Environmental Care Policy

Introduction

Our planet is fragile, and the earth’s environment is under severe stress from uncontrolled human activity, threatening the survival of our society.

Ecolateral acknowledges that we must work to preserve the environmental sustainability of the planet, at all levels of our operations – in its own practice, as a participant in a community of practice, and as a participant in the Australian social discourse.

We seek to minimise our impact on the environment and maximise the effective use of resources. We strive to achieve this by increasing communication and awareness of our efforts in accordance with this policy and fostering responsible environmental behaviour amongst staff, volunteers, contractors and community members at all levels.

Policy Details

  1. Ecolateral commits to minimising its impact on our environment through:
    1. Providing a safe and healthful workplace;
    2. Having an environmentally sustainable aware culture, where responsibility is assigned and understood;
    3. Being an environmentally responsible neighbour in our community;
    4. Conserving natural resources by reusing and recycling;
    5. Using, in our own operations, processes that do not adversely affect the environment;
    6. Ensuring the responsible use of energy throughout the organisation;
    7. Participating in efforts to improve environmental protection and understanding;
    8. Taking steps to improve environmental performance continually;
    9. Conducting evaluations and self-assessments of this policy;
    10. Working with suppliers who promote sound environmental practices; and
    11. Enhancing awareness among our employees, contractors, and community – educating and motivating them to act in an environmentally responsible manner. 
  2. Goals and commitments  
    1. As a first step towards creating goals, we commit to keeping track of our travel, power use, resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, over a number of activities within the business.
    2. We commit to monitoring these numbers at six monthly intervals and to sharing our findings and calculations publicly.
    3. We commit to working to reduce our emissions by 5% each year. 
  3. Energy, pollution and raw materials
    1. We use all reasonable endeavors to conserve energy by improving energy efficiency and giving preference to renewable over non-renewable energy sources when feasible.
    2. We use all reasonable endeavors to minimise materials and energy use, prevent air, water, and other pollution, and dispose of waste safely and responsibly.
    3. We strive to, to the best of our ability, calculate our greenhouse gas emissions for each six months of operations, and purchase certified carbon credits to offset as much as possible.
    4. We will report the amount we are able to offset and reasons behind it publicly. 
  4.  Buying materials and supplies
    1. Where possible, we encourage everyone to purchase recycled and environmentally friendly products. This includes:
      1. Recycled paper and other stationery products
      2. Environmentally safe cleaning products
      3. Electrical devices with the highest possible energy ratings
      4. Reusable products over single use products
    2. Some environmentally-friendly vendors in Australia include: 
  5.  Disposing of materials and supplies
    1. Resources for South Australia 
      1. E-Waste
      2. General Recycling 
      3. Stationery – each store is equipped with waste separation and recycling facilities.
      1. Business Supplies Recycling
      2. Planet Ark – recycling information and drops off locations
    2. If you’re unsure how to recycle or dispose of something, chat to Ecolateral management and we can provide you with suggestions and help. 
  6.  Home office stewardship
    1. We encourage everyone who uses a home office, or periodically works from home, to follow the same practices listed in this policy.
    2. We also suggest reading up on ways you can make your home office more energy efficient and environmentally-friendly. 
      1. Energy saving tips for your home office
      2. 10 tips to make your office more environmentally friendly
  7.  Transport and travel
    1. We encourage everyone to use public transportation, cycling, or walking routes to and from work, and for meetings during the day. 
    2. We encourage everyone to use virtual meeting technology to reduce in person meetings.
    3. In the following circumstances, we consider it appropriate to travel: 
      1. When there is an event that requires the whole team to be together (for example, face to face team meetings and team wide celebrations). 
      2. When there is a need to spend at least six hours or more with people or teams in another city (for example, to speak at or attend a conference). 
      3. If it is a sales trip, the traveller needs to have at least 3 confirmed meetings with people at the other end
    4. As a rule of thumb, If it’s for an internal meeting, generally the smallest group of people do the travelling.
    5. When travelling with Ecolateral, we encourage everyone to offset their carbon emissions if it’s available to do so when booking flights.
    6. We also encourage everyone to look for hotels and places of accommodation that share our values on sustainability (some ideas to consider can be viewed here). 
  8.  On tea and coffee
    1. We encourage everyone to use reusable coffee cups over disposable cups, or even better, to sit and enjoy their beverage of choice in the shop while taking a moment to relax.
  9. Running events
    1. We try as much as possible to reduce waste at events and workshops we run. This includes
      1. Encouraging people to bring reusable water bottles and coffee cups
      2. Reducing single-use cutlery and dishware (by bringing our own or using what’s available at the venue)
      3. Reducing plastics (e.g. in merchandise or supplies)
      4. Printing only what is necessary
      5. Choosing environmentally friendly products
      6. Selecting vegetarian or vegan options for catering
      7. Partnering with local suppliers who have good practices around sustainability, as per our supplier policy
    2. Further readings for inspiration can be found below. 
      1. https://www.1millionwomen.com.au/blog/we-organised-conference-570-people-without-using-plastic-heres-how-it-went/ 
  10. Merchandise
    1. We commit to purchasing merchandise that is sustainably made, again partnering with local suppliers who have good practices around sustainability, as per our supplier policy

Contact

Give details about how people can get in touch to make suggestions or changes. 

E.g. If you have a question or suggestion about this document, please contact us here. We love hearing from people on ways we can make our policies better or easier to digest. 

Review Details

This policy was last updated and reviewed in July 2020.
This policy was adopted by Code for Australia in July 2020.