We have a relatively low environmental impact as a business, but it’s still vital to us to be as green as we can be. Of course we have a legal obligation to, but we believe that reducing, recycling and reusing is the right thing to do.
Improving our operations
For many years now we’ve been working to improve the way we do things, in particular the amount of waste we send to landfill and reducing our power usage. Our Environment Management System plays a pivotal role in helping us to do this. The framework gives us the ability to understand, describe and control our impacts on the environment, not just making sure we’re compliant with our environmental legal responsibilities but allows us to continually improve our business operations’ efficiency – highlighting areas of concern for us to focus on. Our people have a big part to play too. We encourage everyone to get involved, come up with green ideas we can use at work, and at home too. Without their support it would be difficult to implement many of the successful initiatives we have in place so we can confidently say that we have culture of positive action throughout the business.
Environmental Management (EMS)
We have been on a journey to improve the sustainability of the business over many years now. Early on we realised that in order for us to be ‘greener’ it was crucial to have good environmental management in place. Not only to ensure we were compliant with all environmental legislation, but also because having a structure helps us to plan future improvements.
Our EMS is fully compliant with the ISO 14001 Environmental Standard and provides such a framework. We’re continuously working to improve the system to make sure it’s fully integrated into our day-to-day business processes.
Responsibility for environment
Though overall responsibility for environment sits with our Board, we have a team of specialists from across the business whose role is to develop, action, promote and encourage green initiatives throughout the business.
Environmental Sustainability Operations Team (ESOT)
The team meet regularly to discuss and implement all sorts of green initiatives, focusing on areas that will have the biggest impact.
Local Green champions
Our Local Green champions (LGC’s) are part of a network of enthusiastic volunteers helping to raise environmental awareness at their location base. LGC’s are a communication point for employees and the Green Team Coordinator who reports and developments to the ESOT.
It’s vital that if we want everyone to play their part and we actively promote green initiatives throughout the year through all of our internal communiation channels.
Our energy and waste have the biggest effect on our overall carbon emissions.
The vast majority of our total CO2e emissions come from electricity consumption. Due to the nature of our business, a large number of our buildings need to be powered continually so it’s crucial for us to look for ways to reduce what we use.
Initiatives in place:
- Installing energy meters to monitor and control usage
- Installing more energy efficient equipment
- Focusing cooling on in areas where it’s needed
- Internal campaigns to raise awareness of energy reduction
Travel associated with our business activities contributes towards our overall carbon emissions. So it’s important for us to find ways of reducing mileage and working more efficiently. Technology is key.
Initiatives in place:
- Reducing business travel by using web-based communications system with ‘live meeting’ webcams, audio conferencing and instant messaging
- Constantly looking for ways to operate our fleet more efficiently
Waste, recycling and water
Reducing our carbon emissions and energy are not our only areas of focus, we’re working hard to reduce our water usage, the volume of waste we’re sending to landfill and recycling as much material as we can across the business
Initiatives in place:
- Improve our dry mixed recycling facilities
- Installed water meters to monitor and measure what we use
- All expense advice slips and payslips are available electronically
- Our printing paper uses a high proportion (89%) of recycled material
- Recycling schemes for old equipment, mobile phones, computers, batteries etc.
- Installed multi-function printers at all offices to cut down on print usage
- Monthly in-house campaigns as ways to reduce wasting power
Our business produces many different types of waste which we handle using a series of specialist contractors. Some of our waste, such as fluorescent light tubes, batteries; and toner cartridges are classed as hazardous waste and must be disposed of responsibly. As well as caring about our environment, we must comply with our legal obligations, including:
- Environmental Protection Act
- Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE);
- Hazardous Waste Regulations;
Supporting our suppliers
Though our impacts as a business are relatively low, many of the companies we buy from use large amounts of natural resources and energy to provide us with what we need. Our Environmental Sustainability Policy outlines our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment and we expect that anyone who supplies to us complies with environmental laws and regulations relating to the products and services they sell us. These expectations are also outlined in ‘our Partner and Supplier Code of Conduct’.
Supporting our customers
Many of the products we offer such as collaboration and cloud-based services, help our customers reduce the needs for travel by making their systems and data accessible from any location. Hosting services in the cloud also supports reduced power consumption by removing the need for on-site IT hardware.
New and existing customers know how important it is to be environmentally sustainable. So we work hard to support them in this area, developing sustainability plans that demonstrate how we, our partners and suppliers work together to help them.
One high profile piece of legislation our customers ask us about is the Waste Electrical and Electronic Regulations. We’re members of the 'Valpak Distributer Takeback Scheme' as well as the 'Valpak WEEE Compliance Scheme'. These schemes ensure we're able to support our customers effectively and ensure WEEE is dealt with appropriately.