Being responsible while taking responsibility

Being responsible while taking responsibility

More and more often, organisations are forced to account for their actions and progress on their sustainability and circularity. Why? Because of several reasons. First of all, from a legal perspective, climate goals have been set for companies to meet. Besides that, the public opinion demands companies to act responsibly with regards to sustainability and the circularity of their company, and because – not unimportant in these times of scarcity of good personnel – transparency and accountability for sustainability have become important choice criteria for the current generation whether or not to choose an employer.

For all the above-mentioned reasons, an organisation, therefore, has every interest in being accountable for sustainability and circularity. How much CO₂ does the organisation save per year by switching to electric driving, by saving energy and by reusing its furniture?

Where the first two questions can be answered quite easily, the third question involves a few more snags. Before your organization can make a decision about the possible reuse of furniture, you first need to know how much of everything is present in your office and when that furniture has been purchased. And even after that you are not yet done. You need to have the maintenance information in order as well. What furniture is still useable and what needs replacement. How much of the furniture can be reused or renovated, and how much is ready to get rid of.

To make such an inventory is quite the operation, but once this has been completed, it will bring a lot of value. Not only will it bring a basis for a multi-year maintenance plan, including possible savings on purchases, but it will also give insights into the reduction levels of Co2, which immediately shows the contribution of your company to the legal climate goals.

According to the public publication by CE Delft named “Footprint sustainable business management, Central Government” from 2017, it appears that 95% of the climate impact of the office category is determined by furniture. The remaining 5% is largely attributable to the floor covering and a small part to the paint.

The office chairs, in particular, are responsible for the greatest impact. This example of the central government is illustrative of office-based organisations in general.

And if we dive even further into this publication, we can clearly see the differences in climate impact between purchasing new furniture and refurbished. Amazing differences that still lead to “no brainer” decision makings.

The figures in the above table look like dry figures at first glance, but they are actually quickly convertible to more appealing images such as kilometres of train or air travel, or growth years of trees. Data that is actually quite usable and does it well in public opinion and towards new employees.