9:33PM Aug 12, 2020
Hello, my name is Kelly. I'm the Studio and Events Manager at Springload. We are Wellington's largest independently owned digital agency, and we are hosting events today. And we are also running this session. And we have the awesome Alice, who's going to talk us through creating a culture of sustainability in your team.
Alice is Springload's assistant to the CEO and the studio. She helps us at Springload do good and think green. And yeah, she's going to teach us all about some sustainable practices you can action in and out of the office, plus some tips for creating that culture of sustainability within your team as well. So yeah, I think she's got some really interesting information to pass on to you guys and certainly a lot I think you've been trying to cut it down, right. There's lots to share from very passionate person. And yeah, so I'm going to say over to you Alice, and I will join you back at the end to pass through any questions.
Amazing. Thank you, Kelly, thanks for that lovely introduction. Okay, I'm gonna share my screen because I've got a bit of a presentation for you guys.
So,okay, so kia ora koutou. Yeah, as Kelly said, my name is Alice. And I'm one of the studio assistants at Springload, as well as the assistant to the CEO. So part of my role to work on the sustainability initiatives in our studio. And so at Springload we work really hard to minimise our environmental impact and to make ethical choices, and it's just kind of been integral to Springload's way of working since the very beginning. So it's grown really organically over the years, and we've been able to create this really lasting culture of sustainability in our team. So I thought today I would just share some of the tips and the tricks that we've picked up.
So I'll give you a really brief background on Springload. So we're a digital agency, as Kelly said, and we make websites, apps and interactive experiences, and heaps more amazing things. We were founded 17, almost 18 years ago by our CEO, Bron Thompson. And when she set up the company, she wanted to build a company where she enjoyed the work that she did and she liked the clients that she worked with, and the people that she worked with in her team. So she's always been really careful about the clients and projects that we take on making sure that they align with our values. And I was lucky enough to join the team almost two years ago in October 2018 when I first came to New Zealand. So at the heart of everything that we do are the people who end up using the thing that we're building. So if it doesn't work for the end users, then we haven't done our job properly. So we want to improve people's lives, we want to help businesses run more efficiently and profitably, and we want to actually change the world for the better.
So it made sense then for us to become a B Corp. And to get official accreditation for the way that we operate as a business, which is using our digital superpowers for good. So becoming B Corp accredited, yeah, it also means we've got this certification that proves that we're doing the things that we say we are, and it also means that we're held accountable for ensuring that we continue to work to these high standards. So it's keeping us in check as well, which is great.
So, how do we live these values in the studio, and how do we ensure that we're living our B Corp values in not just the work that we deliver to our clients, but just the way that we run our studio? And where does that journey start?
So, I think it starts with getting everyone on board. So it's just much much easier to stay on track if everyone in your organisation is engaged with sustainable practices from the get go.
So I think a good start is explaining to your team why operating sustainably is important and finding out what's actually meaningful to them. So you could have like a lunchtime presentation or like an informal chat over drinks on a Friday. And just get everyone on the same page and you know, see what gets your team excited, and find out if they have any reservations about any changes that you might want to make. And ask them for their ideas, like, see what they are stoked about. See if they have any amazing tips from their personal lives they might want to share.
We set up a Slack channel to do this. So we have like a sustainability ideas Slack channel, which is awesome. And so you can keep the conversation going. And then once you have everyone's support, you want to find a way to make these sustainability practices business as usual. And so we're very lucky because we have support from the top down in that Bron is behind us and everything that we want to do.
And I think you know, I've talked about Springload's ethos, so it ties in with that, but also like, operating sustainably and being really transparent about the stuff that we do is, is also really good for business like it's a really great reputation for our brand so yeah, so it works in that way as well. And not everybody has that kind of amazing support from leadership, but I think there are still things that you can do, and still ways that you can get people excited about sustainability efforts.
Having a dedicated green team, to champion these efforts is a really good way to keep everyone focused. If it can be a dedicated part of people's roles, then it really demonstrates to your clients and the stakeholders and your team, that this is something you're really serious about. And so we set aside, in our studio team, we set aside half an hour at the start of every week to talk about all of the things that we're currently doing and things that we could improve like the projects we want to work on next. And part of that is sharing our eco guilts. So we sit down and we talk about the things that we're not feeling good about. The number of disposable coffee cups that we were using. And that's a really good way for us to set goals as a team and like really galvanise our efforts.
And then we also run a sustainability and social good induction for every single new person that starts Springload. So they're just on board with everything that we do from the get go. And I think this slowly but surely helps to shift the culture so that with each new person, it becomes completely embedded. It's like a given that this is part of working here and part of being part of this team.
