Ideas Made Sustainable
10 minute read
Preeti Vadgama profile photo
Preeti Vadgama

“The whole of science, and one is tempted to think the whole of the life of any thinking man, is trying to come to terms with the relationship between yourself and the natural world. Why are you here, and how do you fit in, and what's it all about.” -  Sir David Attenborough

It wouldn’t be enough to think about “going green” simply as an office initiative. Search ‘plastic waste’ on Google and you’ll be met with imagery that’s affecting our entire ecosystem - imagery that makes us realise “going green” is a necessity, not just an initiative.  

A Few Companies Inspiring Sustainable Change

Once upon a time, businesses rarely played a part in protecting the environment - but today you’ll find more than a few companies getting involved. Many companies are planning ecosystems to create products and toolkits and secure what they’ve built whilst preserving nature at the same time, benefiting generations to come. Below are just a few examples.

Adidas

Adidas implemented something as simple as changing the way they construct a product to incorporate alternative materials. Take a look at Adidas Parley to read more about how they are fighting ocean pollution and protecting sea life by using marine plastic to introduce a new type of sportswear.

Tesla

Recognising how the environment is changing allows Tesla to move towards building sustainable transportation. Take a look at their Model 3, and you’ll be able to see the level of research and thought that’s gone into the project before beginning their transition into creating the electric car.

New Belgium Brewery

From their supply chain to their packaging, the New Belgium Brewery question processes first, then incorporate sustainability to their entire beer-making process. The website includes a comprehensive sustainability section, which outlines their dedication to being a Platinum certified Zero Waste Business. Have a look at this nifty visual for readers.

BT

In 2016, BT topped the FTSE 100 list of companies thanks to its sustainability strategy. The telecommunications company is fully committed to the RE100, an initiative which drives businesses to use 100% renewable energy. BT have already achieved an 81% reduction in their net emissions compared to their 1996/97 baseline.

How Ideas Made Is Working Towards a Green Office Space

  • Visit our office and you’ll notice we keep the dress code very casual – it’s part of our culture, but there’s also an environment impact. We don’t have visit the dry cleaners on a regular basis to make sure our formal wear is ready to go.

  • We limit our use of paper in the office by encouraging people to use whiteboards. If we need to come back to the information, we’ll take photographs of the board and upload the information to an Asana board. This also means there is no need for a printer in the office.

  • We’ve introduced recycling to the office, using recyclable cardboard bins rather than plastic bins. We have given these out to other offices in The Artworks as well to in the hopes that they’ll do the same.

  • Transport emissions account for 21% of the UK’s carbon footprint and the UK government plan to cut emissions in the sector by 20% by 2020, looking upon flexible working to help achieve this. Working from home on certain days means less commuting and less carbon footprint. On top of that, at least half of our team cycle to work every day.

  • We are slowly starting to switch out our kitchen products (both cleaning and beverage-based) to include products which are gentler on the environment, good for people and that support fair trade. We’ve also invested in energy efficient lightbulbs for the whole office.

  • Most of us work on laptops which are always switched off in the evenings and we encourage staff to leave screens on standby and turn off monitors after using them. Eco fact: A PC monitor left on overnight can waste enough electricity to laser print over 500 pages!

  • The Artworks hold meetings to discuss community initiatives which our CEO, Andy, attends and reports back on regularly. Plus, to share on-going initiatives, we have created a Slack channel which helps to keep our team aware of everything that’s happening and share ongoing initiatives.

  • We’re currently working towards finding the cleanest route to the office for clients and staff, so we’ll always have the information available for those traveling in for meetings.

Our contributions, however small, all help towards changing some of the astounding global environmental facts below, and more:

  • The amount of trash generated by the UK could fill Britain’s largest lake, Lake Windermere, in just eight months (source)

  • Pollution kills more than 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals every year (source)

  • Junk mail sucks up 28 billion gallons of water during the production process (source)

  • About 56 percent of the trash in the United States is put in landfills. Half of landfill space consists of paper which can be recycled (source)

  • 275,000 tonnes of plastic are used each year in the UK, which equals to 15 million bottles per day (source)

  • Out of China’s 560 million city residents, only 1% breathe air that is considered safe by the European Union (source)

We firmly believe small changes eventually lead to big impacts, which is why we are extending green activities from around the office and into our community. If you’re looking to get involved and starting to think about a green office culture, below are a few websites we find useful and informative:

B Corporations is helping to build a global community of Certified B Corporations. The non-profit helps companies to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance and public transparency. You can verify your business by submitting your ‘green profile’ to them.

Precious Plastic is an open-source community project by Dave Hakkens. This is a great place to learn how to create and run your own local plastic workshop.

Grist is a place to read intelligent climate and environmental news and stories. They cover climate, politics, technology, green living, and innovation in the sector.

TED has a section of videos dedicated to the topic of sustainability. There are some fascinating talks to listen to including this talk by Caleb Harper on the future of farming.

Green Warehouse is where we purchased the cardboard recycling bins for our office.

We plan on updating this post as we go and keeping an open diary of the changes we introduce, so do keep checking in (especially if you are thinking about doing the same). Tweet us @_ideasmade - we'd love to know what your company does to preserve the environment and if you have any trustworthy, helpful resources you think we should include in this post.