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Exodus Environmental Policy & Report: March 2007
All businesses have an impact on the environment. Although many of the most important impacts are global ones - such as climate change - it’s easy to suppose that only the contribution of large companies counts. In fact small companies generate more pollution than large ones overall. Every business that acts to reduce negative impacts can gain competitive advantage at the same time.
Since we have implemented our Environmental Policy in 2002, we have increased our environmental activity year on year and are committed to improving our existing performance and looking for more ways to act in an environmentally responsible way. We are also using our procurement processes to influence others in our supply chain to improve environmental performance.
There are enormous potential competitive benefits to be gained through proper and effective management of environmental impact, including the following:
  • Market opportunities - Growing consumer expectations can create a market edge for companies who are quick to develop new products that conform to a more environmentally conscious world. New technologies for better product performance, as well as technology to clean up environmental pollution, represent a growth area within the economy.
  • Efficiency gains- UK Government funded projects have consistently shown that 10% savings can be achieved at zero cost. With combined energy and waste disposal bills in the UK estimated at £26bn, some £2.6bn of this could be saved and returned to the bottom line.
  • Consumer’s expectations - Consumers are undoubtedly more informed and willing to vote with their feet. There is huge media attention on climate change, recycling and reducing waste; consumers are more informed and active in relation to environmental issues and businesses that take the environment and the responsibilities seriously are more likely to prosper.
  • Top down pressure – In a competitive marketplace contract awards are increasingly being influenced by the environmental credentials of organisations. Many public sector organisations already insist on minimum standards of environmental performance for suppliers. Different parts of the financial sector now seek out and expect good environmental practice. The banks have environmental risk as part of their lending criteria. Underwriting decisions by insurance companies seek to minimise environmental risk exposure. In the City, there’s a growing trend to include environmental criteria in investment decisions and with changes during 2000 to pension fund disclosure, environmental and social aspects will need to be addressed legally.
  • Legal requirements - Whether it’s the phasing out of ozone depleting chemicals or meeting stringent targets to reduce CO2 emissions or Producer Responsibility regulations, the pressure from legislation will continue to grow.
  • Market reputation & value - High standards of business practice now extend beyond issues such as strategic decision making and planning, product/service development, efficiency, innovation and communication into standards on environmental and social responsibility. Good practice in all these areas contributes to how an organisation’s reputation is perceived especially in the City, which in turn will influence share value.

Good environmental management needs to be a balance. On the one hand, there needs to be creativity in solving problems and seizing opportunities. On the other, there needs to be a systematic approach to improving efficiency and reducing waste. The trend in legislation is to increase the cost to business of poor performance through environmental taxation, so there is no shortage of business benefits for acting early.
At Exodus we pride ourselves in offering our customers the highest possible standards of service. We are committed to behaving both ethically & responsibly in our dealings with each other and are committed to minimising our impact on the environment in which we live and work.

All of our staff are expected to comply with, enforce and contribute to the environmental plan. The responsibility for compliance rests at board level with our Chief Executive and the senior management are committed to enforcing the environmental measures that we have undertaken to implement.

Exodus Market Research is committed to promoting the issues associated with environmental protection and will implement any current (or future) legislation that supports these objectives. We support these objectives not only because they are ethically right but also because improving our environmental performance will reduce wastage and improve our organisations profitability.

All members of staff have a responsibility to promote sustainability in business, this means achieving economic growth, environmental protection and social progress at the same time.  Business has a central role in delivering sustainable development - with the more productive use of materials and natural resources having a fundamental part to play.  We pledge that wherever possible that we shall:

  • Monitor and report on our environmental costs and progress
  • Operating in open and dynamic markets - whose environmental costs are signalled effectively
  • Use greener technologies (such as energy coming from renewable sources)
  • Meeting consumer demand for greater value, performance and choice in more resource efficient ways and with reduced environmental impact.  
  • Promote the awareness of environmental issues amongst our staff and support our staff with both training & in community schemes to improve the lives of others.

Our business arena is the provision of market research services to the business sector, both governmental & non-governmental agencies and charitable organisations. Primarily we operate in an office-based environment however there are considerable opportunities to employ good environmental practice to reduce waste, encourage efficiency and promote recycling & reuse.

Our principal impacts on the environment have been identified as:

  • The consumption of energy
  • Consumption of paper and cardboard
  • Office furniture
  • Recycling and reuse of consumables
  • Waste and recycling
  • Transportation and travel
  • Procurement policy
  • Water consumption

Guidance for staff

In this our second environmental report we have identified our principal impacts that we have the opportunity to tackle in terms of reducing our environmental footprint. Each environmental issue identified is accompanied with an explanation of the environmental impact and the proposed method of achieving reductions.

