How I made a difference: Liz Jones, head of people and practice, Launch Group

My function covers everything from recruitment to development, and as I am very ‘green’ myself, I was conscious that although we had a corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy at Launch, it was very much on paper.

While it used the right legal terminology, it didn’t mean anything to anybody. A couple of people had read it because they had to, but it wasn’t something that was actively used within the office, or was particularly public.

Our CSR programme is still very much a work in progress. Earlier this year, everyone (we have 35 full-time staff) was asked to come up with five ideas to make the office greener. People came back with a variety of suggestions, from reducing the number of rubbish bins and adding extra recycling bins, to covering our roof with turf. It really got their imagination going.

We wanted to get people thinking about the environment, so we launched the initiative with a sunflower growing competition. There’s a huge competitive streak here – I’m convinced there was late-night feeding of the sunflowers.

We’ve begun to use low-energy light bulbs throughout the office, and we’ve monitored our use of air conditioning and heating. We looked at when and why we had the lights on – now all of our light switches have ‘remember to switch off’ stickers on them, and the lights in our corridor stay off. While it might seem strange to be in a dark corridor, most of the time they’re actually empty. At some point we hope to get motion-sensor lights for the corridor. Our office closes at 6pm, and our night security guard’s job now involves walking around the building to make sure that everything has been turned off.

Our website features Launch cartoon characters, which we now use in our green marketing – now everyone’s computer screen features a little character with a placard that says ‘Save Planet Launch.’

One thing we did try, which we plan to repeat, was to remove the paper from the printers and give each person 10 sheets of paper every morning. It really makes you think before printing e-mails. We now use our waste paper as scrap paper, and have printers for internal documentation, which print on the reverse of the paper. Having always been good about recycling, it’s been interesting to watch it happen in a work context. We’re also working green elements into our next graduate recruitment day.

We’re doing all of this for three months, at the end of which we will try to measure our savings, both as individuals and as a company.

Why it worked

  • We asked staff for ideas
  • We made it fun
  • We thought long-term
  • We embedded CSR in our culture.

Comments are closed.