Last year we signed up to 10:10 with the aim of cutting our carbon emissions by 10% over the course of a year – a target reduction of 45 tonnes of CO2.
How did we do?
ENERGY USE: Running and maintaining our London office creates more carbon emissions than any other part of our business. We’ve always striven for good office practice – such as the recycling of paper and computer equipment and avoiding unnecessary printing in the first place. We already use energy-efficient lighting throughout the office. We use both Paper Round and Manga-Fu Ltd. In 2009, our paper recycling alone saved the equivalent of 73 trees and 6,500kg of CO2.
In 2010 we went much further. We focused on the power use in our office and launched a programme inspired by the Carbon Trust’s Action Plan that dramatically improved the energy efficiency of our office environment. Electricity use in our London office is already down by well over 10%.
However, the initiative doesn’t stop with the New Year. Our team of designated Green Champions are responsible for implementing and enforcing the programme in 2011 and beyond.
- Smart metering means we can track and measure how our energy usage fluctuates on a half-hourly basis: this allows us to identify what is causing our energy spikes and when they happen
- We have installed thermometers throughout the office to regulate temperature consistency: only our Green Champions can adjust thermostats – efficient monitoring will mean we can avoid air-conditioning and use the fan system to circulate cold and hot air where it is most needed
- We are installing reflective window film: this will filter out 99% of UV rays and 77% of solar energy and reduce ambient temperature fluctuations
- Efficiency schemes are worthless if our staff don’t follow them: we have been carrying out training sessions to involve staff and increase awareness of issues such as the importance of turning off computers and monitors; and we have put up better labelling of light switches and better instructions on thermostats
TRAVEL: As a global company with offices in 5 countries and 2 continents, a certain amount of travel is inevitable. In fact, in 2009 we clocked up 100,000 km on the road and 1,000,000 km in the air. They’re figures that we really want to bring down.
Face-to-face meetings for clients and for our staff are invaluable – but we’ll try to minimise them. It’s a particular challenge for our German sales team, who have to travel more widely than their British colleagues.
- We’re investing in technology such as company-wide video conferencing
- We have a company policy of using public transport wherever possible. Choose the train over the car; choose trams, buses and subway over taxis; choose the bike over public transport
- We’ve signed up to Deutsche Bahn Carsharing in Germany for meetings outside of cities – this lets us travel by train for more of the journey
- And if we do have to travel, we aim to hold several meetings at our destination in one day to avoid repeat visits. Where possible, follow-up meetings will be done by telephone
However, despite these very real changes, overall as a company we did not reduce our carbon emissions by as much as we had hoped. The main reason for this was the further expansion of our Indian office: a 30% increase in the number of employees led our electricity consumption there to rise by a similar amount. While we are proud of how far we have come, we still have a long way to go.