Netflix has become my main evening activity for the past year. One of my favourite documentaries of 2020 was David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet. As Sir Attenborough spoke about the impact humans have had on the planet, I started to think about the impact this pandemic has had on our environment. Rather, the reduced impact it may have had. 

Like many others, working from home has saved me hours of commute time. In the old world, I would’ve spent a couple of hours a day on the motorway to and from the farm. 

Since hindsight is the best teacher, I started to think about what we, as an organisation, could do differently to reduce our environmental cost during lockdown and well into whatever the future has in store.

WHY SHOULD WE RESPECT THE ENVIRONMENT?

The environment plays a very important role in the existence of life on our planet. Life comes in many different forms but they all rely on the environment for food, air, water and other needs. Without protecting and taking care of the environment we are putting so many lives at risk including animals, plants, crops and even our own.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF RESPECTING THE ENVIRONMENT?

Reducing energy consumption, minimising waste, using raw materials more efficiently and preventing pollution can:

  • cut costs and improve efficiency
  • reduce risks and ensure you are complying with the law
  • boost your reputation among customers, suppliers, investors and the local community
  • increase employee morale, making it easier to attract, keep and motivate staff
  • increase business opportunities by meeting customer demand for sustainable business practice

WHAT CAN YOU DO TO REDUCE YOUR BUSINESS’ IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT?

There are many ‘quick wins’ that a business or an individual can take to reduce their impact. I have listed a few tips below 

  • Involve your staff – employees’ ideas often result in savings of 5 to 10%.
  • Control your heating – reduce the temperature in your premises by one degree and save up to 8% on energy bills each year. For optimum productivity set the temperature at 21-22°C. Set air conditioning to only come on above 24°C. Set timers so that heating only comes on when the building is in use.
  • Use low energy lighting. Turn on only the lights that are needed. Install sensors to turn lights on and off automatically. 
  • Switch off office equipment – a single computer and monitor left on 24 hours a day can cost over £50 a year, so turn off computers, printers and all other electrical equipment at night and over the weekend.
  • Maintain your equipment – and make sure it is operating efficiently.
  • Measure your savings – make sure you read your meters regularly, so you can find out how your company is using energy and where it’s being wasted.

WHAT DO WE DO TO REDUCE OUR IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT?

We have created an Environmental Policy, including the ideas discussed above, and we’re working our way towards certification as a B Corp (read our B Corp article here) . We have an electronic copy of our Environmental Policy stored on our cloud so all colleagues have access to the policy at all times. We review this policy at least once a year as a team and encourage all our colleagues to bring new and innovative ideas to reduce our environmental impact. 

Not all ideas have to be big innovations. In our office in Exeter, a suggestion was made by a colleague to supply a compost/food bin in the kitchen. Previously the only waste food bin was outside in the cold and rain, so by adding a bin in the kitchen we have seen an increase in compostable waste. Every little helps!

SQ are not just looking to make small improvements. Our CEO Tim Maguire has pledged to install solar panels, ground source heat pumps and grey water harvesting systems to our office on the farm within 12 to 24 months. 

Ant Pumfrey profile picture
Antony Pumfrey
Operations Manager, Spatial Quotient