For the month of November, Green Economy London launched Workplace Green Up, a month-long engagement program full of sustainable activities that could be done at work or at home. Each week focused on one of these key areas: waste management, water reduction, environmental stewardship and energy and emissions. Not only did the Convertus team jump at the opportunity to participate, but they encouraged sites Canada-wide to make an extra effort this month to make choices that were good for them and the environment.
One of the sustainable activities suggested for this week included promoting a zero-waste lunch day. Since this is something Convertus encourages every day, nearly everyone in London participated and sent in pictures of their waste free lunches. All the sites are fortunate enough to have a kitchen available on-site equipped with dishes, silverware and organic waste bins to promote reduced and recycled waste. In addition to the labelled collection bins which make it easier for waste sorting, Convertus has labelled e-waste and battery collection bins to ensure these non-renewable materials are recycled and/or disposed of properly.
Convertus celebrated waste reduction by checking for and fixing leaky faucets, repurposing water, only running the dishwasher and washing machine when full and putting weighted water bottles in toilet tanks.
“Checking for leaks is something we do weekly at our site and repair right away.” Said Steve Capello, Maintenance Leader. “When it comes to repurposing water, we utilize process water to manage tunnel temperatures to encourage the further breakdown of organic waste. When this repurposed water is not available, we use the rainwater from our catchment ponds.”
As a business who’s focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and preserving finite resources, the protection, conservation and sustainability of the natural environment is aligned with our purpose to build a sustainable future. One of the activities for this week, “Use environmentally friendly cleaning products” is something, Convertus has been working on transitioning to over the past year where possible, to lessen water pollution, air pollution and climate change.
What’s more, teams in London, Ottawa, Surrey and Nanaimo came together to practice Environmental Stewardship by cleaning up litter in their neighbourhoods. “This seems to be one of the favorite sustainable activities across sites.” said Ann-Marie Cooper, Communications Advisor, “We’ve been doing neighbourhood clean-ups for a few years now, and there’s always high engagement across sites. The teams enjoy the exercise and cleaning up the surrounding neighbourhoods. It’s been quite interesting, but disappointing to see what people litter. We’ve found paint cans, carpets and even full beer cans thrown on the side of the road.”
For the final week of Workplace Green Up, Convertus had a friendly competition at London offices to see who had the lowest carbon footprint. The results indicated that travel emissions often scored the highest, which is something mitigated by encouraging alternative transportation or work-from-home arrangements where possible.
Offices are generally set to 20°C – 22°C, but this week’s activities prompted us to start reducing the temperature to 17°C – 19°C when shutting down the offices each day to reduce the amount of GHG emissions omitted due to electricity generation.
Workplace Green Up and Beyond
Over the years, Convertus has made a number of commitments to address environmental issues through advocacy, education and activism outside of our everyday operations. “Green Economy London’s Workplace Green Up challenged and inspired us to find new and different ways to operate sustainably and continue being a sustainability leader” said Cooper.