loader image
#TogetherAtHome: Connect and Reflect

#TogetherAtHome: Connect and Reflect

Community and connection have always been basic needs for us as individuals and for society as a whole. Like many other companies, The Planet Mark took the decision to work remotely earlier last week. Although this is not a huge shift for our team, as we have supported flexible working for a long time, we are aware that not everyone is in this position. From our homes to yours, we want to share a handful of our thoughts on how to keep building communities and remain well connected.

What does business as usual look like now?

  • Technology – the thing that everyone is talking about. It forms a fundamental part of our everyday lives whether we like it or not. With a history riddled with issues and problems, technology also enables life to flourish when used wisely. Technology has undoubtedly helped businesses connect and build relationships where there were none before. Today, we are seeing this in action as businesses are using forms of technology to reinforce strong communities to support one another and establish new revenues of growth.
  • Enjoy a little bit of accountability. When you are not sitting next to each other on a regular basis, communication is key to building trust amongst many other positive team characteristics. By holding regular and structured meetings, teams can boost solidarity by staying connected and remaining well informed of how individuals and their respective projects are doing.
  • Reflect on your company culture. Does your business promote a supportive, inclusive and encouraging company culture? Invest the time in enabling your employees and colleagues to shine by using their individual strengths to support one another and bring a little fun to the workplace, even when you might not be in your usual place of work.
  • Have a laugh. Laughter is good for the soul. It raises spirits and connects us to those around us in a way nothing else quite can. Those video calls can be quite entertaining. I think we can all recall one or two of those calls which didn’t go to plan but lifted our spirits.

How can we look out for those near and far from us?

  • Pick up the phone. It really is that simple. We understand this is by no means the same as quality face to face conversations, but FaceTime, Zoom, Skype (the list goes on) can really help elevate conversations just by being able to see and read the other person. We must make room for others.
  • Honesty is, and always has been, the best policy. To take care of one another best we also need to take good care of ourselves and have regular self-checks. Times like these can be lonely for some, they can cause great stress and create radical changes in how we live our lives. Let’s all try and be honest to ourselves and to others.
  • Say hello, crack a joke and let people know you are thankful. An elderly gentleman gave me a cheery hello (from across the street) this morning and it honestly made my day. Those little moments can seem like nothing to one person but can make the world of difference to others. Lift your head up, look out for those around you and be available to the communities that live, work and play around you.
Rowlinson Knitwear Recognised for Transforming the Lives of Its Overseas Workers

Rowlinson Knitwear Recognised for Transforming the Lives of Its Overseas Workers

An independent survey by social impact company 60 Decibels has revealed Rowlinson Knitwear’s positive impact on workers’ health and wellbeing, economic status, workplace safety, worker satisfaction and quality of life.

Commissioned by the UK Department for International Development and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), 60 Decibels conducted telephone interviews with workers at New Horizon Bangladesh, the largest supplier to employee owned Rowlinson. The results confirm the positive impact of the school wear manufacturer’s ethical practices on workers’ health and wellbeing, economic status, workplace safety, worker satisfaction and quality of life.

Ken Edgar, Overseas Director at Rowlinson, commented: “We’re really proud that our ethical approach is helping to make life better for the skilled people who make our garments. We want all workers in our supply chain to be safe, well paid and healthy, because it’s right to demonstrate care for customers, colleagues, suppliers and factory workers alike. Being kind and doing good is in our DNA, as we strive to shape a more caring and environmentally-conscious economy for everyone.”

Rowlinson Knitwear Impact Survey Results:

Water Filter Initiative: Rowlinson has gifted over 730 large domestic water filters safeguarding the health of workers, their families and friends who might otherwise be at risk from drinking contaminated water. As a result, sickness is 47% lower, workers spend 46% less on medical costs and absenteeism is 39% lower. An ongoing initiative, qualifying employees also receive an annual replacement water filter kit to maintain their health and wellbeing.

 A Safe Workplace: Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a recognised gauge of satisfaction and loyalty, with a score above 50 considered excellent. The NPS among all workers at New Horizon is 58. The NPS among female workers at New Horizon is an outstanding 81. By contrast, 10% of female garment factory workers in Bangladesh are subjected to sexual harassment, molestation and assault in the workplace*

 Quality of Life: 90% of workers say working at New Horizon has improved or much improved their quality of life. They attribute this to better health, feeling safe, being paid more, being supported in the workplace, and not having to work overtime.

Rowlinson Knitwear achieved certification to The Planet Mark in 2018 and in doing so committed to reducing its carbon footprint, engaging its employees and communicating its results. 

The Planet Mark, founded in 2013 with the iconic Eden Project is a sustainability certification which recognises continuous improvements, encourages action, and builds an empowered community of like-minded individuals.

 

A message from our CEO, Steve: Let’s keep positive; we are in this together.

