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5 tips for a more sustainable office, revealed by the Energy Saving Trust

With less than a week to go until the 2019 Fleet Heroes Awards and Conference, the Energy Saving Trust looks at wider ways for businesses to take action on sustainability.

EST’s 2018 Sustainability Week saw staff put ebikes to the test

There are manifold ways that operators can take action on greening their fleet – many of which will come under the spotlight at the 2019 Fleet Heroes Conference on Thursday 28 November at the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, which is still open for registrations. But businesses can also take a wide-ranging approach to sustainability to make offices lives more eco-friendly, as revealed by the Energy Saving Trust at a Sustainability Week held at its office in London during the first week of October.

Top tips revealed at the event include:

Single-use Plastic

Sustainability Group members and other staff came together at lunch time to discuss single-use plastic items in the home and environmentally friendly alternatives. Items brought in from home included beeswax wraps for storing food, plastic-free gum, metal and bamboo straws, a microfiber makeup cloth and tote bags. Water bottles, mugs and reusable coffee cups were also displayed to encourage staff not to use single-use plastic or paper cups in the office.

Another solution is using bulk and zero waste shops, such as those in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff. Buyers bring their own containers to these shops and weigh out the amount of product they want to buy, which saves on packaging.

Food and Sustainability

Staff at the EST’s event discussed how food relates to sustainability, such as the impact of growing organic vs non-organic and food miles. The Energy Saving Trust looked at corporate responsibility, including the idea of hosting meetings and events with only vegetarian or vegan food, and only reimbursing staff expenses for vegetarian food.

Staff Engagement

Hosting your own company Sustainability Week is a great way to get staff onboard. Activities could include a quiz – the Energy Saving Trust’s one looked at staff carbon emissions and how much energy we can save by turning off the lights at home plus more regular quiz questions with an environmental theme.

Other good ways to engage stuff include running an ecological footprint challenge, where people are asked to complete a footprint calculator, with a prize awarded to the person with the lowest ecological footprint.

Clothes Swap

Fashion is the second most polluting industry, after fuel and oil. According to the UN, the fashion industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined. Producing clothing is also very water intensive, particularly cotton; the average water footprint for a kilo of cotton (equivalent to pair of jeans and a shirt) is 10,000-20,000 litres.

At its Sustainable Week, the Energy Saving Trust held a clothes swap, encouraging staff to bring in their good quality, unwanted items from home to swap them for something new, but second-hand. Plenty of people donated clothing, which was taken away by happy new owners –anything left over was donated to Oxfam.

Alternatives to Car Travel

There are many methods at fleets’ disposal to cut car usage but an increasingly popular one is the ebike, which was tested by staff at the EST’s Sustainable Office event in 2018. Available throughout the week, the ebike achieved an average of 18mph and users said it was great for travelling long distances and uphill without too much exertion, and for accelerating away from traffic lights.

Further ways to green your fleet will be discussed at the 2019 Fleet Heroes Conference next Thursday 28 November 2019. Places are now limited, so to book your place now click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.