Green the new gold in offices?

Green the new gold in offices?


Green is apparently becoming the new gold in offices.


In this day and age of environmental actions, being aware of the massive environmental crisis is simply not enough.


Activists around the world have been campaigning to translate the growing awareness into actual practices, not only at homes but in offices.


Join the newsdesk to find out how successful businesses here are rising to the green challenge.


Picture a gaping wound on an imaginary globe.


A Gaia that’s bleeding out in the form of melting ice caps, mercurial weather and flora and fauna that are dying out.


The million dollar question beckons – how do we stop this?


Over the years, governments around the world have made pacts with green progressives to deliver environmental justice.


Locally, environmental groups like the Singapore Environment Council are advocating environmental responsibility and sustainability.


And they’re pitching not only to individuals at large but corporations as well.


Through SEC’s collaboration with City Developments, companies can register themselves online at the SEC website to see what and how should they go about creating eco-friendly offices.


Under the programme, businesses must qualify a certain set of criteria, such as level of recycling and waste minimisation, before they’re considered for the green office label.


Once they’re selected, an auditor will be sent to down to the office to conduct checks.


At this stage, a fee will be required.


Depending on the size of the office and the number of people based there, the fee could go from one thousand two hundred to two thousand dollars.


Once awarded, the green office label is valid for two years.


Afterwhich, companies or organisations must continue to have their offices audited to ensure it’s not a one-time effort.


So, how successful have they been in converting business owners, especially in the wake of lacking public sentiments about conserving resources?


Mr Yatin Premchand, General Manager of SEC, says more and more companies are joining the eco-office fight.


“There’s already 100 companies registered to participate in this programme. It’s been around five years and it’s grown to a hundred and every few days I guess there’s people registering, but the number is not indicative of the number of people or should I say the companies using the programme. Just because they’re registered does not mean they actually apply for the label. At the same time, just because they are not registered doesn’t mean there are a host of other companies actually using the variety of information online available to them.”


On top of the hundred companies that are currently monitoring their eco-office ratings, 25 have already clinched the Green Office Label.


The latest office to garner the award is Body Shop’s Asia-Pacific headquarters based here.


They are the first in the retail category to be awarded the green office label.


Mr Jonathan Price, the Asia-Pacific Managing Director of Body Shop explained that being green in the office is all about planning.


“From how we sourced the materials, the majority of the materials we used was recyclable materials, like wood for the furnishings. The electrical equipment that we use was low energy consumption. We use bamboo for our wooden flooring and our reception area, so this is a sustainable source.”


The current uphill battle to push for more days of Bring Your Own Bag Day has sparked a debate on how green efforts should not inconvenience the public.


While some nod in agreement to this, others like Mr Price beg to differ.


According to him, changing peoples’ mindset is key.


He cites the example of taking away normal dustbins from the office and replacing them with recycling bins.


“Interestingly, we are producing 40 per cent less waste as a direct result of moving away everybody’s bins. And now people don’t think about it twice, they just keep their bit of rubbish and put it away when they’re going to the restroom and they’re going to the canteen.”


Mr Price added that the company estimated that they’ll save up to fifty per cent on energy due to the installation of motion sensors in the office.


” You don’t always have to have your lights at full capacity, so we provide dimmer switches in all our meeting rooms in all our offices. We also have no printing and no light days. So every other week we will arrange say tell the staff that nobody can use any of the printers. So on that day I will just turn all the printers off and it’s amazing, people just think about it and be a bit more organized and it works. We also have lights off, no light days. Obviously if there’s a black rain storm outside it might be a bit different, but if it’s nice and sunny then again, we work majority of the day with no lights on.”


A general misconception is the cost of going green.


Mr Price explained to me that while the energy-efficient lightings are more costly initially, it’s beneficial over time.


“It’s sometimes cheaper to use these types of materials. And I’ll give you an example sometimes where an initial upfront investment costs slightly more, but you get a better return over a longer period of time. The actual light fitting that goes in, sometimes if you switch to a LED, it costs you a little bit more money than the regular one you use. But over a period of time, the actual electricity it uses, is less. So you actually get the payback over a number of years, substantial payback over a number of years, because whilst initial investment is a little bit more expensive, the actual payout over the years of using it is much less.”


On that same note, Mr Premchand pointed out that a key component of project eco-office is to demonstrate profitability through the green movement.


“The more efficiently use your resources, to more efficiently use your energy and practice erm, integrate into your core business is what I’m trying to say and the more effective in reaching your bottomline and also in other brand stands.”


While it seems businesses are only slowly coming round to the idea of being socially responsible, SEC holds more faith.


“Looking at actual tangible number of offices of course, I mean it’s very difficult for us to give an exact number but we hope that 50 per cent of those who are looking at getting certified, hopefully will get at least those 50 per cent on board.”


Changes are already creeping in gradually.


Be it a political move or genuine concern about the environment, policymakers are starting to acknowledge the fact that it’s time to take action.


In fact the Singapore government has stepped out to acknowledge that going green is the way forward.


The idea is to conserve resources and hopefully, ease escalating global demand and thus reduce costs.


But for the green movement to take root in Singapore, more will have to be done to tweak the mindsets of individuals and business owners.


Hopefully the change wouldn’t come too late.


Source: 938Live

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s