And then we just talk about it all the time. We just keep it top of everyone's minds by just talking about sustainability and sustainable practices all the time. And we send out frequent reminders, and I talk nonstop about it. So it might be annoying, but it's I think it's a way to just keep it at the front of everyone's heads. And actually the team of really stoked about it. And they're really sort of proud of these things that we do. So it's part of this really nice atmosphere that we have in our studio.
So one of the biggest things that we do is recycling. And we've been doing that for a long time, but we've just been ramping up and trying to do more and more. So I think this is a really easy one to get to grips with if you just remove as many barriers as possible, and you make it really, really easy for people to recycle. So a really simple tip that I picked up is just reducing the number of like little desk bins in the office. So we used to have heaps of tiny bins by people's desks. And so people were just chucking stuff in there and it was going to landfill. And I just, we just took them out, just took them away, and it encourages people to get up and walk over to the recycling stations, which is awesome.
So we have a recycling station in our kitchen. And we collect all of the usual stuff like tins and glass and paper. And, we have it in our beautiful Method recycling bins. So I'm going to give them a shout out because they're also a B Corp. And they're bins are gorgeous. And, we also have a bin for the Tiny Plastic Factory, which is you can see it down on the bottom, bottom right of the screen. And so I actually made that bin myself, which is why it looks the way that it does. But I think that really illustrates that you don't have to spend a lot of money or time on figuring these things out. You can just put out a box with a label on it, and people will, people will want to recycle things. So that box is for the Tiny Plastic Factory who we have a partnership with and they collect our plastics numbers two, four and five by bike, and they get recycled in a facility here in Wellington. And, the recycled plastic is sent to companies within Aotearoa. So it's awesome for us because we know that our recycling isn't being shipped off overseas, we know that it's actually getting recycled by people that we know, that we've partnered with. And it's really cool. So I'm giving them a shout out as well. They're awesome. And yeah, so we, you know, you don't have to you don't have to have really slick bins, but I did hear that Method recycling can do customised ones. And so if you do want them all to match, that's an option.
We also collect a bunch of slightly more interesting stuff like bottle caps, bread tags, toothpaste tubes, stationary, batteries, electronic waste and soft plastics. And so a lot of that stuff we take down to the Sustainability Trust, but you can just free post them off to TerraCycle who recycle all of these things. And, we actually get our friends over Nocar Cargo, who are a bike courier company, to take all our soft plastic to the supermarket recycling stations on their bikes.
And yeah, so really, we've just over the years, we've just picked up more and more ideas for things that we can recycle. A lot of these were suggested by our team, and we've just stick out a box and people are really stoked to bring it in and recycle. It's it's really quite simple. Yeah.
But obviously, the dream is to actually just reduce the intake of materials and reduce waste in the first place so that we're not having to recycle as much. So we're a bit limited in our choice of suppliers for certain things like laptops and hardware and electronics that we buy. There's not a lot of choice out there for suppliers so we've decided to just tackle the things that we can change. And we're trying to make good choices where we can, and a lot of the time, that might actually save us money. And I think a really good example of that is recently we were trying to buy some new monitor risers, and it's really quite hard to find any that are made from like, sustainably sourced wood and it becomes quite costly and it was quite difficult for us and we realised that people were actually sometimes using the boxes that our MacBooks came in. So the boxes all our laptops arrived and people were using them to prop the monitors uo anyway. So we thought why don't we just paint them and make them look really beautiful? That solves two of our problems. So now we don't have to recycle all these boxes, we can make them part of our beautiful studio, which is, which has been really cool. And we took all of the brown paper bags that came with our Countdown order. And we turned them into the little desktop tidies that you can see in one of those photos. And it took us took us a few hours, but we just sat down in an afternoon and made all of these things and people love them, like the responses were really, really good.
And yeah, it solved two of those problems. It's like closed part of the circle. You know, trying to try to keep things from going into landfill or into recycling and trying to reuse as much as we can. So on the same kind of vein is that we refill all of our cleaning products and we use rechargeable batteries as much as possible. We've switched out all of our bin liners to paper bags. Even in our compost bins, I found these huge heavy duty paper bags that we could use for compost. We have a station by our photocopier for reusing paper. So if papers only been printed on one side, we like to reuse it. And we sometimes turn them into these lovely notebooks. One of my colleagues, Michaela actually made these notebooks and people went wild for them. So that's awesome.
