Accountability - Environmental impact

May 15, 2019

2019 has seen the focus on sustainability soar, and here at Plant Designs we have really started to home in on our environmental impact. Whilst we may have been sharing different ways to increase sustainability across our social media platforms, we are the first to say this isn't enough to make a change, hence why we have created a new role in Plant Designs: Environmental Manager. This role has been filled by Dan, who you may have seen on our Meet the Team feature that rolls out on a Tuesday. We caught up with Dan, in between saving the world and acing his job as a horticulturist at Plant Designs, to find out more about his new role:  


What made you apply for the role of Environmental Manager at Plant Designs?  





Dan: I have always been interested in the impacts that humans have on the environment and how we can integrate ourselves as a species into ecosystems around us more seamlessly, so this role seemed like the perfect fit. 






What does your role new role entail? 


D: The role of Environmental Manager is to implement new ways for Plant Designs to be more environmentally conscious. For example, I have visited charities to work with, reached out to suppliers regarding the reuse of the packaging that they send our stock to us in, and am in regular contact with waste disposal services to ensure we are maximizing our recycling opportunities. 


What are the most important issue for you personally? 


D: The most important issue for me is plant wastage. Although this may not be the most environmentally impactful issue, it is still more so than meets the eye. This is due to the amount of time, resources and energy taken to get the plant to this stage in its life, which is then delivered to us and then delivered by us to its eventual home. I don’t like to then see these plants deteriorate, or even not make it out of the warehouse and remain as leftover stock as they are already so far into their life. 



What are the most important issues for Plant Designs? 

D: I think as a relatively small company a main issue for Plant Designs is ensuring that everything we do is done correctly, efficiently and in an informed way. This is everything from the initial design and planning of an install (selecting the correct plants and planters for the location) to the installation (correct planting and careful delivery.) If tasks need to be double or triple handled due to any errors along the way, this increases our time, energy and resource wastage.  


Other issues that are high priority for the company are appropriate waste disposal and the sourcing of our materials, such as compost and pebbles. 





We have recently invested in a new mini fleet of more environmentally conscious vans, work with a very proactive recycling company and try to rehome many second-hand plants or products. 







This is a new role for the company, and improving sustainability and implementing change is a process, so which issues will you tackle first? 


D: The initial issues are the most obvious ones such as: Are we disposing of our recyclable and biodegradable waste as effectively as possible? Are we using the most reliable suppliers, or products when it comes to sustainability? Are Plant Designs employees doing what they can on an individual level? 


Once these initial issues are addressed we can perhaps start looking deeper into the running of the company for more inventive ways to reduce our environmental impact. 


Any tips on how employees can make their company more environmentally conscious?  


D: We are at work for a large portion of our time, so if you are looking at becoming more environmentally conscious, making small lifestyle changes at work will help a lot. 

Also, if there’s anything that your company is or isn’t doing to do with environmental issues that you have an opinion on make sure you voice that opinion. I have had a great response from several members of our team around issues that I would have taken much longer to start thinking about, if at all. We are becoming increasingly conscious as a society about our environmental impact, so start conversations that can turn into actions. 




Some really thought provoking insights from Dan. We’ll be catching up with him again in a few months to see how things are improving within Plant Designs. Until then, here are 5 tips to take to your office and your life: 


  1. Convert to the Cloud – cloud computing allows businesses to not only be streamlined and allow for flexible working, but reduces the amount of paper and ink used.  

  2. Travel with technology – Do you need to cross the city for a coffee, or would a skype/teleconference suffice? This can reduce both costs and carbon emissions.  

  3. Nature Nurture - use nature to our advantage to increase happiness and decrease bills: open a window instead of using air conditioning, switch off the lights and use natural lighting. You can even bring in a few potted plants for office décor rather than fast fashion accessories.  

  4. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle  – every bottle, cup and straw adds up. Invest in a keep cup and reusable bottle, maybe even have a fine jar that anyone caught with a plastic bottle or coffee cup in the office contributes £1 to (this can fund your next staff social!) Recycle what you can, when you can.  

  5. Tap in to Tech: Sustainability is such a big focus this year, that many companies are capitalizing on it and coming up with new products and technology to impact the world in a positive way. A simple google search provides a plethora of choice, from tree planting search engines, add-ons for your online shopping that donate to charity from the corporates pocket, right through to investment apps that only channel your change into sustainable investments/companies.  




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