A message from our CEO, Steve: Let’s keep positive; we are in this together.

Whenever there is a crisis, I am always awe struck by those that go out of their way to help others. Recently, I’ve seen neighbours sharing groceries, businesses offering helpful services, and communities singing together to keep spirits up. Likewise, we want to do everything we can to ensure we are helping you throughout these uncertain times.

We’re keeping a close eye on government advice and taking actions to keep our community and staff healthy. We have therefore decided to postpone our events, workshops and presentations for the time being. In the coming days, we will let you know about the fantastic digital solutions we will use to continue presentations online, run engaging workshops and manage an online community to share best practice. Our certification team is working non-stop to turn around The Planet Mark certificates and our communications team are producing content to keep your staff connected, motivated and positive. In our bi-weekly sustainability news roundup, we will share your positive stories. From virtual team drinks to the unique services you are offering your customers, so please let us know how your business is helping your staff and wider community.

We all share the same vision to create a thriving planet. The climate crisis remains a global challenge we must address, along with the current social and health crisis. We at The Planet Mark will continue to bring out the best in people, technology and nature to tackle both these issues. Our goal is to help you become more resilient and sustainable to our changing world. We will all be affected by the coronavirus in some way, be it personally or in business, so please let us know how The Planet Mark can help you. Together we are a collective force for good.

With best wishes and love,  

Steve  

#TogetherAtHome: 5 tips to turn isolation into integration

#TogetherAtHome: 5 tips to turn isolation into integration

Change is never easy, but the precautions we must take are important for everyone’s health. Many companies around the globe are rolling out mandatory working from home and we know this is new for many people, so we wanted to share some of our experiences in staying productive, connected and happy whilst ‘WFH’. 

Business as usual: 
When working in an office, your morning commute can help you acclimatise and give you time to ready yourself. At home however, the transition from duvet to desk can be a little more abrupt. 

  • Stick to your routine by waking up at the normal time, having breakfast and getting dressed properly (no pj procrastination!) 
  • Fill in your commute time by doing morning exercise, reading or call a friend. 
  • Be sure to start work on a normal schedule in a place in your house you can focus. 

Crank up the Communication:
In the office, overhearing a conversations or bouncing ideas off one another often lead to the best ideas and a lot of social interaction. There are ways to continue this at home. 

  • Make remote conversations as ‘rich’ as possible by using video calls so you can better read people. 
  • Make virtual coffee breaks with colleagues to keep up social satisfaction. 
  • Try virtual ‘body doubling’. Connect with a colleague via a video call and both work ‘live’ on your own project. 

Be realistic about your goals: 
Don’t fall into the trap of being over-ambitious. 

  • Create a priority sheet at the start of the day and work pragmatically towards achieving it. 
  • Leave your desk for breaks and take advantage of being at home to relax for half an hour in the afternoon. 
  • Make sure you make time to make substantial meals and drink water regularly. Snacking throughout the day can lead to an afternoon energy slump. 

Design your space: 
Do your best to separate your workspace from your living space. 

  • Find a location in your home that you can only use for work during the day, hopefully with plenty of natural light 
  • Have a comfortable chair, table and quiet space to be able to do focused work 

Bookend your day:
When your office is also your home, it can be difficult to know when your working day is “done.” 

  • Once the working day is up, put the laptop down. 
  • Plan your evening activities to ensure you stop working. 

 

 

Womble Bond Dickinson cuts carbon by 15% and achieves Planet Mark certification

Womble Bond Dickinson cuts carbon by 15% and achieves Planet Mark certification

Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD), a Top 20 UK law firm, has achieved certification to The Planet Mark for the third year running and reported significant reductions in its carbon footprint.

This is WBD’s third year of business carbon footprint reporting and certification to The Planet Mark. WBD’s total carbon footprint in the year ending December 2019 was 1,586.6 tCO2e, an impressive decrease of 14.9% from the year ending 2018. The relative carbon footprint was 1.25 tCO2e per employee, a decrease of 17.4% compared to the year ending 2018.

Electricity emissions decreased by 23% and travel emissions decreased by 7%. This year’s carbon footprint includes emissions from energy use in the building (natural gas and purchased electricity), emissions from fuel used by the vehicle fleet, from business travel, refrigerant, and from water and paper used in its eight UK offices.

Steve Malkin, CEO of Planet First and co-founder of The Planet Mark, commented: “It’s a great pleasure to see WBD’s success in reducing carbon this year. With more than 1200 staff and offices across the country, the firm’s efforts to reduce emissions have real impact. Their incredible efforts this year have saved the carbon equivalent of 226 return flights from London to New York, setting a stellar example for an industry that is perfectly placed to influence the wider world.”

