9th August 2022
As part of our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment to being a more responsible, engaged, and respectful business, our dedicated CSR team meet regularly to brainstorm, improve upon, and implement sustainability practices with a view to making a difference to our community, our people, and the environment around us - and that’s no mean feat, but we’re up to the challenge.
Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey
At the end of 2021 we participated in and achieved a bronze award in the Business in the Community Northern Ireland Environmental Benchmarking Survey.
The survey benchmarks organisations against sector peers, based on environmental performance and the extent to which environmental business practices have been embedded within corporate strategies.
Dedicating time and resource to this demonstrated our sustainability commitment, allowing us to be more transparent, and requiring us to examine and reflect on our office practices.
By making small, positive steps to change behaviours, we’ve been working towards making a difference to the environment, as well as improving our mental and physical wellbeing by changing our mindsets towards recycling and the environment, both at work and at home.
Here are some of the sustainability schemes we’ve been participating in.
Earlier this year we made a ’plastic promise’ to reduce our plastic footprint – we all know that over consumption of plastic is polluting our oceans, killing wildlife, and damaging our health. We’re sadly often too busy, or lazy, to do something about it, especially in the office - it’s someone else’s problem, right?
Well, at MCE that’s not good enough. The Tackling Plastic NI project, run by Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful, and funded by DAERA, supports organisations to reduce their use of single-use plastic. We audited our average monthly plastic consumption and implemented a Single-Use Plastic Action Plan, gaining a Plastic Promise certificate in the process.
Here are some of the actions we’ve implemented:
- Be responsible – we’ve pledged to use responsible sources to purchase sustainable stationary (including recycled paper products).
- Reduced printing – it’s not possible to be an entirely paperless office but we encourage staff to think before they print (double sided all the way!).
- Confidential shredding (shredded paper is then recycled).
- Recycling printer toners – we’ve signed up to the HP Planet Partners scheme to return our empty toner cartridges for recycling.
- Encouraging our team to make coffee in the office using our fancy Nespresso machine instead of buying single use coffee cups.
- When we’ve finished with our coffee pods, we recycle them.
- We recycle our crisp packets too.
- Encouraging our team to use the water cooler in the office rather than buying single use plastic bottles.
- Investing in online subscriptions to newspapers instead of buying print versions (and always recycling if we do need to buy a physical copy)
- Dedicated recycling bins in the office.
Tayto TerraCycle scheme
Our client Tayto is committed to minimising their impact on the environment and preventing pollution where possible. They have a zero waste to landfill policy, are investing to improve sustainability levels and have recently implemented new packaging, suitable for recycling, in partnership with TerraCycle.
For the last six months we've been collecting our empty Tayto crisp packets to send to TerraCycle to be made into new recycled products – needless to say there have been a lot of crisps eaten at team meetings!
Once TerraCycle receives our crisp packets they sell them on to manufacturing companies who complete the recycling journey by turning them into outdoor furniture and decking, plastic shipping pallets, watering cans, storage containers and bins, flooring tiles, and playground surface covers.
Nespresso Capsule Recycling
We’re mostly tea drinkers at MCE, but we take our coffee consumption seriously too – only the best for Team MCE, and visitors to our office.
We’ve been participating in Nespresso's recycling programme for a few years now. We collect our used pods and drop them off at the Nespresso store in Victoria Square.
From there, the coffee grounds in the pods are used to create soil improver and renewable energy. The plastic and aluminium are transformed into new products such as drinks cans, bikes, and pens.
Adopt a Spot
As part of the Live Here Love Here Adopt a Spot Scheme, we’ve committed to at least four clean up sessions in our dedicated spot (from Victoria Street, up to Custom House Square, across to the Big Fish, and down Oxford Street to the Courts area).
Our aim is to help to improve the cleanliness of the area that we live and work in - so far, we’ve collected multiple bags of rubbish, including cigarette butts, bottle tops, drinks bottles and other discarded items.
Our challenge to you
We’re always reviewing and revising our sustainability practices, it’s easy to get complacent and push aside the good work we’ve been doing when the day-to-day job and life outside work gets in the way, but the impact far outweighs the effort.
What small steps could you, both personally and professionally, take to improve the area that you live and work in?
By Lorna Cowan