We have a big drawer full of like reusable containers and chopsticks, reusable chopsticks for our team to use when they get takeaway lunches. And I even negotiated some discounts with some of the local sushi places for people who bring in their own box. So that's really helped cut down on like plastic waste, which is great. And one of the biggest changes that we made recently was actually just buying some keep cups for the office. So last year our composting company announced they would no longer be accepting the biodegradable coffee cups. And we were quite upset about the thought of them all going to landfill. So we just invested in some really nice, colourful, on brand, keep cups for the office, which is obviously an it's an investment upfront, but I think the amount of coffee cups that we've saved from going into landfill has been really quite impressive. And so we even bought some branded ones to get coffees for our clients in so when clients come from meetings, we go out and get them a coffee, we'll use one of these keep cups, and they love it like the feedback's been really, really nice. So yeah, so I think that's been a really good initiative that we've brought in recently.
So one of the other things that we tried to tackle was transport. So we try to encourage our team to like walk or cycle or take the bus or even a scooter between meetings rather than catching cabs. And so we have some Snapper cards available and just sitting at reception. So if people need to go and get bus to a meeting, they can just grab one of these Snapper cards that's already loaded and take a bus, which is great. But if people do need to take a cab, then we have a local carbon zero taxi company called Combined Taxis that we like to use. So we're trying to really make it as easy as possible for people to make more environmentally friendly options.
We do sometimes have meetings outside of Wellington, and we try to do these remotely where possible, and I think, you know, people are getting more and more used to doing stuff online like this. So that's hopefully we'll make quite a difference to carbon emissions, people moving around New Zealand, but sometimes you do just have to have these meetings face to face. And so when people do need to fly up to other cities, then we offset the carbon emissions. And so we're very, very proud of the fact that we've been offsetting our carbon emissions for over a decade. And we do this through a company called Carbon South who actually will be presenting a webinar later on with my colleague, Clare, who was our carbon offsetting champion. And so if you want to learn a bit more about the process, then I recommend you jump on that webinar and hear it straight from them. Yeah, that's something that we've been doing for a long time. And we feel good about it, I think.
So the last thing that I wanted to talk to you about is ethical procurement. So this can feel like quite a big thing to tackle. But my advice is just to take it bit by bit, really. So we've been doing this over a long period of time since before I even started. It's been stuff that people have been talking about here. But last year, we did a big audit of all of our suppliers to determine whether or not they actually aligned with our values. So our priorities here were to avoid unsustainably produce palm oil, to reduce packaging, and to buy local organic Fairtrade where possible. So like I said, tackling your whole supply chain can feel quite daunting. So just while you're doing it, just remember to go easy on yourself because it isn't always very easy to make more responsible choices, and we can only do so much.
So at Springload we've kind of got into the habit now of asking ourselves like, could this come in glass and paper instead? Or like, is there a fair trade version of this that we could be buying? And sometimes the answer to that is just No, there isn't like it's not out there. And, and so we just have to move on, or we have to make a decision about whether we really need that product. But yeah, it's not always within your power to make that choice. So you just have to do the best that you can.
And yeah, I would say to implement those changes one at a time. And to keep talking to your team the whole time, like, explain to your team why you're making a change and gather feedback from your team each time you do choose a new supplier or product. We've actually found that our team feel much better about using ethical goods or suppliers. And generally these products tend to be of a higher quality so they feel really loved. And they're really proud of the changes that we make on their behalf.
And I'll just quickly talk you through some of the really simple things that we've chosen to change so we drink a lot of coffee here because we're a digital agency in Wellington and we've chosen to buy organic and Fairtrade coffee that gets delivered by bike from Peoples coffee, who are also B Corp so they're getting a shout out. We buy Jersey Girl organic milk in refillable glass bottles from Commonsense and Commonsense actually come and collect the bottles from us and take them back so it's really easy for us. We get all of our cleaning products and soaps from ecostore and we refill the bottles that Commonsense ourselves. So whenever one of the studio team goes out to get the post from the PO box or they have to pop out and buy something else in the studio, we just take a few bottles with us and refill them and that actually works out cheaper than buying the products brand new. Our tissues and our toilet paper come from a sustainable source and our hand towels are also compostable. So we just had to work with our cleaning team on this a little bit to get them on board but now we're working together and that's awesome. And all of the paper in our office is recycled or it comes from FSC certified sustainable sources. So there is a quite easy things that we could just sort of tick off and quick wins I think.
And another good one, if your organisation ever lays on team lunches, then why not focus on using organisations that have a focus on sustainable packaging or locally sourced produce or they have an element of social good to them? Like Zambrero or Eat My Lunch which are both operate on a buy one give one basis. And you could have a look on CoGo who are another B Corp to find places near you with these values. And the next thing on our list that we're going to start looking at is whether our suppliers are living wage employers, which is going to be really exciting. I think.