Energy
Most of our work is carried out in a traditional office environment and hence the office contributes a huge amount to the energy we consume. We have taken the following steps since the implementation of our environmental policy to reduce energy consumption:

  • Printers and photocopiers are switched off when not in use and do not stand on idle. This alone can save up to 26% of power consumption.
  • Mobile phone chargers are disconnected from the electricity supply when not in use to prevent more leaching of electricity in stand by mode.
  • We have replaced all our filament light bulbs with energy saving fluorescent equivalents
  • Lights and PC’s are closed down during periods of inactivity during the day and not left on as a matter of habit.
  • PC monitors are turned off rather than utilising an energy sapping screensaver.
  • New equipment purchases are checked for the inclusion of energy efficient features such as sleep or energy saver. For example we selected the Xerox Copycentre C118 specifically because it was Energy Star compliant
  • Compliance with energy saving procedures and Environmental Policy written into staff contracts
  • We have doubled the amount of roof insulation in our offices and in May 2007 will be removing an un-insulated wood-frame wall with a fully insulated brick clad replacement
  • Five single glazed windows will be replaced with double glazed windows in May 2007.
  • We purchase electricity from providers that have environmental benefits: our current supplier is the RSPB Southern Electric scheme.
  • Our offices will be fitted with new air-conditioning units that will reduce our current energy consumption These have been selected with an energy rating of ‘B’ which means that they will qualify for the ‘Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme’ and although more costly to initially purchase are far more energy efficient.

Paper
One of our principle waste outputs is paper. We have taken the following action with paper products to ensure that we use less, reuse what can be reused and recycle the balance. We have taken the following steps in respect of paper use since the implementation of our environmental policy:

  • In past years the price of recycled copy paper was a considerable barrier when considering the switch from virgin products to a recycled content paper. However we have been able to source an 80% recycled paper that attracts only a £0.10 premium per ream. This has resulted in us switching all paper purchasing to the 80% recycled product and this is written into our purchasing instructions.
  • We have a central storage area for paper printed on a single side that is suitable for reuse in the fax machines or for draft print jobs.
  • Our main network printers are now duplex models and we have a policy to print duplex as a matter of course (two pages to a sheet where possible). The default settings on the printer are for duplex prints.
  • We strongly encourage our staff to not print documents unless it is absolutely necessary and to minimise the printing of unnecessary documents such as emails.
  • The office has paper specific recycling bins next to each printer and banks of desks. The confidential nature of our business necessitates that documents are shredded at end of use. We are now providing local animal owners with free shredded paper as bedding and encouraging them to compost the resultant waste.
  • Using track changes tools to correct and consult on documents can reduce the number of printed drafts. Small adjustments to our working lives make big impacts in the wider scheme of things.
  • We encourage staff to store documents only as electronic files and have invested in remote back-up facilities to ensure that they can do this with confidence.
  • We have adopted templates for standard report writing (unless specified by clients) using Tahoma 10 point and where possible single spacing.
  • Our reports are now always printed on recycled paper and we label this to encourage others to do so.
  • We have been able to successfully influence our clients to use recycled paper when producing hard copy questionnaires. Recently we have diverted in one project alone 80,000 sheets of paper into duplex printed, 80% recycled content paper and always encourage project leads to commission print with recycled content in mind and label documentation accordingly.
  • Cardboard is recycled at the local authority recycling amenity centre and compacted to reduce the number of times these items have to be transported.
  • We apply pressure to suppliers to reduce the amounts of non-recyclable packaging that accompanies delivered products and suppliers that produce excessive paper in relation to business practises. It is likely at this current time that we shall withdraw the use of one supplier due to the volume of paper produced via their invoicing processes.
  • We are investing wherever possible in integrating electronic systems that circumvent hard copy production in the research process.

Office furniture
Our office furniture needs are likely to increase given we are shortly expanding into a new space. The procurement of office furniture has environmental considerations and the reuse or recycling of existing furniture is an issue that we take seriously. We have taken the following steps in respect of office furniture since the implementation of our environmental policy:

  • We are committed to use our procurement procedures to source office furniture from reputable suppliers who are committed to addressing the environmental issues involved in the production of furniture products. Where real wood is used it should come from sustainable sources and manufacturing processes should be conducted in a way that least impacts the environment. Where manufacture takes place outside of the UK we would expect assurances from the supplier that no exploitation of child labour or unethical working practices are involved at any stage of the manufacturing process.
  • At end of life office furniture will be offered to organisations seeking reuse such as charities or recycling organisations.
  • Where possible we shall source office furniture from recycled materials, although the market for these products is small currently. We have purchased second-hand office furniture from other organisations and will continue to look to reuse rather than purchase new products wherever possible.

