote minority, racial and gender equity
- Developing apprentice and fellowship programmes that recruit minority graduates and non-graduates to train with us and build careers with us
- Ensuring the diversity and inclusivity of our work product
- Increasing our involvement in organisations that promote diversity, equity and inclusion, to help boost gender and minority representation in our industry
All employees are responsible for the promotion and advancement of this policy. And it is held to account by a DEI Council, made up of MSQ employees from across the group, and overseen by the MSQ Chairman. Behaviour, actions or words that are not in line with the policy will not be tolerated and should be escalated to the HR team for appropriate action to be taken.
Sustainability and Environmental Policy
General Statement of Policy
The purpose of this policy is to outline MSQ approach to environmental management, demonstrating our commitment to continuously seeking to improve sustainability and environmental performance. MSQ supports a positive environmental culture across all our offices by actively promoting best practice and encourages Board involvement. Indeed, it is our intention to become the first marketing group of our size to be a carbon net negative business.
MSQ recognises that compliance with relevant environmental legislation and approved codes of practice to be the minimum standard.
The education and training of employees in environmental issues and the environmental effects of their activities is fundamental in achieving our targets set out in our internal environmental management system working towards sustainable development.
Policy in Practice
In order to ensure we can measure a positive impact, we have devised a ‘roadmap’ which will measure our commercial footprint in terms of tonnes of C02, by employee and at an absolute level. We became a Carbon Negative business in 2020 and have in place a phased reduction and action plan of efficiencies detailing how we will reduce our footprint further still.
Every employee will be informed and empowered to help achieve our targets, with key working groups formed to ensure this policy is applied across the board.
- Use paper from sustainable sources.
- Double sided printing to be encouraged.
- Avoid hard copies by encouraging clients to receive manuals electronically.
- Cancel junk mail/unwanted publications to reduce amount of waste to be collected.
- Encourage staff not to print out e-mails.
- Ensure fax machines are set so that they do not produce unwanted header or report sheets.
- Reduce confidential waste by ensuring that non-confidential paper collection is secure giving clear instructions to staff which is which.
- Place paper re-cycling bins next to each photocopier.
- Promote the recycling scheme to staff
- Reduce waste generation and maximise the re-use and recycling of waste material in its operations (re-use then recycle).
- Encourage others to minimise and recycle their own waste.
- Ask suppliers to take excess packaging away with them when they deliver.
- Avoid using disposable catering products.
- Hold an annual ‘stationery amnesty’ inviting staff to return unused equipment for re use.
- Review computer supplier/manufacturer refurbishment contracts.
- IT department ensure redundant IT equipment is recycled.
- Flatten cardboard to minimise bulky waste and make best use of the space.
- Special waste disposal procedures required for paint, sanitary waste and fluorescent tubes (lighting).
- Ensure we have ‘duty of care’ documentation from contractor(s) covering all waste collection.
- Re-use will cut both purchase and disposal costs, whereas recycling will only reduce disposal costs.
- Consider purchasing remanufactured toner cartridges (cheaper).
- Support the recycling process by purchasing recycled paper products (paper drinking cups as opposed to plastic).
- Materials for recycling;
- Glass bottles (contact local authority for collection services)
- Aluminium cans (contact local authority for collection services)
- Toner cartridges (return to manufacturer by pre-paid envelope through a specialist remanufacturing company or charity-run scheme).
- Senior management should be committed to recycling.
- Liaise with other tenants to make the collection of recyclables more economical.
- Provide separate bins for cans, and glass (brown, green and clear).
- Arrange for mobile phones and their batteries to be recycled.
- Seek to reduce the unnecessary consumption of water in its buildings.
- To encourage others to reduce the unnecessary use of water.
- Turn off taps fully.
- Fit water displacement devices such as a cistern bag, e.g. ‘hippo’ supplied free of charge by most water companies to reduce the amount of water per flush.
- Seek to increase energy efficiency in its buildings and operations.
- Promote the efficient use of energy.
- Purchase energy centrally and get renewal quotes from existing and alternative suppliers annually.
- Turn off heating/cooling in unoccupied rooms.
- Make sure windows are closed when using heating/air-con.
- Consider installing presence detector lighting controls in meeting rooms, which are not in constant use.
