Businesses all over the world are considering their environmental impact when producing goods and services. It is no surprise that in the last 20 years, Sustainability Officers have become a vital role in all industries. As the title suggests, a Sustainability Officer evaluates all areas of the business including profits, personnel and even the supply chain to predict a company’s outlook and environmental impact. The role is important and multi-faceted requiring an innovative individual, passionate about environmental protection. Someone that can understand and analyse all areas of business performance, with a creative and solution orientated mindset.
Fortunately, we have just the person. No stranger to managing workload and responsibility, our Senior Art Director, Louise Jones recently took on a secondary position as Cuttsy+Cuttsy’s Sustainability Officer. We caught up with Lou to find out what makes her tick.
So, Lou, can you tell us a little about your role and what you hope to achieve?
Honestly, the role is very new, and I am learning what is needed as I go. Thankfully, I have just signed up to a University of Cambridge course, ‘Business and Climate Change: Towards Zero Emissions’, which will give me the foundation to begin supporting and navigating Cuttsy+Cuttsy in our quest to achieve a completely sustainable business. One way this will be achieved is by looking at the companies Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol and being able to report at the highest level — ‘Scope 3’. This scope is voluntary yet ironically is the one that causes the most damage. It's things like this that irritate me, it shouldn’t be voluntary, it should be mandatory. How else will we get to see the full picture, the full damage?! If like me, you are new to the term ‘scope’ here is a handy link to explain. As part of Cuttsy’s sustainability policy, we will provide complete transparency throughout the business from our clients to the very end user, the patient.
The building that Cuttsy+Cuttsy is currently in has just won an award for its environmental initiatives — ‘Best conservation of an existing building’. The office space is a repurposed building which managed to save 1,900 tonnes of CO2 entering our fragile atmosphere. All the power to the office is fully renewable, or fully green is how I like to refer to it, and we try to minimise the use of single use plastics by providing all employees with Chilly reusable products. As you can see, before I even said yes to the role, Mathew and Caroline were thinking long term and providing the starting blocks to get ahead in fight against climate change.
What is also refreshing to see is that many of our clients (and the Pharma industry as a whole) are also making sustainability a priority. There is a collective recognition that we all have a role to play in tackling climate change. There is a lot of openness around the topic, which is great for sharing ideas and encouraging action. I aim to be the go-to person for all sustainability-related issues. Who knows — maybe one day I’ll convince the company to change its strapline from #WherePeopleMatter to #WherePeople&PlanetCount? (Though, I should point out Mathew and Caroline are not aware of this ambition of mine ;) )
Where do you think your passion for protecting the environment stems from?
Primary School. I thought it was a standard assembly; however, a new teacher had started, and they spent 30 minutes talking about climate change and I believe this was the first time I heard the term greenhouse gases. The whole assembly I sat there wide-eyed and feeling disappointment in all adults. I remember feeling angry that no one else talked about this subject and when I attempted to keep the conversation alive no one wanted to join in. The subject felt so important, and clearly, it still is. That teacher in that moment of time felt like how David Attenborough feels to me now….an absolute walking legend.
Has thinking sustainably changed the way you approach design?
It certainly makes you ask more questions, especially when Cuttsy+Cuttsy are sending out over 80,000 plus print runs over the course of a year. Our printers have to be sustainability minded and in some ways they are leading the way. One of our current printers has just been awarded the World Land Trust accreditation which Sir David Attenborough has supported since 1989. I feel proud that our printers are aiming for accolades like this and building them in to the core of their business. Having knowledge that our printers are fighting the fight too will no doubt make my role easier.
Is sustainability something you focus on at home as well as outside of work?
Yes, absolutely, for example, my partner used to be very wasteful. NOW THEY ARE NOT. MISSION ACHIEVED. Supermarkets drive me nuts, with all the plastic they use to wrap products in, so I avoid them as much as possible and use the local farm shop. However, that is not to say I am squeaky clean, there are times when I must suck it up. Always puts me in a bad mood though. Something I do want to try once we get a cooker (long story and not for this blog) is Oddbox. It’s a great idea where you get boxes of fruit and veg delivered that would have probably gone to waste...for reasons like ‘too wonky’...I mean let's think about how wonky a carrot can really be not to pass quality control! Honestly its madness!! Switching to paperless bills, I think this is standard though, right? Our toothbrushes are now sustainable, we have bamboo earbuds...I think it may be easier to say where there is a sustainable option, that is what we do at home.
What are your top three tips for anyone wanting to take on a more positive outlook on the climate challenge?
1. TREES glorious trees! Lots of them. More and more companies are planting and if anyone reading this is rolling their eyeballs and muttering the words ‘greenwashing’, PLEASE!!! Believe me, trees being planted, and the end of deforestation is something to be hopeful about. WWF plan to wipe out deforestation by 2030. I know that’s 8 years away, but can you imagine how many flippin’ trees will be planted by then. In December alone, Cuttsy planted 24,000 with the support of ecologi. 24,000!!! In one month — excellent. This was also a brilliant initiative for involving the whole team in our sustainability agenda, where everyone could feel proud to be part of a climate positive workforce.
2. Diets. Our diets are changing, and veganism is rocketing. All help with that positive outlook.
3. Technology. Clean energy is achievable, and more and more companies are getting creative with how they tackle the use of fossil fuels.
What are the first steps companies can take to become more climate positive?
Good question. I have a pile of forms, questionnaires, and webinars to go through. However, we have just joined CDP, a not-for-profit charity that runs the global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states, and regions to manage their environmental impacts. This feels like an excellent place to start. We will see how we are performing globally and what changes we need to make — if any. I would also suggest companies join organisations like ecologi who work with businesses to responsibly plant billions of trees every year — yes, more flippin’ trees ;)