How a High-energy Consumption Business Created a Sustainability Policy
Victoria Browne shares PG Stage’s sustainability policy and explains how businesses can follow suit with simple changes and strategies
If your business is environmentally conscious, then this is something you should be promoting, developing and essentially shouting from the rooftops (or at least having a dedicated policy page on your website).
A sustainability policy has not only become an environmentally conscious necessity, but is genuinely considered a sound marketing strategy. Companies want to be seen to be working with environmentally responsible partners and consumers want to know that what they’re buying is ethically sourced.
Establishing a sustainability policy – essentially a customer and staff orientated breakdown of your environmental pledge and how you plan to meet your aims – doesn’t have to become a drawn-out investment either.
Those practices you already adhere to (even for purely money-saving reasons) can be developed to create a policy that differentiates your business as a responsible provider, even if you happen to be in a high-energy consumption sector.
1. Tailoring your policy to your industry
As a stage and studio installation company, our energy consumption levels naturally have the potential to be high. We often travel all over the UK to complete projects, we work with considerable amounts of man-made materials (such as cabling), and the business is centred on elaborate lighting systems. All in all, we’re certainly not in the easiest industry in terms of going ‘green’.
Adapting a policy to the intricacies of your business allows you to make choices that have a true impact. In the same way that a small cafe may revolutionise its sustainability policy by offering locally sourced produce and establishing a rigorous recycling process, a company with extortionate air miles will need to streamline their distribution methods.
Our approach to waste materials
- All on-site surplus materials are accounted for and returned to base for re-use and recycling
- 100% of office waste is recycled
- We utilise a waste management service
- B&M Waste provide monthly figures on our total recycling percentage. We aim to achieve over 98%
Minimising energy usage: LED lighting
We install energy efficient stage lighting wherever possible. Traditional tungsten bulbs operate at only about 20% efficiency with the remaining 80% lost to heat energy. LED bulbs in comparison operate at around 80% efficiency and last considerably longer; ideal for our clients in terms of sustainability and longevity.
Any tools and equipment used are additionally taken into account, with regular maintenance checks for efficiency and machinery idling times reduced wherever possible.
2. Changing current practices
Marks and Spencer, one of strongest advocates of companies going green, may have comprehensive green policies across all of its business divisions, but that doesn’t mean their pledge is any less established on even the smallest scale, such as recycling stations in staff areas and prompts to turn off lights.
Taking those common sense practices we all utilise in the home (and probably nag others to do) can create the foundation of your sustainability policy. It sounds almost too simple to include everyday practices in a company policy, but businesses do it, because it makes a difference in the workplace and allows employees to follow good practice on client premises too.
Starting with everyday measures allows you to take the first steps towards creating your policy from the roots up. Interspersed with our transport, water and energy consumption policies, we established practices we could start implementing from day one.
- Reduce engine idling time – idling for more than 60 seconds uses more fuel than is needed to start the engine
- Ensure tyre pressure is correct – every 6psi the tyre is under-inflated, fuel consumption increases by 1%
- Remove unnecessary loads
- Intelligent driving. Breaking and accelerating should be smooth and drivers should use higher gears as soon as possible
- Only use air conditioning when absolutely necessary
Water & energy consumption:
- Ensure lights and heaters are turned off when rooms are not in use
- Fixing leaking and dripping taps and installing flow taps and dual-flush toilets wherever possible
- Insulating business premises
- Utilising energy efficient lighting
3. Reducing the impact of transportation
From schools in London to theatres in Wales, travelling UK-wide requires a transportation strategy that goes beyond good driving practice. Purchasing eco business fleets may not be financially viable for many businesses at the moment, so suggesting you kit your staff out in an electric fleet and buy streamlined goods vehicles won’t be actionable advice.
Instead centre a transportation policy on intelligently planning journeys to mitigate unnecessary journeys and loads. It goes without saying, ensuring that your staff are fully informed about your smarter driving pledge will help lower emissions and ensure safe driving practices are being followed at all times.
If need be hold training sessions and work out optimum travelling times as a team in order to avoid travelling during stop/start traffic periods. Establishing routes before a project starts can help ensure maximum efficiency is achieved and everyone is adhering to a pre-determined ‘eco-route’.
4. Keep developing
We’ve registered with the Prince’s Mayday Network in order to record our efforts and learn more about reducing our impact on the environment. If you feel like something is needed to keep you on track, then joining a business community committed to reducing their effects on the environment is a useful motivational tool.
Find out more about PG Stage’s sustainability policy here.