Last week was Green Office Week (GOW) when small businesses around the globe embraced the opportunity to reduce, recycle and re-use. Ever the entrepreneurs, some even made a profit out of being green.
Take Design Time, a design school based in Woodstock in Cape Town, South Africa that held a design competition which saw its students produce office furniture made from used and discarded car parts – proving where there’s muck, there’s brass. The students were given six weeks to conceptualise and finalise their designs with the help of a mentor, Heath Nash. Nash himself is a designer/artist famous for making recycled products with a uniquely South African and environmentally conscious slant. He was the Elle Decoration SA designer and lighting designer of the year in 2005/6, and also won the title of British Council South African Creative Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006.
Meanwhile, staff at Anne Corder Recruitment (ACR) in Peterborough, UK organised a ‘Swap Shop’ as part of their commitment to GOW. Members of the team were invited to bring in unwanted gifts, grown out of children’s toys – in fact anything in good condition they no longer wanted or needed– to swap, in an effort to encourage the reuse and recycle message whilst also saving money at the same time.
And in the US there was renewed interest by American companies in taking a socially responsible business approach as they recognise there is much to gain from taking steps to improve environmental performance. It therefore stands to reason these initiatives will also be welcomed in Canada, aligned as it is, on so many business & economic levels with the US.
The guiding principles behind behaving in an environmentally sound manner are the same as the principles of thrift and economy. Using fewer resources is at the core of environmental sustainability, and leads to cost savings.
Ironically, perhaps we have the current economic situation to thank for this green revival which is proving that a greener office (forced or not) can and does help the bottom line.