Sustainability and Commitment to become a Carbon Zero Business
The launch of the GENEO Carbon Zero initiative coincided with the declaration of a climate crisis by the national government and many local councils, including our own, Warwick District Council.
Recognising our own desire and our social responsibility to become more sustainable and stop contributing to increases in CO2 emissions, directors, Mark Radley and Tim King, decided to create the GENEO Carbon Zero initiative, a holistic programme for sustainability, headed by our Sustainability Project Manager, Jo Harper.
GENEO Zero Initiative: 5-year strategy
As you would expect from a consultancy, we got together and brainstormed ideas, ranging from small, easy changes to major projects for the future, but all contributing to improving our sustainability or supporting local biodiversity. Whilst we occasionally fought over who should be holding the pen, we were all aligned in our thinking, with a firm commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and helping nature and the environment. Thus, we put together a 5-year plan to reduce our net carbon emissions to zero by 2024.
The Covid Effect
Our initial brainstorm took place in 2019, immediately prior to the seismic event of SARS-CoV-2 that brought much of the world to a virtual standstill. Like many businesses, our plans were put on hold as we faced this unexpected threat to life as we knew it. In amongst all the tragedy, as the world pressed pause on travel and workplaces remained empty, we started to witness environmental transformations. We all suddenly became aware of bird song, normally drowned out by the noise of traffic, and air pollution levels dropped sharply across the world. In India, for example, people could see the Himalayan peaks for the first time in decades. Locally, our frequently unhealthy air quality sprinted in to the green, healthy zone! People started to believe that we would learn from this and there would be a "new normal," which, we hoped would help halt the fast pace of climate change and lead to a better, cleaner world.
Back on Track
Fast forward to 2022 and the world has raced to recover their losses suffered during the pandemic, and has largely neglected efforts to be socially and environmentally responsible. The record-busting temperatures of July, drought in August and a return of regularly unhealthy levels of air pollution all highlight the challenge in front of us. It is easy to fall into pessimism, but this does not help anyone. We have to focus on what we can do and ensure that we do it! We realise that we cannot change everything, but we can change many things, large and small, to make a difference. And if that helps to influence others, then the impact will be greater. So our plan is back in motion and we are delighted that everyone is on board with what we want to achieve. We have some major things to do and a lot to learn on this evolving journey, but we are also working on some of the smaller and medium-sized stuff that can be done right now, which makes us feel we are already making a difference.
GENEO Zero Initiative: Year 1 - How have we done?
Here's a small list of the things we have done. Like I say, small but they will make a difference.
- Removed environmentally hazardous cleaning products from our offices both for our own use and that of our cleaning company
- Provided all employees with reusable coffee cups to put an end to single-use, takeaway cups
- Worked with our print supplier to use recycled paper and environmentally-friendly inks for our printing
- Encourage employees with company cars to switch to electric vehicles - tick!
- Flexible working from home continued
- Safe bike storage
- Put in place “bee friendly” flower troughs both at the front and back of the offices to help support pollinators
- Supported biodiversity in the local area by sponsoring trees, flower meadows and similar initiatives organised by local groups, such as Warwick Tree Wardens or Bee Friendly Kenilworth and Leamington, and being actively involved in such groups.
- Sponsored a bee awareness assembly and pollinator-friendly seed planting activity for an entire primary school in Warwickshire and donated a flowering tree for the school grounds.
Yay! Feel better just writing this list.