Like many businesses 4D has begun the process of taking direct steps in order to reduce its carbon footprint. In the hope of sharing best practice in this area we have listed some of the steps we have taken in order to reduce our waste and improve our environmental awareness:
Ownership is the key to getting things done and to this end 4D created a dedicated "E-Team" comprised of 4 individuals tasked with keeping our business as green as our logo. This team meets once a month and has been given the authority from Managing Director David Lee to make environmental decisions on behalf of the business.
4D undertook an energy audit with an external agency in order to assess its energy consumption and environmental practice.
4D has undertaken a review of its energy supply options and is in the process of selecting a supplier that utilises a higher percentage of energy from renewable sources. We also switch off as many of our office lights as possible at night, but as 24/7 operation, not all of them can be turned out.
Ride To Work Programme
4D has joined the Ride To Work programme which offers all UK companies the chance to subsidize the cost of bicycles for full time employees. In effect, the business purchases bicycles for lease back to employees, who contribute a small payment each month. For many employees, the tax relief on the purchases mean that in just 15 months they own (at the discretion of employer) a bicycle which cost roughly 50% of its retail cost. So far 12 of our employees have taken up this scheme and this group represents 15% of our full-time workforce.
While office paper and printer toner at 4D has been recycled for years (using a 3rd party supplier) we hope to start recycling glass and plastics very soon. Wandsworth Council, like all councils, is now required to provide a re-cycling service for businesses and we anticipate this programme to begin in 2008.
All plastic cups, including those at water coolers, have been replaced with glass. 4D has also switched all of its kitchen and cleaning products to more environmentally friendly brands such as Ecover. We have also made the default option within Outlook to print 2 pages per sheet of paper and are looking into double-sided printers for the business.
Computer equipment and monitors consume a vast amount of energy. As well as ensuring that all employees switch off their PCs before going home we have found other ways to reduce energy consumption. 4D is currently looking into Eco Buttons which are illuminating USB devices made from re-cycled plastic that sits on the desk acting as a constant reminder for users to press whenever their computer is going to be left idle.
The above steps do a lot towards reducing our carbon footprint, but they cannot cover everything. To this end 4D is looking to set aside budget each quarter to offset our carbon emissions with the planting of trees.
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