Social Responsibility in Small Steps
by Meagan Portelli
Now more than ever, a company’s impact on society is affecting consumer decisions. It has become increasingly important that businesses be conscious of their responsibility to find the right balance between people, profits and planet. At Edmiston Jones, we are choosing to make informed decisions in our approach to our work, from small sustainable practices in our office to architectural design. The benefits of having an ecofriendly business are endless and provide great outcomes for employees and business practices. Research shows consumers favour companies that are mindful of their environmental impact. We are always looking for new ideas to improve workplace efficiency and reduce our impact on the world. Some small ideas we have implemented to reduce our environmental footprint include: Recycling Stamps A number of charitable organisations raise money through collecting used stamps to sell to collectors and dealers. This small piece of paper can raise up to $40 per kilogram! Some companies that benefit from this activity include Bayley House, Guide Dogs Tasmania and Kidney Health Australia. Recyclable Bags Over the next year, some of our biggest supermarkets have bid to phase out the use of plastic bags. Woolworths has stated that they give out more than three billion bags in Australia per year alone (that is a lot of waste)! This year, every State and Territory (except NSW!) is implementing a ban on lightweight plastic bags. The NSW Premier stating that regulation was not needed. You can sign the petition here. 100% Recycled Paper In Australia, we use approximately 230 kilograms of paper per person, per year and about half of that is sent straight to landfill. One tonne of recycled paper can save 13-24 trees and reduce waste by four cubic metres. At our office, we purchase 100% recycled paper and reuse it in our printers wherever possible, before recycling it in into appropriate bins. Only confidential paperwork is shredded as it cannot be recycled due to the issues it can cause the machinery at recycling depots. Reusable Coffee Cups Australia uses an estimated one billion coffee cups each year (surprisingly that’s not just our office) and they are the second largest contributor to landfill. The thin layer of plastic lining means they aren’t biodegradable or recyclable and take over 20 years to break down. Most cafes accept reusable coffee cups, with some even giving a discount as an incentive (find your closest responsible cafe here). At EJ, we were fortunate enough to receive Keep Cups engraved with our logo as gifts for every staff member. Becoming ‘green’ doesn’t happen by accident. It is about being considerate for our environment - both natural and built. Whether we are designing sustainable buildings and communities or choosing not to print emails, the gradual process of consistent, small steps can make a huge impact.