Sustainability at the Office

25 06 2007

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Kemp Edwards doesn’t work in a particularly sustainable industry. He’s the International Sales Manager for Arson & Orb, a popular clothing company outfitting the style-conscious outdoor set, and they aren’t exactly using hemp in their manufacturing if you know what I mean. 

But after a steady simmer of environmental interest, Kemp’s awareness hit a personal tipping point and he decided that he wanted to start making a difference outside of his own personal habits. Understanding that he was somewhat limited in immediately affecting the overall practices in the manufacturing and shipping of the clothes he presided over, he decided to start from the inside, leading the environmental charge at Arson & Orb’s head office.  

Kemp started off with the basics including switching all of the light bulbs in the office to energy saver bulbs and mandating that all printing be done on both sides of the sheet as well as using the toner saver setting. With a few more policies in place, it didn’t take long before his coworkers started to buy in. “I have started to notice that people have begun turning off lights in rooms that aren’t in use, the fans are being turned off in the bathrooms rather than left to run all day, people are recycling more than ever, re-using sheets of paper that misprinted, not cranking up the heat and leaving the door open etc. Also, it doesn’t take long to see the cost benefits of a lot of these practices. Printing on both sides of the sheet, for example, basically halves your paper costs.”  

Kemp’s interest soon evolved into a sustainability committee which he now leads and has generated enthusiasm from senior management. What started out as an internal project has now flowed over into the business practices of the company. “We’ve mandated that all of the factories that we work with must use low density polyethylene polybags bags and our preference is for a minimum of 10% post consumer content. We’re also in the process of reducing packaging by half on all clothing shipments from Spring 08 onwards.”

Kemp says that this is just the beginning of sustainable practices for Arson&Orb. “The committee is more than a trend, it’s an avenue to start to drive more environmentally responsible decision making within the company. We understand that sustainability is not just a fad; it’s forward thinking.” 

Kemp’s passion proves that small changes on the office front can lead to bigger ones on the business front. Gil Yaron, Owner of Frogfile.ca, a sustainable office supply retailer has seen his business increase 700% since last year. He attributes a lot of this growth to the individual in the office who champions environmental sustainability. “It just takes that one person who is passionate about making changes. The trickle effect can turn into a tidal wave of change as office policies turn into business practices.” 

Kemp knows Arson & Orb has a long road ahead of them; “We are in no way leading the way in our environmental push, but we are committed to positive change. An unexpected bonus is the boost to staff morale and the overall feeling that we are moving in the right direction.” 

Here’s a full list of Kemp’s office initiatives that you can take to your own:  

  1. Switched over all light bulbs in the office to energy saver bulbs
  2. Replaced our warehouse lights to something more energy efficient
  3. Recycle all paper towel in the bathrooms
  4. We have greatly reduced paper consumption by mandating that all printing be done in duplex (both sides of the sheet) in black and white and on the toner saver setting.
  5. We have made a commitment to only purchasing environmentally friendly products whenever possible (ie: recycled paper towel, 7th generation cleaning products etc…)
  6. We have organized car pools and bike to work programs for our staff.  
  7. Implemented the “Lug-a-Mug” Challenge – a donation is required for every time you arrive to the office with a paper coffee cup. These donations will be used to purchase carbon offset ‘points’ at the end of the fiscal year.

  

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One response

17 07 2007
Tunabear

Wow…..that Kemp guy sounds like a stellar human being. Good work Kemp! Being in the environmental industry myself, I can appreciate the effort it takes to start making people take notice of their actions.

FYI – Kemp, your picture looks familiar….do I know you 🙂

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