We lack adjectives to qualify the year 2020. What people and companies experienced was (and is) a test of endurance and resilience. While it is normal to look at how the company performs in economic terms, we also dedicated some of our time evaluating our environmental impact last year.
This time of the year is a unique opportunity to look at our firm and see how much everyone at D&I cares for the environment. Our Green Office team meets regularly and decides new targets for our Green Office campaigns. We do not impose any rigid rules to reach our Green Office targets. Instead, we raise awareness through company events where an external speaker often talks about an important topic and through our Green Office events throughout the year.
With regards to last year’s results, we were confident about reaching our targets. One of the main reasons was the fact that our paradigmatic ways of working changed. When remote work became the new normal, we saw an evident decrease in our electricity and paper consumptions. These were two of our main targets for 2020.
We had the lowest electricity consumption of the last four years. After our office premises got the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for Gold in late 2019, we decided to make some improvements. We have been making greener choices and replacing less energy-efficient devices with newer ones. In addition, we started collecting more information about electricity (e.g. how much electricity is generated by renewable sources) to make better choices in the future.
It is without surprise that our paper consumption decreased to the lowest amount ever. Although this is mostly due to remote work, we also hope that this has shown our staff that they may not need to print those long contracts to spot the typos. We are now looking into possibilities to keep our paper consumption low and find new ways to choose greener options for our paper supply.
Old habits die hard:
When thinking about an office, we visualise a desk, a chair, a screen, a keyboard, a mouse and a trash bin. That is the traditional way that catalogues and TV series illustrate an office scene. Trash bins are also often used as a basketball net for employees to practice their skills. However, at Dittmar, we decided to eliminate personal trash bins on a volunteer basis. We installed big recycling bins in strategic locations around our office and proposed that people take their trash at the end of the day to the recycling bin closest to them. This simple step allowed us to stop using so many plastic bags, reduce our trash amounts and raise awareness about recycling. When the trash bin is not under your desk, you tend to think about how much trash you make during the day.
We are looking at 2021 with an optimistic outlook and have set more ambitious targets than ever before, but we are most excited about our team. Our Green Office team includes eleven members from all levels at Dittmar. It is incredible to see that a project that started with two members now has a broad reach in the firm. We are proud of our achievements in 2020 but are constantly thinking ahead. For us, thinking ahead is also thinking green.