Sometimes less is definitely more as CCI's Green Team discovered when their environmental leadership was recognised at the recent City Switch National Awards. In reducing waste to landfill through a paperless office, the effort has also lowered energy usage and thereby reduced carbon emissions.
This is a remarkable achievement considering the team began to formalise a sustainability program in early 2018.
"The Green Team's inception in early 2018 was really fuelled by two major frustrations," explains CCI's Ellie Sunshine who is a legal intern and Green Team member.
"These were the high volume of unnecessary printing within the office and observing such an unhealthy reliance on paper, and watching our cleaners mix recycling and landfill into one bin at the end of every day."
The team identified printing and waste reduction as principal concerns and drove campaigns to tackle the issues head on, and the master plan was twofold.
A Waste Reduction campaign began with an audit in which CitySwitch and building management got involved. Staff adopted reusable coffee cups and stepped up to an increased recycling effort that included battery, coffee pod and tea bag recycling stations.
The result was a 70% reduction in coffee cups, 20% overall waste reduction and a recycling rate increase from 44% to 55%.
A Printing Reduction (Paperless) campaign took shape with monthly interactive dashboards that revealed the printing data for each depart. The information highlighted habits in need of improvement and identified technology process opportunities. A company-wide objective was set for each department to reduce printing by 20% within 12 months, and many achieved it in six months.
Driving education and awareness are: monthly newsletters featuring recycling tips, videos, articles, sustainable products, images, statistics and reports, and informative lunch sessions that open to all staff.
Additionally, the broader effort has seen 300 fewer reams of paper used in just three months, and CCI now sells older models of IT equipment and furniture to staff who are shopping around. Encouraging buying second-hand has reduced e-waste and raised almost $5,000 for charity. CCI passed along 50 old laptops to help asylum-seeking children with their school work.
In-house, replacing notepads and printed documents has reduced paper usage and provided more secure and accessible data. It's also proven to have a knock-on effect by making the organisation more time efficient in ways that improve CCI's client service.
Becoming an award-winning CitySwitcher is a badge of honour for The Green Team says Sunshine while adding that in 2019 they are stepping up to further innovation and ideas to reduce CCI's carbon footprint.
"The Green Team is beyond thrilled to be awarded both the Victorian CitySwitch Best New Signatory of the Year Award as well as the National Best New Signatory Award."
"The recognition is especially humbling considering the committee formed less than 12 months ago. Although we may sometimes feel like a small drop in the ocean of sustainability, it's clear that we're now on the way to making waves".
As waste generation and recycling rates change for the better, an informed workforce is more likely to call out areas for improvement. It follows what is a fundamental shift in behaviour within CCI that views waste as the last straw.
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