Reconomy feature in Facilitate Journal’s Net Zero Sum Games in June

Last month Diane Crowe, Head of Group Sustainability, contributed to Facilitate Journal’s Net Zero Sum Games Feature. Diane discussed the biggest challenges to meeting targets, next step priorities and the putting forward the business case for net zero projects. Here is a summary:

Reconomy has switched to using fully renewable energy sources across the estate via the REGO scheme (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) and for obvious reasons, 2019-2020 saw in a 50% reduction in Reconomy’s overall energy consumption.  That said though, we are mindful that with such a large proportion of our employee base working from home, the carbon has, to a certain extent, just moved elsewhere so I think that’s another challenge – being able to track the data.  For us though, our biggest challenge will be the way we service our customers’ waste to enable them to reduce waste and therefore carbon by working at the top of the waste hierarchy – thinking more circular and less linear.

In the FM sector, we are getting customers to think about how they can eliminate waste streams, segregate, increase recycling and compost food:  where are the single use plastics in the chain and what can we replace them with?  Can you replace them with a compostable version?  We do find that customers need to be very dedicated to the cause to affect real change.

Here at Reconomy, we are now at a 100% recycling rate, up from 96% in 2019.  We have eliminated single-use plastics and compost all our food waste.  All waste is fully segregated and have even found a route (via TerraCycle) for the enormous numbers of crisp packets we seem to generate at Telford HQ!  Once construction is complete, we will also have 20 electric charging points in the car park and by the end of July, 53% of the company cars will be hybrid or electric.  We are also trying to promote the benefits of leaving the car at home when you travel to the office (it’s an 8-minute walk to the train station and there’s a bus stop on the business park).  However, in the current climate, we appreciate that taking public transport is not advisable for everyone.  We will be carrying out a commuting survey later this year to really try and understand people’s different situations.

We have already taken many positive steps in energy reduction, and this was noted in a recent ESOS audit. As we do not own our property, we are investigating installing temporary and therefore moveable solar panels as shading above the car park. We are also considering sensor lighting in meeting rooms and washrooms.

As a final point, cost can still be a sticking point for some businesses although not for the more enlightened business who see the value as an investment in the future.  Although I really appreciate that it’s difficult for businesses hit hard by COVID to justify the cost at the moment.  At Reconomy, we are constantly looking for new solutions that are cost-effective and sustainable and are getting the message out to customers about our ‘5 Steps to Circularity’ and Zero Waste Index.  If you reduce your waste, you reduce your carbon footprint.

To read the full article from Facilitate here.