Corporate Responsibility

 I recently changed everything about my company, the way I work the software I use, the way in which I interact with my clients. So far this has had nothing but positive benefits. One reason for the change was to make my life simpler, cleaner more balanced hence the choice in company name - Pure. 

But recently this has been spreading further across my whole consciousness and I have made changes to my personal life too. 

So in response all this new found excitement I though I should develop my corporate responsibility document, most notably to consider, if nothing else, my company's impact on its environment. 

But where to begin, how do I avoid the usual media frenzy style approach (planting tree's etc) and actually achieve a genuine reduction on environmental impact. 

I am open to all suggestions but specifically how to draw up such a document, I have never done anything like this before and quite frankly unsure where to start. 

If its succesful is this something that I could encourage my own clients to adopt?

Comments
Paul Scholes's picture

Cart & horse & reporting

Paul Scholes | | Permalink

Hi "Pa" - thank goodness I thought I was the only one!  Having been through the same process I have every sympathy.  Excuse me if what I'm about to spout is old hat.

By the sounds of things you have already done most of the hard work in actually getting down on one side of the fence and "doing".  Some might say that this is cart before horse in that it is usual to decide on a sustainability &/or CSR policy first then see how to put it into action but, because of the mass of often confusing information and advice out there, I too decided that the only way was to get my hands dirty, then see where it took me.

Having said that there are some good guides out there. The Carbon Trust's website is good http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/cut-carbon-reduce-costs/calculate/pages/default.aspx but the one I found most helpful in starting me going was a "Sustainability Toolkit" published by Bioregional an organisation that has been well established for years in my locality.  There's a link on their website http://www.oneplanetvision.org/ and don't worry about being pestered by them when you sign up to download it, I've been pestering them for months to do some joint work with small businesses but they appear to be far too busy.

I'm not sure how far you have gone in measuring your impact in terms of carbon but, rather than rely on the plethora of carbon calculators out there, that tell you little about where the figures come from, I went back to basic school physics and researched Watts & Joules and bought some measuring products (simple plug in the wall meters).  Some may find it sad but it's opened my eyes to how we take energy for granted.

I then went to the government's Greenhouse Gas (GNG) conversion tables on the DEFRA site: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/business/reporting/conversion-factors.htm At first sight these may seem daunting but they cover practically anything that is likely to generate GHGs and the guidance is OK.

With regard to reporting to the outside world I have taken the view that with so much hype & "greenwash" out there I am better off making a simple statement.  There is far more value in discussing and demonstrating on the ground with clients, suppliers & contacts than there is in publishing a full "hoped for" policy statement.

It is also the case that being too detailed about how you plan to achieve your goals can come back and haunt you when the scientists announce that your areas of involvement are counter productive or having a detrimental effect elsewhere.  The use of biofuels is a past example and increased reliance on other's IT another.  Using the web for everything may, at first glance, be a good step in reducing energy use however you only have to do a bit of research to find that there are data centres and there are data centres and so, before I sign up for any Cloud application I will want to know chapter and verse about the policies & results of the data centre(s) used.  What's

In my experience starting the process via carbon reduction has naturally lead me into the other equally important areas covered by CSR, eg slowing up the depletion of water & rare minerals and, as you mention, how what I do impacts on others.

Good luck and here's to a cleaner & leaner lifestyle.

 

PUREaccountants's picture

At last!

PUREaccountants | | Permalink

 Paul, thanks for that, some sound advice I feel. 

Interestingly enough a secondary company that I own is involved in the treatment and removal of waste water from Food Production sites. Specifically around recycling water before being paying farmers to accept it for irrigation. Yes we pay them!

Another sound point is the cloud debate. As an avid cloud user I also appreciate that we have to look at th slighlty bigger picture here - Toyota Prius springs to mind. 

Will crack on with this once I have finally finished all my tax returns. So 1st Feb it is then.

 

SimonH's picture

Carbon Trust Standard fro SME's

SimonH | | Permalink

Following Paul's mention of the Carbon Trust, I thought it would be useful to mention that they have recently launched a new online assessment tool for SME's that makes it easier to achieve the Carbon Trust Standard:

http://www.carbontruststandard.com/pages/SME

The advantage of this over simply making changes to the business is that it allows you to become officially certified and display the Carbon Trust Standard along with some of the UK's biggest household names. It's the same standard just less complex to achieve. The Carbon Trust could not have been more helpful and are really keen to encourage more SME's to get involved.

They were also very practical in terms of realising that what motivates people to reduce their carbon doesn't have to be an altruistic desire to save the planet, but that reducing waste and emissions makes for a better, leaner business.

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