by Bethany Picton
Energy Saving Trust hosted a Sustainability Week in its London office during the first week of October. Sustainability Group members organized discussions and events to inspire staff members to consider how they can make their lives more eco-friendly, and what Energy Saving Trust can do to support this.
Running a Sustainability week at work is a great way to spread the message about sustainable living. We’ve listed out some of our ideas and activities, to provide inspiration if you’d like to run a sustainability week where you are:
Sustainability Group members and other staff came together at lunch time to discuss single-use plastic items in the home and environmentally friendly alternatives. Items brought in from home included beeswax wraps for storing food, plastic-free gum, metal and bamboo straws, a microfiber makeup cloth and tote bags. Water bottles, mugs and reusable coffee cups were also displayed to encourage staff not to use single-use plastic or paper cups in the office.
Staff discussed how food relates to sustainability, such as the impact of growing organic vs non-organic and food miles. We looked at corporate responsibility, including the idea of hosting meetings and events with only vegetarian or vegan food, and only reimbursing staff expenses for vegetarian food.
We sent a sustainability-themed quiz to all our staff, with prizes for the winners in each office. There were a mixture of serious and not-so serious questions; including some on Energy Saving Trust’s own carbon emissions and how much energy we can save by turning off the lights at home plus more regular quiz questions with an environmental link, such as the movie round which included Taxi Driver and Bee Movie!
Throughout the week, we displayed articles and books for people to read at their leisure.
Fashion is the second most polluting industry, after fuel and oil. In 2015 the fashion industry was responsible for 1,715 million tonnes of CO2 emissions, and this is forecast to grow by 63% by 2030. The UN states that the fashion industry consumes more energy than the aviation and shipping industry combined. Producing clothing is also very water intensive, particularly cotton; the average water footprint for a kilo of cotton (equivalent to pair of jeans and a shirt) is 10,000-20,000 litres.
Energy Saving Trust held a clothes swap, encouraging staff to bring in their good quality, unwanted items from home to swap them for something new, but second-hand. Plenty of people donated clothing, which was taken away by happy new owners – we donated anything left over to Oxfam.
For more tips on starting a Sustainability Group and hosting events, check our blog post about last year’s Energy Saving Trust Sustainability Week.