Exploring our journey towards greener business

At Resource, we’re on a long-term commitment towards greener working practices.

Across our range of companies, we’re presently on a journey towards understanding where new opportunities lie for environmentally-friendly changes to how we operate, and trialling new initiatives to see how we could make a positive change for the environment.

We’re taking steps towards cutting our carbon and energy emissions. With close to 20 companies in our fold, we’ve been identifying precise areas within a few of our businesses where we can make fast, efficient changes – going for the low-hanging fruit.

Lewis Foster, Buildings & Facilities Manager at Resource

Lewis Foster, Resource

What we learn from these moves into cleaner, greener energy consumption and reduced emissions can then be incorporated across more of our companies as our methods become more robust and practised.

To find out more about the steps we’re taking and the new opportunities we’ve identified, we sat down with Lewis Foster, Building & Facilities Manager within Resource.

Lewis has been working with several of our companies on environmental matters and energy management since Q1 of 2021, and has shared some of our findings so far…

Waste management recycling centre

Photo: A waste management & recycling centre

Make waste management a local matter

‘Think global, act local’.

Changing how your business handles waste can deliver new opportunities to make a small change and create a huge difference. Within The Maltings Group (which encompasses The Maltings Document Storage Solutions, Space2B at The Maltings and The Maltings Shredding) we’re in the process of switching to a local waste carrier.

“This means we can reduce the transport required to collect the waste from our businesses – therefore cutting unnecessary vehicle emissions. To add to that, we’re increasing the size of our external bins… which reduces the number of trips needed in the first place,” explains Lewis.

Segregated waste bins implemented by Resource companies - Thinking globally, acting locally: How we're reducing costs & CO2

Photo: The type of segregated waste bins that will be implemented in The Maltings Group

We’re believers in effecting change from all corners of a business, and encouraging all employees to embrace new initiatives that promote positive change. That’s why we’ll soon be putting 3-way segregated waste bins into various offices within Wentloog Corporate Park to reduce the amount of general waste we’re producing, and encourage better recycling methods – so employees at every level can contribute to a wider environmental effort.

Whether staff are disposing of empty water bottles, foil wrapping or cardboard packaging, our new bin system should mean the life-cycle of waste begins correctly, rather than pooled together in bags that can’t be recycled or disposed of without further separations (which require more energy and money down the line).

“Due to our efforts with waste reduction within Wentloog and The Maltings Group, we’ve cut the annual waste bill by half for those particular businesses,” Lewis explains. “We’ll be reinvesting these savings back into the companies to keep pushing for a positive environmental impact.”

Space2B corridor with motion sensor lighting

Photo: Space2B corridor with low energy lighting

Energy consumption – assess, track and reduce

Facts and figures are critical. When launching any initiative to reduce consumption (be it of energy, waste or something else entirely), we must start with assessment; looking at the state of play in our businesses to understand how and where we can improve.

For several of our companies, we utilise an energy management partner which means we can more easily track our energy consumption to spot and fix problem areas creating a higher carbon footprint. This also involves looking at green energy supplies to see where we could replace non-renewable energies being used.

These audits will also help to identify further environmentally-friendly projects to drive down cost and our carbon footprint.

Mango handset used by Resource staff for environmental standard

Photo: Mango app and handset featuring the SHEQ system, used by Resource staff

Integrating environmental objectives

What gets measured gets done. Without strategic environmental goals in place, a business may struggle to set out future targets – and produce a framework to get there.

For any organisation looking to formally assess and prove their environmental credentials, Environmental Management BS EN ISO 14001:2015 is a critical Accreditation to achieve.

We’re pleased to share that most Resource businesses are ISO 14001 Accreditation holders.

This means these businesses have integrated an environmental management system to help manage their respective environmental responsibilities.

“Our standards and certifications are kept on our Mango system which is our SHEQ (Safety, Health, Environment and Quality) management system.

“Several of our staff have handsets with the Mango app, where they’re able to record improvement actions including environmental matters and carry out routine property inspections and day to day requirements in order to satisfy our standards, including litter picking,” Lewis explains.

Litter picking at blue self storage 1

Photo: Resource and blue self storage staff picking litter within Wentloog Corporate Park

Quick ways to reduce lighting, heating & water consumption

Although we’re in the process of looking critically at our businesses through a wider lens, it’s important to remember that small changes add up. By implementing ‘quick wins’, we will be able to effect change in places that aren’t traditionally seen as resource-saving areas.

“For example,” Lewis begins, “The Maltings Document Storage Solutions are looking to switch from wooden pallets to plastic to reduce the wood waste we produce, and to increase the pallets’ reusability. At the same time, we’re moving to low energy consumption lights using motion sensors to reduce unnecessary energy being spent lighting empty spaces.

“Another resource to look at is transport; it’s part of the fabric of many Resource businesses, so how can we make that environmentally-friendly? By introducing electric vehicles where possible. The new Mercedes eVito van (below) at Maltings Document Storage, coupled with the electric van at blue self storage, is a step towards this.”

The Maltings Document Storage Solutions' new electric Mercedes e-Vito van

Photo: The Maltings Document Storage Solutions’ new electric Mercedes e-Vito van

Space2B free Brompton bicycle hire scheme

Photo: Space2B free cycle hire scheme

Space2B, a business that sells office and working space to businesses and professionals, is another great opportunity to make cost-savings and reduce energy use. With LED sensor-based lighting, sensors on taps to reduce water, and timed heaters and thermostats, we don’t use more energy than we need.

“Alongside this, our only shuttle bus for tenants is 100% electric,” Lewis points out. “And our free Brompton bicycle hire scheme is our other 0% carbon emissions travel option for tenants.”

A lake at Wentloog Corporate Park - How businesses can reduce their negative environmental impact

Photo: Lake at Wentloog Corporate Park, inhabited by fish, herons and local wildlife

The steps construction companies can take to become more carbon-neutral

Resource companies are in the process of assessing our processes and shaping them where possible to adopt greener ways of working.

We believe organisations have a responsibility to protect our environment and our communities, starting with implementing clear objectives to reduce our impact on the environment and to meet clean, green energy goals.

The Green Construction Board looks more widely at green property and construction issues, encompassing priority activities of the Sustainable Construction Strategy – and it’s a great ‘first port of call’ for companies in the construction industry who want to move towards greener working practices.

Some steps to become more environmentally-conscious include:

  • Set carbon targets to reduce emissions and monitor performance
  • Design for low carbon from the start of a project
  • Measure and manage water consumption with targets to minimise usage
  • Ask suppliers for products that are more efficient / less harmful to the environment
  • Choose low impact products and materials
  • Optimise packaging with recyclable materials and reusable pallets
  • Design with nature in mind – incorporate nest boxes, breeding sites, beehives and green roofs/walls

Read the GCB’s full 20 steps to greening our industry.

Lewis Foster, Buildings & Facilities Manager at Resource

Photo: Lewis Foster, Resource

Meet Lewis Foster

In March 2021, Lewis stepped into his role as Building & Facilities Manager to help action some of the steps by several Resource businesses towards greener working practices.

Back in 2011 and at the age of 21, Lewis obtained his NEBOSH Certificate in Environmental Management, and later won a Welsh Business Award for Excellence in Environmental Management in 2015 – so environmentally-conscious working has always been in his DNA.

“I’ve always wanted to help the environment, and my role at Resource is all about putting projects in place to make businesses eco-friendly whilst providing cost savings,” Lewis explains. “I manage some of our facilities and work with several of our businesses to ensure we’re compliant to the standards and accreditations we uphold.”

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