In the UK, it’s estimated that business activities account for around half of all carbon dioxide emissions.  But things are changing; more and more businesses are aware of an increasing need to understand their position in regard to sustainability, including their carbon footprint.  Independent UK law firm Burges Salmon chose to get involved by running its own employee engagement programme, entitled My Green 2015, where staff made pledges to reduce their carbon emissions at home and in the office.BS_SPOT_logo_primary_CMYK_4 88 0 0

Sustainable Direction supported Burges Salmon by quantifying the carbon emission reductions made by the employees taking part in the programme.  Our work occurred over two phases:

Creating a pledge menu.  Burges Salmon provided a list of pledges that employees would be able to choose from, from cycling to work to switching to a green energy supplier to reducing food waste.  Sustainable Direction used carbon intensity data from Defra and other sources to calculate the average carbon saving associated with each individual pledge.  We also showed the potential financial and other benefits of the pledge.

Quantifying annual savings.  Once Burges Salmon employees had selected their pledges from the menu, Sustainable Direction quantified the carbon savings associated with their actions.  A total of 148 employees made 372 pledges, with savings of almost 50 tonnes CO2 over a 12 month period.  Pledges that made the biggest impact on overall carbon emissions included using alternative transport to driving, switching to green energy tariffs at home, improving home energy efficiency, reducing meat consumption and eliminating food waste.

We also showed that the benefits of Burges Salmon’s programme stretched far beyond carbon savings, with water savings, enhanced biodiversity, saved landfill space, reduced chemical use, less traffic and financial savings.

Michael Barlow, a partner at Burges Salmon and head of the firm’s Environment team, said:

“We thoroughly enjoyed working with the team at Sustainable Direction throughout this project. Our aim was to capture the excellent efforts and creative pledges made by our employees in a user-friendly and accessible form. Sustainable Direction’s colourful final report has brought the long list of different pledges to life to achieve just that and to demonstrate that small changes to our everyday lives really make a measureable difference.”

 

 

 

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