Growing accountancy firm becomes climate positive

The fastest-growing accountancy firm in the Accountancy Age Top 100 is rooting for environmental change after joining forces with a global tree-planting and footprint reduction initiative.

Dated: 9 January 2023 Author: Richard McNeilly, Chief Executive

Dains, which has offices across the Midlands, is working to reduce its carbon footprint after joining forces with the innovative sustainability business Play It Green.

Angela Millward, Trees, Birmingham Office

Since signing up for the green scheme in August 2022, Dains has taken measures to understand and lower its net emissions by completing a carbon footprint report, mapped out the long-term net zero plan and sent weekly footprint reduction tips and discounts to all staff to reward, educate and strengthen the positive sustainability culture within the business. Whilst on the journey to net zero Dains wish to make an ongoing environmental and social impact and to date had 17,360 trees planted in a dedicated forest garden and passed vital funds to child bereavement charity Edwards Trust.

These trees support employment and communities in impoverished nations, helping meet ten of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and within six years will absorb 2,676.3 tonnes of CO2 emissions. This is the equivalent of taking 1911 cars off the road, 18,132 people cancelling their short-haul flight, or saving the energy use of 824 homes.

The firm pays Play It Green a monthly fee to plant 13 trees for each member of its growing workforce and benefit from its footprint reductions support. Dains recently embarked on a recruitment drive to add to its nearly 300-strong team and with the recent acquisition of William Duncan + Co will now be nearly 400-strong.

The forest gardens are managed by Eden Reforestation Projects, which fund projects to restore healthy forests for the benefit of local communities in developing countries including Madagascar, Haiti, Nepal, Indonesia, Mozambique, Kenya, Honduras, and Nicaragua.

Play It Green wants businesses to make changes towards a net-zero future by becoming climate positive, while at the same time contributing to the community.

Founders Richard Dickson, one of the entrepreneurs behind Carbon Free Dining, and Chris Thair, a former CEO of Wales Rugby League, believe private companies can make a social impact to help a net-zero future, which is the state at which global warming stops.

Dains has signed up to be a Climate Positive Workforce and says it is working to reduce its carbon footprint while it seeks out help from Play It Green’s network of sustainability experts to do so.

Richard Dickson, Co-Founder of Play It Green said “It’s so exciting to be on this journey with Dains and to see our ideas come to life and change happening.  Dains have embraced this and are eager to look at all the ways they can make a difference to reduce their current carbon footprint and historical one.

We are all imperfect environmentalists, and it is only through the collective efforts of the many that real change will come. We are delighted Dains believe in our three-step solution to climate change of reducing carbon footprints and making an ongoing positive environmental and social impact whilst on the journey to net zero. Our services help Dains build upon the fantastic work already taking place at the company.”

In recent years Dains has adopted a number of green measures at its offices while encouraging staff to make climate positive changes.

Employees have access to affordable electric cars for a fixed monthly payment through a salary sacrifice scheme. Meanwhile, the firm’s IT system has plans in place to cut back on energy use to reduce the firm’s carbon footprint.

“All the trees we are planting can be tracked as they are added to our own forest garden. They replace lost ecosystems, and the trees are monitored and protected with 10 per cent of their cost going to a charity of our choice,” said Dains Head of HR, Angela Millward.

“We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint, so we have partnered with Play It Green to improve our sustainability practices and have a positive impact on the planet. We want to make our business a climate-positive one by rebalancing our historical and company emissions to become carbon neutral.”

Dains’ commitment to environmental action shows that business growth and excellence can go hand in hand with helping build a greener future.

Among the company’s recent acquisitions are Newcastle-under-Lyme chartered accountancy firm Barringtons and Isosceles, a Finance and HR consultancy with staff in London, Sheffield, and Edinburgh.

Along with the acquisition of William Duncan + Co, one of Scotland’s oldest accountancy firms with offices in Glasgow, Ayr and Kilmarnock. 

Dains has bases at Birmingham, Derby, Burton-on-Trent, Stoke and Lichfield.

The firm has also won recognition for its excellence when featuring in Accountancy Age’s new measure of success, the Mid-Tier Power Index (MTPI) 2022. That focuses on firms’ successes with strategic planning, profitability, and growth as well as professional excellence and commitment to people and the community.

For more on the firm’s recruitment drive and climate positive mission go to

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