The Elephant in the Room
This post is going to be a little different.
I’ve written a lot of articles from the point of view of the company. However, today I am writing about something a little closer to my heart. Something from my personal perspective.
Today I am going to be writing about the importance of being good.
Not how we behave at work. Not even talking about how we interact with each other (although that is definitely part of it). I’m talking about the wider ethical picture. How we as individuals can have a knock-on effect on the companies we work for. And how that can influence and impact on the wider world.
I’m probably not the only person to have wondered about the fact that the entire world of digital is utterly dependent on electricity. The simple fact is that if the power goes out then pretty much everything we do vanishes. All we are left with is a surprising number of post-its.
The obvious issue here is that generating electricity has an impact on the wider world. Climate change is undeniably happening, and 87% of carbon emissions are caused by burning of fossil fuels. Much of which is produced by power plants across the world.
The elephant in the room is that everything we do therefore has a knock-on effect on the world around us, simply by existing. It’s not enough to rely on government initiatives. We need to look at how we can mitigate our impact on our environment ourselves.
Earlier we looked at how Microsoft are making a real effort to mitigate their carbon footprint. They have a complex and detailed system to calculate the specific impact of every aspect of their business and then exactly what they have to do to specifically offset it.
I’m not suggesting that you should go to those lengths, I know we don’t. But there are lots of things you can do that aren’t that complex.
Wirehive is in the process of moving offices. We have outgrown our current home, and our growth shows no signs of slowing down right now. We think we’ve found a new place, but it needs a lot of work to make it properly Wirehive. This has given us a huge opportunity to do some things differently.
We already recycle a lot. There are recycling bins in the kitchen and through the office. We encourage our staff to try to reduce the amount of plastic we use, but there are a few things we don’t do as well as we’d like.
We have a large and well stocked drinks fridge for everyone to use. There are a variety of things in there; bottled water (still and sparkling), a variety of soft drinks and even beer. While this is great for those of us who spend a lot of time in the office it does lead to a large amount of waste. It’s possible to divert most of it into recycling, but by far the best option is not to generate the waste in the first place.
We already have a Billi tap for instant hot water, and are looking to fit one in the new offices. However Billi now do a tap that can supply Boiling water, chilled water, and even sparkling water. That would allow us to dispense with bottles entirely.
It’s a small step, but reducing the amount of single use plastic is something we feel very strongly about.
The other option that we are looking at is to install a postmix system. Still and sparkling water at the push of a button, with a variety of soft drinks as well. Having draft Diet Coke and/or Pepsi Max on tap would allow us to massively reduce the number of cans we get through. This would also have the knock-on effect of significantly reducing the size of fridge we would need to provide the same level of refreshment to our staff and visitors. Having a large fridge working away 24 hours a day will produce up to 200 kgs of carbon in a year. Add to this the impact from the refrigerants used in the manufacturing process and you have a number of very good reasons to ditch the fridge.
While we strongly encourage vehicle sharing, and are 100% committed to remote working, a company of our size in an out-of-town location has a lot of cars in the carpark on a daily basis.
The negative impact on the environment, both globally and locally from cars is well known, and so moving to a new office gives us the opportunity to install a number Electric Vehicle Charging Points.
Driving an electric car is already much cheaper than a traditional petrol or diesel car. But it gets even cheaper if you can charge it up for free at work.
These are just a few of the initiatives we are looking to implement internally at Wirehive over the next few months, but on top of these we have a very real opportunity to influence the wider community we exist within.
Wirehive 100 Awards
Wirehive has been running the Wirehive 100 Awards for some years now, and they have been growing and becoming more influential every year. We do a lot of work with a vast array of wonderful agencies around the country, and we wanted to give them an opportunity to showcase their work.
We’ve always tried to make the awards a genuine reflection of the work that was being done. It’s always been important that we never tried to influence and set the agenda. However, this year we made a conscious decision to attempt to do that for the first time.
After quite some thought we created a completely new award entitled “Agency for Good”. We knew there were some amazing projects being led by agencies, and in some cases there were agencies whose entire USP was their ethical basis. What we didn’t realise is quite how many there were.
We assumed we were influencing the agenda, but in actual fact we were already behind the curve. It clearly isn’t just us that are looking to “be good”. It is everyone. The award was one of the most hotly contested and the judges had a Herculean task trying to narrow down the entries. In the end they managed it, and whittled the shortlist down to seven agencies.
The world of digital is full of people and companies who are trying very hard to make a very real difference to the world they live in. Whether it is encouraging women to work in tech (how are we still so bad at this?), saving sea turtles in the pacific, or working with underprivileged young people in their local community there are all sorts of things happening.
It’s not enough to just sit smugly on our laurels though, we need to constantly strive for excellence in exactly the same way we do with our work.