Four pillars of sustainability

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all 193 UN Member States in September 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The Sustainable Development Goals comprise 17 goals, such as the elimination of poverty and hunger, fighting climate change, supporting decent work conditions, and creating sustainable cities and communities, and 169 targets. 

Fulfilling these ambitions will take an unprecedented effort by all sectors in society and we all have an important role in the process. As part of our commitment, we are aligning our business strategies and vision with the Sustainable Development Goals and Targets, driving change, developing partnerships and implementing best reporting practices.


  • By providing policies and management systems based on environmental best practices, we ensure active prevention and limitation of potential impacts on climate change and the environment caused by our operations. 
  • We have signed up to the United Nation’s Race to Zero and made a commitment to the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to reduce our carbon emissions by setting science-based targets. 
  • We are moving to renewable energy where possible, and optimising LED and motion lighting in offices to improve energy efficiency. 
  • We have a Green Agenda pillar with an associated section on the intranet dedicated to environmental issues.  We also hold awareness days and include articles of interest in our Group-wide newsletter to increase the understanding of climate change, what we can and are doing to mitigate risks, and reduce its impact on our colleagues and operations. 
  • We have established employee-led environment teams to suggest and action local initiatives to improve the environment. 
  • RWS is an office-based business services operation and has little exposure to harmful and hazardous materials. Nevertheless, we have defined strict controls to manage, handle, store and dispose of harmful and hazardous substances to minimise the environmental release-risks according to local guidelines and regulations. 
  • We deliver services in a manner which does not compromise the environmental impact of our clients’ operations in the communities where they operate.
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Our people

  • We foster working conditions which support effective health and safety programmes, non-discrimination principles as well as human and labour rights. 
  • Health and safety for our employees is extremely important and our operations are therefore reviewed and monitored regularly; RWS is committed at the highest level to a robust health and safety policy at the highest level. 
  • Following the Covid-19 pandemic, we have adopted a hybrid working model for our colleagues. The Executive Team and Senior Leadership Team are in regular communication with employees globally, both through virtual meetings and through an enhanced group intranet which has provided information and advice on how to cope with working from home to ensure the mental and physical well-being of our teams. 
  • We provide an environment that allows good career and professional development opportunities and enables all RWS colleagues to fulfil their potential, therefore allowing the Group to retain and attract highly talented professionals. 
  • We foster diversity among our teams based on the Group’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion policy. 
  • We train our professionals to improve existing skills and develop new capacities. We create a working environment for colleagues that nurtures innovation and provides the resources to facilitate this.
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Our communities

  • As a socially responsible company, we are an active and positive participant in local matters in the communities in which we operate. 
  • A risk to RWS is the future availability of linguists. We have taken steps to encourage young people to study languages and consider a career in the language profession. In this way we hope to be able to help in the growth and development of tomorrow’s industry leading translators. 
  • Our corporate sponsorship is in line with the Group’s Charitable Giving, Sponsorship and Collections Policy and is aimed towards promoting the learning of languages by young people from non-privileged backgrounds. 
  • We have renamed the SDL Foundation the RWS Foundation and we are in the process of consolidating all of our philanthropic initiatives. 
  • We focus our business through a client-oriented strategy based on close communication enabling us to understand and foresee our clients’ needs and fulfil their expectations, supported by our network of suppliers. 
  • We enable a better, healthier, more connected society as language plays a critical element in helping our clients find life-saving drugs and equipment as well as communicate with their clients.
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Strong governance

  • RWS complies with the QCA Corporate Governance Code and has established a set of corporate rules, policies and processes that define our current corporate governance model and ensure our long-term vision is seen through the lens of excellent governance.  
  • We have developed a Group-wide Code of Conduct with associated mandatory training. Our commitment to business ethics is managed by the Board through the CEO and the CFO to ensure ethical behaviour is integrated across all our teams and geographies through our Code of Conduct and associated policies, which are all available on the Group’s intranet.  
  • We ensure disclosure and promote observance of our Code of Conduct across all divisions, suppliers and contractors.  
  • RWS has a zero tolerance against corruption policy, and therefore we require suppliers and partners to observe professional and honest business practices. (Aligned to the UK’s Bribery Act 2010). 
  • We maintain our reputation as a trusted business partner through continual improvement of our services and business management through ethics, innovation, safety and environmentally sympathetic conduct, and the implementation of high-quality procedures across all teams and geographies.  
  • We develop our own investor relations strategy that aims to ensure compliance with legal and market practice responsibilities.  
  • We maintain clear communication channels with stakeholders and potential stakeholders to provide quick and effective responses to their requirements.
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