- If a computer has the ‘energy star’ or ‘power save’ feature make sure it is activated; machines are often set up with it disabled.
- Screen savers do not save energy.
- Insist that monitors are switched off when not in use, or staff are away from their desks at meetings or lunch, as screens use twice the energy of PCs.
- To reduce the impact of its car fleet by promoting a sustainable alternative.
- Reducing air travel. Video conferencing technology and appropriate hardware has been installed on all computers. Air travel has to have prior, written approval.
- Staff members are provided with travel cards like Oyster Card, Metro Card and London Bicycle Hire keys as a business expense on client service.
- Assign a senior manage with responsibility for translating our commitment into action.
- Investigate environmentally acceptable alternatives, and whenever practicable, purchase products and services for its own operations that have a minimal impact on the environment.
- Seek to minimise all forms of pollution, including noise, generated through its activities.
- Ensure, so far as is practicable, the working environment is safe and without risk to health and welfare of its employees.
- Maintain high standards of food safety.
Code of Conduct(s)
MSQ and its agencies are in the business of providing creative marketing communications solutions for a wide range of clients. Our ethical policies reflect the nature of our professional services.
We believe good ethical behaviour in a company flows as much from a culture and observed behaviour as it does from specific rules or regulations. In this context, we expect all of our staff to adhere at all times to the statements made below:
• We will attempt to conduct our business in a fashion which is honest, open, in good faith, and free from fraud or deceptive activities.
• We will respect the confidentiality of our clients’ information and all of our actions will be designed to be in the best interest of our clients and their marketing objectives.
• We will not knowingly implement campaigns which contain statements or images which are offensive or which attempt to deceive or mislead. We accept that successful campaigns may often be shocking and even upsetting but we will always attempt to keep on the right side of public decency and factual accuracy.
• We will not offer any form of bribe or inducement in an attempt to gain or retain clients, obtain work or benefits. This will not prevent us offering hospitality to clients and potential clients but this must be of a type and monitory value that is proportionate to normal business practice.
• We will not accept any form of bribe or inducement to undertake actions which are not in the interest of our clients.
• We will ensure that all members of staff are aware of relevant legislation such as the UK Bribery Act and the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and ensure that our culture is one where this legislation is understood and adhered to.
• We will be open and transparent about potential conflicts of interest which might arise from the business activities of the partners and relatives of employees and ensure that these are visible to clients and other interested parties.
Our Supply Chain
The MSQ Partners Group of companies’ primary business is the provision of marketing communication consultancy and services including advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing. The Group has its head office in the UK and has an annual turnover in excess of £100m.
As a service company operating in the UK, with limited production output, our supply chain is very simple. The majority of our work force are permanent employees, and we have a limited number of external suppliers or contractors in our supply process.
Respecting human rights in the supply chain is ultimately our suppliers’ responsibility. However, the limited nature of our supply chain makes it relatively easy to play an active role in supplier development and we have adopted various means to communicate our expectations to our suppliers.
Moreover, slavery and human trafficking is a particular risk in a people-driven supply chain and remains a hidden blight on our global society. We therefore all have a particular responsibility to be alert to the risks, however small, in our business and in the wider supply chain.
Our Policy on Slavery and Human Trafficking
We are committed to ensuring that there is no modern slavery or human trafficking in any part of our business or in our supply chains. This policy reflects our commitment to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business relationships and to implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure slavery and human trafficking is not taking place anywhere in our supply chains.
Staff are expected to report concerns and management are expected to act upon them.
How we Mitigate Risk of Slavery and Human Trafficking
- A commitment to paying the UK Living wage as a minimum
- Labour and employment monitoring and the use of formal payroll systems
- Training and raising awareness of the issue through Director briefings
- Where possible we build long standing relationships with local suppliers and contractors and make clear our expectations of business behaviour including having in place suitable anti-slavery and human trafficking policies
- Assessing risk related to human trafficking and forced labour within our supply base
- Visiting supplier premises to monitor compliance with standards and expectations
- Systems to encourage the reporting of concerns and the protection of whistle blowers
This statement is made pursuant to Section 54, Part 6 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 and sets out the steps the Company has taken to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in our supply chains or in any part of our business.
This statement has been approved by our Board of Directors, who will review and update it as necessary on an annual basis.