Consumables
Print, photocopier and other consumables are a major item of expenditure and in terms of volume is a significant contributor to our environmental impacts. We have taken the following steps in respect of print consumables since the implementation of our environmental policy:

  • The use of consumables in printers, photocopiers and faxes provides a great opportunity to take recycling forward. As well as the national arrangement by manufacturers, many small local suppliers are now able to supply recycling/refilling services and wherever possible we will reuse consumables via these contacts. When we are not able to identify a source of reuse we will forward the empty consumable bodies to charities or schools for recycling.
  • We have sourced local suppliers that are able to recycle empty toner cartridges and stockpile these for a regular collection and refilling service. There are additional savings in terms of the purchase cost of refilled toner and we recently selected a HP printer mainly because we knew we could obtain high quality recycled cartridges from our preferred supplier. As this was a significant investment we feel that this is the proof of our active engagement in environmental purchasing rather than being driven on a cost basis alone.

Waste and recycling
The UK’s approach to domestic waste is unsustainable as most waste produced in the UK goes to landfill, but sites are rapidly filling up and EU legislation means that this will be impossible to sustain. Householders and businesses alike will have to take responsibility for segregation of waste streams and diverting recyclable materials into reclamation schemes. We have taken the following steps in respect of waste and recycling since the implementation of our environmental policy:

  • Our office staff recycle aluminium cans in dedicated receptacles – these are stockpiled until a trip to the local civic amenity site become practical.
  • Food waste, teabags, shredded cardboard packaging and coffee grounds are home composted via WRAP supplied compost bins. There are kitchen caddy receptacles in the office kitchen that are emptied weekly.
  • Newspapers are collected and recycled at the civic amenity sites.
  • Computer and electrical equipment is recycled at end of life via civic amenity site.
  • Cardboard is recycled at the local authority recycling amenity centre and compacted to reduce the number of times these items have to be transported.
  • In addition we will encourage our staff to be aware of the environmental impact of waste and to actively support local recycling schemes and home compost.

Transport
Congestion is a huge problem in the UK and emissions from transport is a real issue for the environment. However making decisions on transport isn’t always easy as some car journeys are necessary for business and personal use especially in rural areas. However there are simpler things that can be done to reduce the influence of transport on the environment and we have taken the following steps in respect of transport issues since the implementation of our environmental policy:

  • Where possible public transport should be used for business travel, the train being preferred. Travel by single occupancy vehicles is not encouraged unless necessary due to location or carrying capacity requirements.
  • Staff are encouraged to car share and this is frequently taken up; particularly as we have incorporated this into bonus arrangements.
  • Staff that travel by bike are financially encouraged by bonus incentives (although our offices are quite rural so this is not often taken up).
  • We have invested in video conferencing facilities and use these to communicate with clients where this technology is available.
  • Air travel is not encouraged unless strictly necessary and we tend to move groups of researchers via minibus where possible.
  • We communicate with staff and visitors about the Carbon costs of various transport options so that they can make an informed decision that supports our environmental objectives. The following table is displayed in our reception area:

    HOW GREEN IS YOUR TRANSPORT CHOICE TODAY?

Transport Mode

CO2

C, Carbon

NOx

Particulates

Car

Petrol

298

81

0.95

0.10

Diesel

225

61

2.22

0.30

Hybrid

200

55

0.3

n/a

Rail

116

32

n/a

n/a

Air

340

93

0.70

n/a

Taxi

357

97

2.43

0.66

Coach / Bus

90

25

0.3

0.03

Tube

171

47

0.12

n/a

Staff community projects
We will seek to encourage awareness of environmental issues amongst our staff and support initiatives that our staff may suggest in reducing our environmental impact. Exodus Research has recently joined the local TENONS environmental campaign group and hopes to have a role in persuading other businesses in the area to reduce, reuse and recycle. In addition, we encourage and support our staff taking part in environmental activities in the community.

General procurement policy
Where alternatives exist for the purchase of recycled materials, products and services at a reasonable cost we will choose the recycled option. We have recently purchased recycled office pens, specified recycled concrete scalpings for a new hard standing area foundation, committed to changing all copy paper to 80% recycled and purchase recycled content tissue products for the office. We anticipate that as more recycled content products become available that sourcing alternatives will become easier in a wider number of products.

Water consumption

The office does not use a large amount of water but there are some simple means of reducing consumption further. Firstly we have installed a HIPPO device in the toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water flushed down the WC.  Kettles are filled with enough for needs rather than to the top and washing mugs and plates is in a sink with plug rather than a dishwasher.

This is our second environmental report and it is anticipated that we will review this document in 2009 and summarise the further improvements that we have been able to make. This document is posted on our website and we encourage suppliers to examine the efforts that we are making and implement their own policies and take on board the message that good environmental performance is good business.