Creating a sustainable home office: How our Green Committee helps us to be more environmentally friendly

Here at AJT, we all work fully remotely, so we don’t have one central physical office where we are all based. But that doesn’t stop us thinking about how we can improve our environmental footprint as a company.

On the road to becoming a B Corp certified translation agency, we discovered that there were other ways we could improve upon our environmental performance and help team members to work in more sustainable home offices. That’s why we set up the Green Committee.

We wanted to create a space where our team could learn more about the impacts of climate change, sustainability solutions, and waste reduction. It’s a collaborative, team-oriented way to show that we want to make the world a cleaner and better place – as individuals as well as a company. The Committee even has a mascot, a polar bear on an ice floe, as a symbol of our endangered planet.

 

 

 

Illustration of polar bear shouting help

 

A shared space to learn and be greener

The Green Committee was launched in early 2021 and has since then hosted near-monthly meetings centred around presentations and friendly discussions.

Our very first topic was on environmentally friendly options for a range of home and office products featuring anything from personal care to Internet providers. In as little as just over a year, we’ve discussed how we can reduce our food waste, what plants are classed as bee-friendly, and what we can do to reduce the environmental impact of large sporting events while still enjoying our sports!

 

“During one of our Green Committee sessions, I was reminded that households are actually the biggest contributor to food waste in the U.K., with 6.6 (!) million tonnes a year. Although I had been aware of this issue for so long, I soon realised that choosing to be eco-conscious over convenience was long overdue.” – Melanie, Senior German Translator & Language Lead

 

The goal of our meetings is never to moralise or preach but to offer the team different perspectives and identify areas for improvement.

And it’s not all talk: The Green Committee has also hosted clean-up walks and an inspiring movie night where we watched short films that highlighted great initiatives and gave us hope. We also use reconditioned work mobile phones and computers wherever possible and have introduced meat-free Mondays, a voluntary initiative to cut down on our meat consumption.

Speaking of clean-up walks, here are a few pictures from last year’s AJT Clean walk. Why not join our AJT Clean Walk 2022 this June?

 

 

Mental and environmental health go hand in hand

Many of us can feel helpless in the face of environmental issues but are not always aware of areas where we can easily make improvements. By providing a space for an exchange of knowledge and ideas, we can inspire and empower each other to make an effort and move away from conventional products and harmful habits in our workspace. If your teammate can switch their mobile phone provider to an eco-friendly one, so can you!

 

“Hearing from others where they are on their sustainability journey is really motivating and urges me to be better. It feels great to work at a company and within a team that cares about the world and its inhabitants.” – Bettina, Junior German Translator

 

Even with regards to personal wellbeing, the Green Committee has benefited us in many ways. Here are some things our colleagues have said:

  • It encourages teamwork and dialogue
  • It spotlights passionate team members
  • It fosters team spirit
  • It is personally fulfilling to work for an environmentally aware company and to know that our values align

As a company which places a lot of value on employee satisfaction, we are proud that our linguists and project managers have a positive attitude towards changes that make our workplace more sustainable.

 

What you can do

You might be reading this and thinking, “I’m just one person in an office. My environmental impact can’t be that detrimental, surely?” And it might not be. But many in our team were surprised by how many small tweaks were possible – even just at our desks – to create a more sustainable home office.

If you’re keen on making changes in your own workplace, here are some tips you can put into action straight away:

  • Have a look at the snacks you eat during your break and choose organic and locally sourced foods
  • Think before you print and opt for recycled paper
  • Switch off your devices completely when not in use
  • If you’re willing to go the extra mile, consider switching your energy supplier or Internet provider to a more eco-friendly company

But you can also call on your colleagues. Hop onto your favourite social group and see who’s up for the idea of spreading some environmental awareness in the home office.

 

“It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make a lot of change.” – Mark, Business Development Director

 

You don’t need a huge budget. Chances are some of your colleagues are already passionate about veganism, zero waste or fair fashion and would be happy to share their knowledge with the rest of the team. With the imminent threat of the climate crisis looming over us those voices within your team deserve a platform.

If you would like to know more about AJT’s values, check out our insights on ethical translation or our Code of Ethics.