A fast-growing financial advisory firm from Flintshire that specialises in ethical investments has won a top environmental award.

Mold-based Celtic Financial Planning won the micro business award at the inaugural Net Zero Leaders’ Awards for their eco-friendly approach.

The awards were organised by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Business Council as part of their Net Zero 2021 online conference which was designed to encourage private sector and not-for-profit organisations across the Wirral, Cheshire and North Wales to reduce their carbon footprint.

The other winners were the Rhug Estate in Corwen who scooped the prize in the medium to large business category and Anglesey Sea Zoo who were crowned in the small business category.

The awards were presented by the Business Council’s Commercial Director, Ashley Rogers.

According to Rob Lewis, the co-founder of Celtic Financial Planning, being committed to tackling climate change has been at the heart of everything they do.

The firm’s decision to specialise in ethical investments has seen it grow spectacularly by 733 per cent since it was established in 2018.

A year later they moved to larger premises on the Bromfield Industrial Estate where the insulation and LED lighting have helped reduce heating costs by 60 per cent and electrical costs by 40 per cent.

There are now plans for a dozen solar panels on the roof and an electric car charge point outside.

Even before Covid, staff were encouraged to work from home and this has reduced travelling costs by half and in future they are planning to continue holding 70 per cent of their meetings online.

Celtic are founding members of Mold’s Plastic Free campaign and for every new client they take on, they plant British native trees to offset their carbon footprint.

Rob said: “We’re massively excited and chuffed to win the Net Zero Leaders’ Award.

“For us it’s a big tick when it comes to recognition because we have worked really hard from the beginning to make sure that our corporate social responsibility mandate takes care of factors like climate change, being net-zero and just being positive to local community environment as a whole.

“I think it stems back from a personal view of the world that we should be doing more to tackle climate change.  I think it’s no longer a ‘nice to have’.  I think it’s essential that businesses take care and do business in a greener way. It’s just in our DNA.

“This approach is the golden thread running through everything we do, from looking at our paper usage to the investment funds that we pick for our clients, to how we operate as a business in the processes we have.

“It’s integral to everything, from the milk deliveries that we get from the local dairy where we reuse the glass bottles, all the way up to using recycled paper.

“The next thing is electric charger points for visitors and then we’re looking to get a couple of electric cars for staff to use to be able to see clients and nip out if we need to.”

According to Ashley Rogers, all the winners were great role models for businesses in North Wales and beyond.

He said: “By leading the way on net zero, you’ll have a commercial advantage right now, and the flip side is that companies that don’t operate sustainably will find it increasingly hard if not impossible to compete because of demands from business customers and consumers for low carbon alternatives.

“Also, because many governments across the world now have legally binding net zero targets, there will be extra burdens on carbon heavy businesses of all types through international and domestic carbon taxes.

“Far better to get on board now, and get ahead of the game in the race to Net Zero.”