In business circles, it is hard to avoid talk of sustainability and its associated issues. There can be few people who do not accept the importance of working in an ever more sustainable way. Despite this, most businesses have yet to embrace fully new sustainable ways of working. Leading the way, Acquarius in Gibraltar is working hard to change that perception.

For some time, Acquarius management have been determined to promote the sustainability agenda not just among their own people but externally around the Rock and beyond. They have appointed a sustainability champion for the office and are developing a range of well thought out ideas and initiatives.

 Sustainability & Environmentalism

It is too easy to conflate sustainability with environmentalism, as close links exist between the two. It is important to understand the difference between the ideas as sustainability goes way beyond environmental issues.

Sustainability follows a holistic approach that encompasses a wide range of separate but interlinked disciplines and may be defined thus: “Sustainability is the practice of operating a business in a way that meets the economic, social and environmental needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

Environmentalism considers the protection and preservation of the environment and is a crucial facet of the broader sustainability spectrum and Acquarius’ efforts encompass environmental responsibility. By fostering a supportive workplace culture this contributes positively to the community and economy.

The Acquarius Way

Acquarius management established a working group to deal initially with the environmental aspects. They recognised the need to develop skills and experience that encompassed other sustainability facets, including economic, social and general wellbeing.

‍Acquarius decided early on not to jump in recklessly but instead to take smaller, measured steps in a clear, reasoned way. The firm appointed client accountant Camille Benerzah as its in house sustainability champion. Camille’s focus is to set a positive example in Gibraltar for others to follow.

Key sustainability initiatives planned for this year include determined efforts to reduce Acquarius’ carbon footprint. The firm is exploring ways to do this including eco-friendly commuting, energy-efficient practices, and waste recycling.


Camille sets out different key areas in a monthly staff newssheet. Recent examples include providing practical tips on more sustainable wrapping materials at Christmas, the proper way to dispose of vape pens and the provision of green battery recycling boxes.

Acquarius’ key focus is to concentrate on energy and water use, and commuting. The firm has implemented several new ideas including improved air conditioning efficiency, the installation of eco-lighting and new technology options aimed at reducing energy consumption overall.

Where possible, Acquarius aims to purchase sustainably produced goods and services, an example being optimal ink use on stationery products.  Suppliers are asked to exhibit any green credentials including the extent to which they operate their own businesses sustainably.

Frequently, commuting to work is cited as being non-sustainable. Acquarius employees have been encouraged by several initiatives including step challenges and the availability of discounts offered by e-transport and bicycle providers.

Looking into 2024

Acquarius plans to extend its sustainability efforts beyond the office by participating in local community projects. Volunteering contributes positively in so many ways; a forthcoming project will see staff members helping to “clean up Gibraltar”. The firm will organise a “clean the seabed" day later in the summer. The aim is to create a workplace that fosters health, happiness, and a sense of community through team-building activities.

Sustainability is not, of course a “one company initiative” and Acquarius is keen to collaborate with other Gibraltar businesses. The firm has already initiated discussions with the Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Prof. John Cortes’ office, which has been most encouraging.  

Acquarius have turned to Deloitte with whom they have collaborated in the past on a number of occasions. They have also entered into discussion with Sovereign – a financial services group based in over twenty offices worldwide. The latter’s involvement demonstrates that embracing sustainability is by no means just for short term commercial benefit still less to “get one over on the competition”. Rather these key issues affect everyone and Acquarius is encouraging more firms in Gibraltar’s financial sector to participate.

Acquarius is keen to participate in sustainability fora and recognises that management and staff need to remain competent on the issues, which will include relevant and topical continuous professional development.

In acknowledging that this is a learning journey, Acquarius COO Gareth Cross said, “I am delighted that other businesses have already committed to collaborate with us. We hope that many others will learn about the initiative and join in”. It is important that the journey is not embarked upon for competitive advantage – although admits Gareth “if that is a by-product for the firms who get involved, then I for one am not going to turn it down”. He went on to explain that the advantage is for Gibraltar itself, as it becomes known as a jurisdiction at the forefront of sustainability.

Over time, Acquarius’ ultimate goal is to develop a net negative carbon footprint and a suggestion is that Gibraltar considers issuing certificates for businesses that become “carbon neutral companies”. Gareth speculates that this may prompt some friendly competition amongst small and medium enterprises in Gibraltar.

Camille stresses that the overall initiative has a serious purpose. It is by no means just another corporate “nice to have”. Climate change is already wreaking havoc in several places worldwide today. The more we can head voluntarily to carbon neutrality now, the better for all of us. Setting a series of standards aiming to improve sustainability is beneficial for all. It is good for Acquarius and the staff – and aids the recruitment of further high-quality talent to the business. It is also vital for Gibraltar itself, hence the importance of governmental involvement.

 Let's Connect

‍Acquarius is determined that 2024 will witness key developments in sustainability initiatives both within the firm and externally. Management and staff are committed to the cause, and anyone interested in joining the debate is invited to contact Camille Benerzah or Gareth Cross by interacting through Acquarius’ social media channels.

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