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FILM: Greening A Business
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62 mins, 2007
In these case studies two very different organisations call in eco-auditor Donnachadh McCarthy to help them operate in a more environmentally sustainable way.
CASE STUDY 1: ESSEX FLOUR & GRAIN:
EFG is a food and drink wholesaler selling to schools, hospitals and other organisation. Boss Michael Spinks is a green enthusiast who wants to “do something worthwhile”.
Donnachadh tours the business and finds lots of problems. There are badly positioned radiators, plastic cups in the kitchen, fridges that are empty or too cold, the wrong kind of copier paper and toilets with the lights always on.
EFG isn’t recycling its waste either and a warehouse is using up huge amounts of electricity for lighting and heating to no good purpose. Donnachadh also takes issue with EFG’s product line – they sell bottled water imported from abroad instead of local products.
Donnachadh submits the findings of his eco-audit suggesting many changes. Twelve months later some improvements have been made. They’re recycling their waste, using bio-diesel in their trucks and switching the lights off in the toilets. They’ve also introduced more fair-traded and organic products – and UK bottled water.
But not everyone is cooperating with recycling the waste and one member of staff feels strongly they’re not getting enough support from the top to carry out the changes. Boss Michael Spinks is optimistic for future progress in his business – but less hopeful about the future of the planet.
CASE STUDY 2: MERTON VOLUNTARY SERVICE COUNCIL:
MVSC is an organisation funded by Merton council in south London to help voluntary groups. Donnachadh is called in to help them become greener.
He discovers a problematic water cooler, plastic cups, lights and computers wasting electricity, printers wasting paper, inefficient use of heating, and plastic bags in the rubbish bins. And they’re not using recycled paper.
But Donnachadh’s toughest problems are with the managers of the building in which MVSC is a tenant. Lights outside and inside the building are on when no one’s around. They don’t recycle their rubbish, there are toilets which are wasting water, and central heating that’s too hot or heating empty rooms. The building managers are sceptical whether they can make changes.
Six months later Donnachadh revisits MVSC. Progress has been made – they’re saving money as well as saving the planet. As well as recycling more paper and saving a lot by switching to double-sided printing, they’ve hired an organic caterer, who makes healthier, cheaper food. Even a sceptical building manager seems to have been converted to recycling.
But one big problem remains with the heating of the building – the loft needs insulating – and this is a big expense to meet.
Donnachadh has a meeting with staff who explain how much the greening of their business has inspired them and how they hope to influence the other organisations they work with. Donnachadh tells them they have made great progress – but it’s not enough.
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