It’s more important than ever to spread awareness of the environmental footprint of every aspect of our lives. There’s no magic formula that can be applied to reducing our environmental footprint in the office, as every industry, company, and country is different. For example, if you’re in the software industry, your carbon footprint is automatically lower than, let’s say, the fashion industry. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t stop you from trying to be greener at work.
There are many things you can do as an individual, regardless of circumstance. As Michael Jackson said, "start from the man in the mirror". You can set an example by inspiring others. You never know what kind of impact you can make.
Let’s picture a common working environment: a 9 to 5 desk job in an office, regardless of company, industry, or country. Here are some tips and examples from our colleagues that just might inspire you.
Being sustainable in the office
An average office worker spends 1,700 hours a year at a desk. We hear you saying, ‘’Yes, that’s true, but I only use my computer and even have a plant on my desk!’’ While plants are always a great idea, there’s much more that you can influence. Let’s take a closer look.
Computers run on electricity. Most people have their screens set to turn off after 10/20 minutes. Assuming you forgot to close it yourself while going for a coffee break, your computer has been on the whole time, consuming energy. By turning on sleep mode, you can save energy, charge less, and spare your computer from overworking. The same goes for monitors if you’re using a desktop computer or two screens. By turning it off when not in use, it is a great way to be as eco-friendly as possible. This is just one of many ways to extend your laptop’s battery.
Recycling is tricky, but necessary. Every city and country have their own waste management system. Therefore, the recycling system can also differ. Sort your waste according to your office/city/country’s possibilities. And be mindful of what goes where. If the waste is contaminated with one wrong item, the whole bag most probably won't be recycled.
Up-cycle your office supplies. The oldest trick since the Xerox machine is to print double-sided and in black and white instead of color. But sometimes it’s not possible, or you forget to change the settings. Simply use your paper scraps to create a new notebook to write down your daily scribbles.
Here’s an example of how our colleague Anna, DC Sales Engineer, made her own notebook out of used paper. We don’t need brand new paper for every little note we make!
Electrify your fleet and travel electric. We saved 5.5 tons of CO2 emissions by choosing trains over planes to attend our tradeshows earlier this year. Needless to say, we lease exclusively plug-in hybrid and fully-electric cars to EVBoxers that are often on the road. Do you have an electric fleet too? Let us know how we can help you with your charging infrastructure.
Being sustainable outside the office
There’s so much you as an individual or as a company can do in regard to social and environmental responsibility. Volunteering is a perfect way to give back to your community, and you can literally tailor it to your interests in no time.
We’re very proud of our colleagues that dedicate their time to others. Here are a few stories that inspired us and hopefully they can give you some ideas. We’re bringing you personal stories, but also what team effort can do!
Doing what you do best
Vitoria, our Partner Marketing Specialist, applied to a platform called The Time Donors, and offered her unique skillset that she uses in her everyday job. When someone hires her for a task, the fee they pay for her work goes directly to the charity of Vitoria’s choice.
"I was so happy when I learned that I can utilize what I do best in helping others. It’s my way of giving back, helping someone with my skills, and donating to charity. Even though I just applied, I cannot wait to get my first assignment!"
Following your passion
Natacha, our DC Service Planner, is a long-time environmental enthusiast, and her current challenge made her take a closer look at the impact her wardrobe has on the environment:
"The "Nothing New Challenge" is an initiative that started in 2018, launched by the association Zero Waste France. The idea is to admit that there is already enough goods owned by people that we shouldn’t buy new ones and over-use the planet’s resources with the impact fast fashion has. For example, it is said that most women only wear 20-30% of items in their wardrobe.
I discovered many alternatives along the way: second hand, borrowed, and rented clothes. Looking for solutions, I became aware of my purchases and needs. I even adopted a new habit: I first ask myself if I really need the item. Most of the time: I don’t."
Helping your community
Kristoffer, our Supply Chain & Logistics Planner, took matters into his own hands and volunteered along with our North American team at The Food Bank of New York—a charitable organization that provides food and aid for New Yorkers in need:
"The team spent a few hours helping provide patrons of the food bank with assistance, both aiding guests with their groceries and showing them what foods they were able to reclaim.
For all those involved, it was an eye-opening experience. Seeing the wide and diverse array of people who were still reliant on this kind of assistance was nothing short of astonishing. I was so pleased with the team and how we all stepped up and took the time to help those less fortunate. These kinds of experiences allow us to appreciate the lives we live a lot more!"
Cleaning and plogging
Plogging combines jogging with picking up plastic—talk about killing two birds with one stone! The ones that are less into running can do a good 'ol clean-up, just like our colleagues have done here in the streets near our office.
You didn't misread that. Eva, our HR Intern, joined the HR team on a Plastic Fishing trip with Plastic Whale, helping to clean Amsterdam canals of plastic waste. It was a team challenge with one winner—the canals:
‘’This was such a fun but, at the same time, shocking team event. We got super competitive and excited about fishing as much plastic out of the canals as possible. After collecting almost 8 bags of plastic out of the canals we were reminded of how important our mission to move toward a more sustainable future really is.’’
Five learnings for your business
Optimize the tools you already have to be the most efficient and sustainable you can be.
Enable and motivate your employees to take part in social and community activities, even if you do not have the means to create activities yourself.
Listen to your staff and their ideas to help the community.
Organize your next team building in a way to help your community.
Create a company culture that nurtures and encourages socially responsible behavior.
All EVBoxers should be able to share their voice in this journey. That's why we're moving this segment from our blog to LinkedIn as of our next update. See you there! Go to LinkedIn >
Businesses must include sustainability as a pillar of their strategy, and there are more role models than one thinks. Here are our CEO Kristof's findings from the 2018 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.