In November last year Claire Swindale, the Green Champion at Shield Technologies, was awarded Investors in the Environment’s Best Green Champion for 2014 (smaller business category) at the iiE Awards. We caught up with Claire to find out how she had gone from environmentally friendly to ‘Enviro Girl’ in the last three years.
PECT: Well done for winning the Best Green Champion at the IiE awards in November, what achievements enabled you to win the award?
Enviro Girl: Probably the most important achievement is that I have support of every member of our team. Everyone is engaged in the process of becoming a sustainable business and every member of our team share their thoughts and ideas for reducing our impact on the environment. All of this makes the whole process so much easier and the implementation of new processes quick and pain-free!
I believe that for any member working towards a Green iiE award, getting the support of the team is the first and most important step.
We use fantastic tools to communicate with staff and because of this we can get messages to the team quickly and often, and this keeps GREEN at the front of everyone’s minds.
We are almost paperless, a massive achievement for any business. This doesn’t mean we don’t use any paper but we print only when it is absolutely necessary and use less than a ream of paper each year –so far in 2015 we have used less than 150 sheets of paper!
PECT: Why do you think it is important for businesses to be green?
Enviro Girl: Growing an environmentally sustainable business is good for everyone, and it feels great. Knowing that as a business you are reducing your impact on the environment is very powerful for the engagement of your team.
PECT: What’s next for you to implement and why?
Enviro Girl: Since we started working towards green level accreditation in 2012 the business has grown steadily and with this so has our mileage. In fact our mileage, despite our best efforts, has increased over the last two years.
In 2015 our main focus will be on getting our mileage down, and we have introduced a number of initiatives that are so far working well. Every time a member of the team books an appointment to see a customer or complete an on-site job they will first check the calendar to see if anyone else is going in the same direction that week and then they will, where possible, car share with a colleague.
Training courses are now only attended within the Peterborough area and we are thinking much more strategically about our on-site work. At the end of May 2015, compared to the same period last year, we have reduced mileage by 48%!
PECT: What has been the hardest thing to overcome?
Enviro Girl: Getting started! When we joined I looked at all of the paperwork and what had to be done over and over again before I actually got started. The turning point was the catch-up workshop with iiE I attended two months after we started working towards Green.
PECT: What advice would you give to other businesses looking to start this green journey?
Enviro Girl: There are two things that give you a great start, the first is to get yourself onto one of iiE’s catch-up workshops. If you are new to this, as I was, the workshop will help you to break the process down into bite-size chunks that are easier to manage. Plus remember to use the iiE team, call them and email them with any question no matter how silly you may think it is! The team are always really happy to help you whenever you need it.
The second thing is to get the support of everyone in your business, present this to everyone as an opportunity to grow, save money and help to protect the environment. There is something in it this for everyone no matter what part of the business they work in. Having the support of the whole business will be key to your success.
For more information about joining the Investors in the Environment green accreditation scheme, visit the website at www.iie.uk.com.