Developing an environmental programme with year one members

We were hosted by BNP Paribas on 21 May for our year one members’ workshop on developing an environmental programme. Experts in environmental campaigns and waste management, as well as current Heart of the City members shared their experiences and tips in running environmental campaigns to get our members inspired.

Sarah Beattie, UK CSR Manager at BNP Paribas kicked off the morning by talking us through the environmental pillar of their responsible business programme. They’re committed to reducing carbon emissions per employee by 25% by 2020, and their ‘What’s my Impact?’ initiative engages their employees by encouraging them to integrate the BNP Paribas CSR goals into their everyday routines and processes.

Next, we heard from Dave Carlos, Marketing and Brand Advisor at The Planet Mark. He walked us through the ‘big picture’ of the environmental crisis, explaining the business case for implementing an environmental programme. Looking at the business benefits of sustainability, Dave encouraged us to think about the environmental, economic and social reasons our members’ businesses might have for having an environmental programme and finding their sweet spot in that.

Heart of the City contributor Jarno Stet, Waste and Recycling Manager at Westminster City Council and Veolia, lead our table discussion. Most of our members are small businesses sharing their offices in multi-tenanted buildings, which makes reducing their environmental impact more difficult. But having less control over your supply chain doesn’t mean you can’t make a difference, as we learnt in this table exercise. Our tables looked at a case study of a business and discussed what they could do to overcome these issues, such as getting together a green team from all the businesses to negotiate with the landlord.

After a coffee break, we were pleased to welcome Rabia Abra, Project Lead at Hubbub. She showed us some of Hubbub’s environmental campaigns and gave our members advice on campaigning for behavioural change. It was great to hear about their work with Heart of the City contributor Marsh & McLennan – their campaigning on waste management has seen a big drop in contaminated recycling in the office as people feel more knowledgeable on what they can recycle.

To finish the workshop, we asked year one member FabLittleBag to come and speak about what they’re doing to improve the impact of sanitary items. After asking who’s a ‘flusher’ and a ‘binner’, Martha Silcott, CEO of FabLittleBag revealed the impact of flushing a tampon – and binning it isn’t much better. Their fully biodegradable bags mean less waste goes to landfills and improves the experience of using tampons at work, so it’s win-win! We were happy to see lots of our members interested to find out more.

Thanks to BNP Paribas for hosting us, and to all our speakers and table hosts – we hope you had a great time! The presentations from the day are online in our members’ area now.

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