02 Aug 2022
Reducing BVA’s carbon footprint
20 Jul 2022 | Darren Fahy
Considering your choice of suppliers is important when working to reduce your carbon footprint, so BVA aims to work with those who have strong green credentials. In this article, BVA’s Facilities Manager Darren Fahy shares some examples of the suppliers we work with and why.
One of the key commitments in our environmental policy is to calculate BVA’s Carbon Footprint and identify ways to reduce this.
We’ve already worked hard to save energy, including through use of energy efficient lights and devices, our sustainable travel policy, and energy saving behaviours such taking the stairs instead of the lift. But as everything we buy and the services we use also have a carbon footprint, to really reduce our impact, we also need to think about the suppliers we work with. So, we look to work with partners who share our environmental and green goals - we wouldn’t want to undo all our good work by teaming up with less ethical companies.
The Facilities department work with several contractors and suppliers with strong green credentials to their name. Here some examples of the of the suppliers we work with and why.
Perhaps the most obvious choice of supplier that can help to reduce your carbon footprint is your energy provider.
We switched to Ecotricty for our electricity and gas contracts recently, so we now have a carbon neutral gas supply being, and 100% renewable and vegan electricity.
You can find out about other green energy suppliers on switching services such as Green Energy Switch
How waste is handled can make a huge impact on your carbon footprint. We use a few different schemes at BVA to help manage ours as efficiently as possible:
- Paper Round – we use Paper Round for our recycling needs, from monthly collections, to purchasing sustainable stationery and catering products and everything in between. Each month BVA recycle as much as possible ranging from cardboard, batteries, flexible plastics, crisp and chocolate wrappers, and toners. On the Paper Round members portal sits a host of sustainable info, including blogs, videos, resources, posters etc. We can download our monthly recycling reports and share these figures with staff each month via our internal green calendar
- First Mile – we use First Mile for our general waste. First Mile operate a Zero to landfill policy, as the non-recyclable waste is safely incinerated, creating renewable energy that is used to power homes and businesses. In fact, each bag of general waste generates enough hot water for approx. 7 showers. We also recycle coffee grounds with First Mile, and in conjunction with Bio-Bean the coffee grounds are converted into carbon neutral biofuels (biomass pellets for industrial use and coffee logs for stoves).
- Pink Hygiene – BVA use Pink Hygiene for our washroom services. None of the waste collected from site is sent to landfill, instead it is incinerated and turned into a renewable fuel source which helps powers a local hospital. A portion of the annual contract sum is donated to the charity Breast Cancer Now.
In 2016 BVA produced a food procurement policy which we ensure all our suppliers and caterers adhere to. The policy covers a wide range of areas including:
- Eggs – British and free range (RSPCA Assured whenever possible)
- Beef and lamb – British (Red Tractor)
- Chicken – British (Red Tractor) and free range and/or RSPCA Assured
- Pork and other meat from pigs – British (Red Tractor) and either free range, outdoor reared, or outdoor bred (all RSPCA Assured whenever possible)
- Farmed fish – British and RSPCA Assured
- Milk/dairy – British (Red Tractor; RSPCA Assured when available)
- Fish (if not farmed) – Marine Stewardship Council assured
As well as assuring higher welfare standards during an animal’s life, the principles above ensure that animals are stunned before slaughter, which is essential to ensure a humane death.
We also make sure seasonal and local food sourced whenever possible, and products such as tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate and fruit are certified as Rainforest Alliance or Fairtrade.
We use this policy and a dedicated checklist to ensure any potential suppliers and caterers share the same values as us. Existing caterers produce their values certificates each year to show they commit to the various schemes within the policy
We also support and campaign on the principle of #LessAndBetter, which sees some people reducing their overall consumption of animal-derived products, while maintaining their proportional spend on these products within their household food budget.
Engaging the team
We work hard to keep all BVA team member engaged and on board with our journey to be greener, so our dedicated green group share regular updates and facts about our suppliers through bi-annual newsletters, staff workshop presentations, and monthly green calendars. Showcasing the positive work of our suppliers is a great way to keep everyone feeling positive and wanting to their bit to help.
We are now proud to have a Silver iiE accreditation and are working towards the Green level. As part of this we will produce a green procurement policy, to help us put extra checks in place and ensure we continue to work with responsible suppliers and contractors.
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