Sustainability – what is it and why is it important?
Sustainability is much more than a buzzword. While the use of the word has certainly increased in frequency, the concept itself is hardly new. An ecosystem, a lifestyle, or a community that is sustainable is one which supports itself and its surroundings. Sustainability itself can be defined by three core elements: • Environmental Protection • Social Development • Economic Development
Environmental protection entails examining how our use of the environment affects it, and how we can ensure that negative effects are minimised and behaviours that positively impact the environment are emphasised.
Ensuring that human beings have access to basic resources, that their health is being protected, and that they enjoy a good quality of life within a sustainable environment is crucial.
Sustainability without economic development simply cannot succeed. In order to convince individuals, communities, and organisations to invest their resources in sustainability, there must be incentives above and beyond the long-term advantages.
Why is it so Important?
Sustainability is important for a very simple reason: we cannot maintain our quality of life or the Earth’s ecosystems unless we embrace it.
Sustainability in the Home
There are many different ways to support sustainability at home.
Recycling should be something we’re all doing as a matter of course now. Recycling eases pressure on the world’s resources and the environment.
Giving up a portion of your garden to plant vegetables has become increasingly popular in recent years. Container gardens, which can be moved and easily swapped out, are another great choice.
Choosing plants native to your area that have evolved to thrive under the naturally present conditions is one choice. You can also consider installing rain barrels, depending on your local regulations, or planting a “rain garden”—planting water-loving foliage in areas where water tends to gather, to allow it to be absorbed into the soil rather than running off into storm drains.
Use of Fertilizers, Pesticides, and Herbicides
The chemicals you use on your lawn matter, and not just to your grass. Using safer, organic alternatives can help you keep your landscaping looking lovely without polluting or endangering the ecosystem. Lawn and garden care chemicals can have lasting effects on plants, animals, and insects in your area, and can also have a negative impact on the water supply.
There are so many ways to embrace sustainability, we hope this blog has given you some ideas to get you started.
Are you an Eco Warrior, a Sustainability Superstar or a Green Hero?
We take a light-hearted look at this serious topic. Do you recognise your ‘Green Leadership Style’ and some of your challenges?
We also offer some practical suggestions to help you get your team on-board and make some green improvements around the office.
A recent, international study conducted by Unilever, revealed a third of consumers (33%) are now buying from brands based on their social and environmental impact. And an estimated €966 billion opportunity exists for brands that make their sustainability credentials clear.
The study asked 20,000 adults from five countries how their sustainability concerns impact their choices in-store and at home. Crucially, it then mapped their claims against real purchase decisions, giving a more accurate picture than ever of what people are actually buying – and why.
Strong emotions and opinions on the subject should be hardly surprising when you consider the vast amount of media attention that the problem of plastics in our oceans, and rubbish going to landfill, along with climate change accelerations. Are we all looking to someone else for the answers or are we creating the solution?
You’re likely to be the person in your workplace who is tasked with responsibility for steering your business into more environmentally friendly waters.
Which is Your ‘Green Leadership Style’?
“The Eco Warrior “
The Eco Warrior is most likely to be found working for a Tech-firm, in the Not for Profit sector, or in a company that is already integrated with a Green lifestyle. You are fully supported by your company who have embraced the plants you have added to all the indoor areas. Leading by example you will cycle, walk, or use public transport on your commute to the office. A true Eco Warrior will be on a personal zero to waste journey, having ditched shampoo in a bottle in favour of a bar variety. Woe betide any co-worker who is spotted with a single use plastic Frappuccino cup or a plastic straw! You lead by example and have a fervent conviction that we should all vote with our wallets and switch to greener and more ethical brands.
“The Sustainability Superstar”
You’re probably working for a large Multi-National with responsibility for ensuring sustainability across all areas of your business, which has already recognised the importance of this subject enough to appoint you to focus full-time on it. You are likely to review the compliance and green credentials of suppliers and potential business partners to ensure that there’s no ‘green-wash’ going on. This means reviewing documents and verifying details with a magnifying glass. You spend your spare moments reviewing news letters from http://sustainabilitypractitioners.org even when you wish you were strolling around Hyde Park or doing some ‘Forest bathing’ instead. Passionate about the importance of your role to create impact and effect positive changes, your natural business acumen and ability to influence the board, innovate and suggest changes that will also boost the bottom line, mean you really deserve a superhero cape to wear to the office.
“The Green Hero”
Being environmentally aware and ethical is ingrained in your psyche, and comes naturally to you. Your role as office manager or facilities manager is one of juggling many balls, and spinning plates, keeping the whole place running smoothly. However, yours is a challenging task as you are often battling against colleagues who don’t share the same mind-set, or are perhaps just not as ‘enlightened’ as you. You despair of the amount of paper used in the printer for tasks which frankly need not be printed at all. Not to mention the take-out wrappings, and cups which you keep finding in the waste bins rather than the recycling bins you have provided. Sometimes you wonder if you are sounding more like a nagging parent than a departmental manager. As Kermit the frog famously said, “It’s not easy being Green”, and some of your colleagues, it seems, are determined to prove him right. It takes time for people to adopt new habits. But you are on a mission to ensure that they do. Take it from us, you’re the one who really deserves a medal.
7 Easy Top Tips For Being Greener in The Office
Top tip 1: Cutting Back on Consumption – In the Kitchen
Ditch the coffee shop runs, or the coffee pod machine and most certainly get your colleagues out of the habit of buying single use plastic bottles of drink… and invest in a proper coffee machine or water filter. https://www.liquidline.co.uk/ check out the huge range from Liquidline and get a free quote or trial. If you just can’t quit your coffee shop habit then at least use a reusable coffee cup. Did you know that Starbucks reward customers who get into the recycling habit with a discount on every drink bought? Giving them a 25p discount every single time they bring in their own cup.
Top tip 2: Cups and glasses over plastic and paper
Use reusable water bottles and mugs at work.
Top tip 3: Prep Ahead
Save money and the planet by packing your lunch ahead of time with reusable containers. You might find that you make healthier, lower calorie choices this way too!
Top tip 4: Bring nature indoors
Did you know that having plants in your indoor environment can help clean the air, offset VOCs and CO2 emissions, and improve your mood?
Biophilia is the term for our love of nature and living things, we are genetically pre-disposed to feeling uplifted and ‘connected’ when we are exposed to natural elements. Including biophilic elements, like plants, in your office environment increase positive feelings, aid concentration and subconsciously connect you to nature and the wider world.
Bonus: plants look great and are a low-cost way to add contemporary decoration for any desk. You can get a FREE QUOTEfor office plants here.
Top tip 5: Make Greener Office-Wear Choices
If you wear shirts to the office choose ones made of natural cotton or even better organic cotton, as synthetic fibres wash into our oceans adding to the plastic contamination. Do a label check before buying new clothes and avoid clothes that need to be dry cleaned. If it really needs dry cleaning seek out your local “green” dry cleaner. Look for your local Johnson Cleaners… Branch search
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