Green Office Week
Published: 6th May 2011 in Ethical Business
Did you know that next week is Green Office Week? Well, we would advocate making moves for a greener office all year round but this a good time to think about how to save energy, reduce waste and purchase greener products.
The organisers of GOW are encouraging businesses up and down the UK to take action in their offices, tackling a different area each day of the week.
Here at Make Hay & Green Hosting there are various things we do to try to make our office greener. We're always learning and looking to improve but here's a run down of GOWs suggestions and the things we do in those areas:
GOW say 'Act on Energy - Encourage measures to reduce energy consumption in your company'.
What we do - First of all, we use a renewable (wind powered) electricity provider to power our office, we're not using a fossil fuel source. We don't want to waste that wind power though, so we only switch on equipment that we're using. At the end of the working day computers, lights, laptops and printers are switched off and have a well-earned rest. Where we can we try to buy energy efficient IT components, such as 'green' storage hard drives and we always use low-energy light bulbs. Our websites are also powered by the wind because our hosting servers use renewable energy too. We provide this green website hosting service to our clients, as you may already know!
GOW say 'Act on Transport - Encourage measures to reduce your company's environmental impact through travel'.
What we do - We're very lucky that our business doesn't require lots of travel. Our office is home-based, so there is no daily commute, polluting the city and we can liaise with our clients most of the time via e-mail, telephone and other methods online. Sometimes we do need to meet up with clients face to face and we will use both public and private transport to do this. If we're heading to London for example then we'll use the train but for clients in more remote places we'll drive. To help counter some of the impact of our car use we use a green motor insurance company who offsets 100% of our carbon emissions through forestry projects throughout the UK.
GOW say 'Act on Waste - Encourage the 3Rs: reduce/reuse/recycle and benefit from the cost-reductions'.
What we do - Due to the nature of our work, which is carried out digitally for the most part, we do not need to buy much materials and really have minimum waste moving through the office. However, we try to re-use or recycle office resources as much as we can. Non-confidential paperwork is either re-used to make notepads or recycled. Confidential paperwork is shredded and recycled but sometimes composted. Non usable electrical items are taken to our local e-waste recycling centre and printer ink cartridges are also recycled via charities such as Age UK. Tea bags and coffee grinds from staff drinks are composted too.
GOW say 'Act on Purchasing - Encourage a review of purchasing habits and switching to eco-friendly office products'.
What we do - We use the Green Stationery Company to buy recycled office products such as pens, folders, paper etc. Publicity materials are printed on FSC certified paper with vegetable based inks. The printer we use partners with a carbon offsetting project in the UK to plant a tree for every order we make. For computer equipment we try to purchase low-energy products as much as possible and from companies with positive eco-credentials and we look to accreditation organisations like Gooshing to find out about this. We recognise though that this is probably the trickiest part of the office to green-up as no IT supplier is perfect and we need to make sure we have secure and reliable equipment to provide a good service to our clients.
Consideration of the supply chain goes both ways for us as we also have an ethical policy which outlines the types of organisations we will and won't supply our services to.
GOW say 'Act on Opportunity - Everyone that took part got that Friday feeling by sharing their successes with colleagues, the media and others involved in GOW. It was a celebration of UK officers being greener.'
What we'll do - We'll be running a special competition all week, in which one lucky business can win Green Hosting for their website for a whole year! Watch this space on Monday for more details.