So, that's everything. Thank you for listening. And these are just some of the things that we do in our studio to try and walk the walk our B Corp values. And so it's been a really long journey over many years. So now we're at the point where we can afford to spend time tweaking the little things. And lots of people are much earlier on in their journey but I hope this has sort of given some inspiration for other people to rally together and make those changes. It's never been a better time to start reducing our environmental impact. And every small thing that we do is a win. So just remember to keep taking stock as you're going through all of the awesome things that you're already doing, don't get disheartened, and feel free to reach out to us here at Springload if you want any tips, or if you have any ideas for things that we can keep on improving, I'm always pretty happy to share ideas and inspiration across organisations. And that's me. Okay, I'm gonna hand over to Kelly.
Thank you so much, Alice. And yeah, super inspiring so much information to pass on to us there. And yeah, if you think about all the things that you use in your day to day lives or your workplaces, like, you know, there is a lot, there's a lot that we can do and to be done out there. And I think that your big point of, you know, just be easy on yourself and take it step by step is just really great. And a really great sort of attitude towards not feeling overwhelmed by how much you know, consideration and, you know, small things that are out there that we can be more sustainable about and they will all build up to make a bigger picture, which is Yeah, really awesome. And thank you so much for sharing all that information with us.
And yeah, I find it really interesting because some of the information that you were giving us that was like brought up in some of our other talks, which were getting support from the top down and getting your CEO support is really key to getting people involved. And Laura and Penny will also mentioned that was key for their diversity and inclusion policies as well. And yeah, I think Lee has mentioned this in our first webinar, but getting everyone on the same page and, you know, identifying those passionate people in your organisation, can be really key in sort of, like, you know, breeding that culture and driving your purpose and your change to be made out there. And, yeah, I'll just, we're almost time to wrap up.
We'll just have a quick question from Faye — "any tips for encouraging less eco enthusiastic colleagues? I spend a lot of time fishing recycling out of the wrong bins in larger office environments."
Yes, I've been there. I think you just have to keep pushing on really, I think, a really, like I said about having like, having a session where you sort of explain why this stuff is important, can be really valuable, like, you know, if you were to do a presentation about how much waste ends up in landfill, and find some information supporting that, I think that would get people engaged. And I think, you know, it's hard to change people's behaviours, but I think if you're patient and you are willing to engage with people in these kind of conversations without people feeling attacked, then I think eventually you'll get somewhere. Like don't give up Faye.
Thank you, Alice. Good inspiring advice there.
Um, next question. Actually, we still got, we've got a minute, I'll do a smaller wrap up. "How do I justify spending more on sustainable products processes when my buses are only kind of keen? And how do you really get them on the band wagon?" And that's from Claire.
I'm not sure how well I can speak to that because like, we've been so fortunate here that that's not a problem that we have. I think, really the difference that you can make in buying these products, really kind of outweighs the difference in cost.
Alice am I allowed to jump in for a moment?
Hi. So before, so, Hi, I'm Clare, I'm from Springload as well. And myself, and Kelly, we've been managing the budgets for all of this for quite a few years now. And we've been at Springload a long time. And we have always kind of, we've always, actually our budget for things hasn't changed that much. And we've managed to find alternatives that didn't cost too much more or we managed to I guess, juggle things that we can make smaller sacrifices somewhere else to get the thing that we wanted. And so yeah, we've somehow managed to make it work within our budgets for quite a while now. And yes, I think it's maybe around us all sharing where we're getting things from maybe? I just threw a link in there to a website that we use all the time, the EcoWarehouse, who do all the pencils and pens and things. So yeah, I think that trying to work within your budgets is possible and it's maybe about us all helping each other out and to find the ways to save money.
Yeah, definitely. We're always super happy to share the supplies that we use and the ideas that we have. Yeah. Thanks Clare.
Thank you both very much. Thank you for your input there Clare. And we are just running slightly over so think I'm going to wrap up there but thank you, Alice. That was brilliant and inspiring and yeah, really great to share those tips with everybody and hope you all got some good advice there and there's some excellent stocks that you can start looking into the links with Nocar Cargo and Tiny Plastic Factory and the EcoWarehouse that Clare just recommended. And yes, so we are going to wrap up, and thanks for all. Thanks everybody for attending and if you want to join us for a few drinks and nibbles in our Springload event space to wrap up, we'll be having drinks from 5pm today and we think we'll just pop a link in the chat. And hopefully we'll see you all there. Oh, and if you are keen to learn more about being a B Corp, head on over to bcorporation.com.au.