Mar 08

It is all change in our office this year – we have taken the conscious decision to be more environmentally-friendly and do our bit to save the planet.

The idea has been muted for a while, but it all moved on when the CEO walked in one morning claiming he had had a “lightbulb moment”. Apparently he was in his car (well, huge diesel-guzzling people carrier) on his way to the office, getting increasingly frustrated at the traffic lights not working in his favour. “GO GREEN!” he shouted. The lightbulb pinged and now we are well on our way to being a much greener company.

My role as chief stationery buyer is to seek out more eco-friendly options for all the office products used around the office. I haven’t been given any details as yet, but it has even become one of my KPIs that could lead to a nice little bonus in my wage packet next year if I do a good job (which I know I will – give me a stationery related job and I am on it, incentive or not).

I am already “Golden Boy” as far as the CEO is concerned, a position reaffirmed when I explained to him how I had already earlier in the year swapped all our office paper usage to the unique Our Earth copier paper that donates to the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust – you should have seen the smile on his face when I showed him the packaging with the cute picture of the endangered Black Lion Tamarin on the back. From this year that contribution is going up from 3p to 4p per ream, it might not sound a lot, but that is 20p a box and a lot of boxes are being used.

I was talking to our paper supplier the other day and he was explaining how much better this paper is compared to the cheap stuff you can get on the market. In fact, he explained that if all suppliers of Our Earth paper could switch their customers from the cheap basic copier, that would increase the contribution to Durrells by around £43,000 – Wow, could you imagine that! I reckon the CEO will soon be changing my nickname to ‘Green Boy” (Because of my help with his CSR Policy, not because of the time I was travel sick when he gave me a lift to a company event a couple of years back – that’s another story).

Choosing greener products is not actually as difficult as you might think. Our new office supplies catalogue we have just received actually highlights products with an environmental benefit through the use of a green code – I reckon that must account for about 20% of the products in the offering. Some of the paper-based offerings are obvious, but when you shop around you can very easily find plastic products such as staplers, punches and letter trays made from a high percentage of recycled plastic. For example, my go to desk set is the Avery DTR range, all products in black are made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic, the blue is 96% and both are recyclable after use. I love them!

I have also been asked to investigate getting an electric car charger point installed in the car park to encourage more staff to switch to an electric car (even the boss says he is going to get rid of his current gas-guzzler, that will be something). It doesn’t bother me, for the last two years I have been cycling to work and yes I admit it, I love wearing the high-visibility clothing (it gives me a sense of power) and although I have no friends to cycle with me, sometimes I do cycle in the middle of the lane, pretending to be two abreast, just to annoy some of the commuters in their big motors churning out fumes from their exhausts. I get a lot of people waving at me (I think they are waving, although they do not always use all of their fingers) ; I just shout back “And the same to you – GO GREEN!”