MAKING A DIFFERENCE – ONE FLICK OF A SWITCH AT A TIME

Our CEO, Phil Diver has written a post reflecting on our performance in meeting our environment goals and objectives

CTC_Russ Hall Park_Green Army_CBP_215 In April last year, I wrote about the environment and our impact upon it when I rather disappointedly found myself, a self-professed ‘greenie’, with an impost on the earth well beyond one person. In fact if memory serves me right I consume about 2.3 times.

For the one planet thing to work we all need to consume just one person’s worth of stuff. Our response to such information is I think a bit like dieting. As long as the morning weigh-in has you dropping in weight then it’s easy to keep the momentum going. If you plateau or go up, the tendency is to give up sometimes regarding your own efforts as too insignificant or immaterial to actually affect the change you would like to make. So it goes with the environment.

Working in a small enterprise, and when I say small, at nine staff we are small, there is the tendency to take the losing weight approach and give up, reflecting whatever we do would be so small as to not make one iota of difference anyway.

It’s too easy to rue the fact that we are not managing Rio Tinto where we could make a real impact and just go back to the way things have always been. There are now quite a few reasons why it is the small companies that are making the biggest changes.

Firstly the big disruptions are coming from the small players not the big ones. Only this week KPMG is reported in the Australian Financial Review (3rd June 2015) as disrupting itself so that the small fleet of foot players don’t disrupt it out of business. Small leading the large. I draw a lot of inspiration from this.

Another reason the smaller player can punch above their weight in the environmental sustainability stakes is because their decision-making hierarchies are so small. If we decide on something at our Team meeting Wednesday, I am surprised if by the Monday we haven’t cracked it or made a pretty solid start on it.

It is much easier at our end of the management spectrum to try out ideas for sustainability. If they work fine you keep them. If they don’t move on to something else that does. The final reason that springs to mind is that big impacts are really only the aggregation of smaller steps made by the many. If every house reduced its energy consumption by 15% it would have a much greater impact than one or two large businesses doing the same.

It’s with this spirit in mind that CTC continues to forge ahead with green initiatives to achieve our goal of minimising the impact we have on the environment and enhancing sustainability.

We’ve done the low-hanging fruit like solar panels and waterless urinals. We have worked in partnership with the Oxley Creek Catchment Association (OCCA) to help remediate the waterways that bisect our property.

More recently we painted six portico roofs in different paints to demonstrate the difference this can make to ambient temperature. We are about to measure the results which should show a reducing temperature beneath each surface; the hottest being our standard Colourbond colour, next hottest being the Standard Colourbond colour in a special heat-reflecting coating and least hot white heat reflecting paint. This is the building acting as an educator in its own right. This is the Living Laboratory working for real.

Our Hot Leasing initiative, which is a prime example of the share economy, is another initiative where sustainability plays a key role. The optimal utilisation of space is good for the environment – the embodied energy alone is spread across a number of users who might otherwise have sought other premises, multiplying the carbon footprint many times over. In addition we have been on a tree-planting crusade and are now in the position where our office, our café and the Hot Leasing area are carbon neutral. This means anyone delivering their training from this location can be assured that their carbon impost on the environment has been offset. Good for the environment good for their customers.

Indoor air quality is another concept where smaller companies can take a lead without it costing much. All it needs is a generous allocation of plants within the working environment. Not only is an abundance of plants aesthetically pleasing, but their ability to capture and store away nasty volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from paints and adhesives, lead from LED screens, formaldehyde from our joinery and improve oxygen levels is quite amazing. The proof of the pudding should be realised through improved wellness levels, reduced sick days and possibly even better creativity in the workplace. To measure what a difference introduction of plants means we have commenced measurement of the atmosphere within the office in the absence of plants and will be re-measuring air quality after they have been in place for a few weeks. We wait with bated breath to see the impact (pun intended).

So next time you are considering your own small enterprise and despairing that you can’t do much, consider what little things you actually can do that will, when compounded with the millions and millions of other small enterprises worldwide, make a real difference. Our grandchildren will thank us for it. That’s enough pontificating from me for one day. Time to close down my computer and screen, oh and flick the switch to override the standby function while I’m at it…small things…..