Simon Richardson, UK Chairman at WBD commented: “We want to be a socially aware and ethical business and this includes minimising the negative impact of our firm on the environment. We’re firmly committed to enhancing our environmental performance and are involved in a range of initiatives to find sustainable ways to bolster our green credentials.”

“We’re delighted to have received the Planet Mark certification for the third year running; cutting our carbon emissions down by 15% is a great achievement and a tribute to the efforts put in by all our people across our eight UK offices. We’ve seen an impressive 17% drop in the carbon footprint by employee which just goes to show how important the green agenda has become to us all. Whether this is at work or at home, we all want to adopt more environmentally sustainable behaviour.”

As well as working with The Planet Mark, WBD is a member of the Legal Sustainability Alliance, and takes every opportunity to align environmental strategies with its clients and suppliers. The firm has set up five obtainable environmental targets to complete by the end of 2020, ranging from eradicating plastics from the working environment and making efficiency measures in the firm’s offices. WBD also recently won the Award for Sustainability at the LexisNexis Legal Awards 2020.

Certification to The Planet Mark is based on the commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability in its business operations by measuring and reducing its carbon footprint by 5% annually and engaging its stakeholders.

Sustainability within law firms has an array of benefits. Beyond the global need to reduce emissions, sustainable practice in the legal industry can help cut operational costs, meet the demands of forward-thinking clients and help with the retention and attraction of the best quality staff. As society embarks on a decade of climate action, law must be at the forefront of any progress made.

The Planet Mark’s three-step process to certification:

Measure – The Planet Mark certification team conducts a robust measurement of carbon across scopes 1, 2 and 3, compiling a report that complies with global protocols.

Engage – Secondly, The Planet Mark helps engage staff to unlock their knowledge and drive passion for change.

Communicate – The programme provides tools to communicate progress, influence others and build a positive brand.

Five easy steps to help you manage your carbon footprint

Five easy steps to help you manage your carbon footprint

 As a sustainability consultant for The Planet Mark, I have delivered a wide variety of carbon footprints. Given the scale of the climate challenge and the rising expectations of citizens, 2020-2030 must be a decade of climate action where everybody’s bought in. This year alone, we will be issuing hundreds of certifications covering everything from small businesses consisting of a three-person team working out of one room to carbon footprints for large businesses consisting of thousands of employees, and numerous multi-story office locations. 

No matter the size of your organisation, or the sector it operates in, these five easy steps will help you manage your carbon footprint: 

  1. Assign high-level and operational ownership 

For any project to be successfully delivered someone has to be responsible for it. Lack of ownership is where the green agenda often fails before it’s even got started. Carbon footprinting should be supported by two main green champions – one should be a high-level executive, who can inspire and demand company-wide commitment to the project, and the other should be someone at the operational level, who can project manage the data collection, liaise between various stakeholders and act as the main point of contact. 

  1. Decide what to measure 

Determine your organisational and operational scope, i.e. which sites and which activities you want to include in your carbon footprint. Consider how important various activities are in your organisation and how you can use the information to make reductions and improvements. Most carbon footprint reports include electricity and natural gas consumption, fuel used by company owned vehicles, waste, water and business travel. You should also decide on your reporting period, which we recommend you should try and match with your financial reporting year.  

  1. Embed carbon accounting in your monthly routine 

Data collection does not have to be difficult, so long as you create a structured plan to carry out throughout the year ahead. Best practices include: 

  • For utilities data – take meter readings on the last day of each month and record on a spreadsheet the meter number, the date the reading was taken, the reading and the unit
  • For waste data – ask your waste company for a monthly report with the weight of general waste and recycling collected. Alternatively, record on a spreadsheet the size of central waste bins for general waste and for recycling and the dates they are being collected
  • For fleet fuel data – issue a fuel card to be used for each refill
  • For business travel data – ask your accounts department to categorise monthly travel based on mode of travel (air, rail, hired vehicle) and to calculate distance travelled for each claim. 

 Know what affects your carbon footprint 

Keep track of any sustainability activities that took place during your reporting period and of any significant events that affects the organisation, such as new assets, such as buildings, major renovations, business growth, etc. 

  1. Communicate report and next steps 

There are a number of ways to report your carbon footprint. Some companies do so as part of their annual report, but you can also do so via a separate corporate responsibility / sustainability report, or simply by publishing it on your website, for example. It is good practice to have your emissions data externally verified in order to ensure accuracy and confidence in your measuring and reporting. 

Your carbon footprint report should also include reduction targets. These don’t need to be ambitious, but you should set targets that are going to stretch you beyond the business as usual and it’s a good idea to set new ones on a regular basis.  

The Planet Mark is a sustainability certification which recognises continuous improvements, encourages action, and builds an empowered community of like-minded individuals. On average, Planet Mark-certified organisations are cutting their carbon footprint by 5% per employee per annum. Find out more.