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POSTED 01/2024

2023 Winner – Sustainability Practices

Green Design Indoor Plant Hire, NSW

For over a decade, we have been on a relentless journey to combat the very real consequences of climate change. As the reports by the IPCC became grimmer and grimmer and as the world witnessed increasingly severe weather events, our commitment to sustainable practices only grew stronger.

In August last year, we began to formalise our Waste Management Plan, with its purpose being to illustrate the processes to effectively manage scheduled and non-scheduled waste generated by our company.

Our journey towards sustainability excelled in September 2022 through a partnership with Carbon Neutral P/L, an organisation dedicated to measuring and mitigating carbon footprints. Through meticulous assessment, we quantified our carbon emissions, serving as a roadmap towards our ultimate goal: achieving carbon neutrality by 2030.

Electric vehicles played a pivotal role in this mission. Recognising the urgency of reducing emissions, we expedited the introduction of electric sedans into the fleet. Last year, we took our first steps, adding two hybrid sedans to the line-up, with plans to replace next year a further three petrol sedans with electric or hybrid alternatives. The timing of the transition for our vans will depend on the availability of electric vans and a robust network of fast-charging stations, but our commitment is unwavering.

Sustainability extended beyond the roads and into our office. The rooftop was adorned with 120 solar panels, a testament to our ambition to become self-sufficient in electricity. In the coming year, we aim to install battery capacity, ensuring we can harness the sun’s energy to power our entire operations.

With our new goals set, in September 2022 a seismic shift was taking place in the way we conducted our business. For decades, paper has been an indispensable part of our operations. However, the realisation of its environmental impact led to a digital transformation. Through innovative online solutions and an in-house Service App for our technicians, we have streamlined our processes, minimising printed documentation. has reduced the paper communications between departments, and ABM bill feed is now handling the supplier invoices digitally. Allowing for real growth in the business, paper consumption for the period 1/1/2021 till 31/12/23 was reduced by some 60% and we are determined to reduce paper usage to just 20% of 2022 levels.

The environment is at the forefront of every decision we make, including the type of planters we use. Fifteen years ago, we transitioned from fibreglass planters from Asia to injection-moulded polystyrene planters from Europe, made from 100% recycled material.

In December 2022, we embraced planters crafted from ocean debris such as old fishing nets, cork, and other sustainable materials, emphasising our commitment to responsible choices!

Both our polystyrene and our ocean planters are virtually indestructible and can be recycled. We now own some 20,000 sustainable planters! By owning our own paint shed, we can reuse our planters on an ongoing basis. Paint disposal has always been a concern, and we are actively seeking and trialling eco-friendly alternatives. We’re having our paint picked up by a company that responsibly disposes of paint products.

Our dedication to sustainability extended to further recycling and repurposing in December 2022 with plastic garden pots now being collected and transformed into new pots, while foam offcuts found a second life as raw materials for new foam products.

Even pebbles and paper didn’t escape our recycling efforts. Pebbles are now cleaned onsite with the purchase of new equipment and reused, and paper recycling practices are now implemented across our entire site, reducing waste and minimising our environmental impact.

One of our most significant initiatives involved repurposing green waste. Every month, we discard around 50 cubic meters of old plants and soil. However, in February 2023, we have partnered with an organisation who turns this waste into valuable mulch and topsoil.

Our sustainability actions were not solely motivated by altruism. Initially, economic considerations had driven some of our choices, but over time, we realised the profound environmental benefits that came with them. Our decision some 20 years ago to increase our service cycle for example, initially aimed at increasing productivity. However, it had a domino effect, reducing fuel consumption and extending the lifespan of our vehicles. Water use is also reduced through a reduction in evaporation and better watering control.

Our innovative spirit saw us again extend our watering intervals in September 2022, from four to five weeks. This was another substantial shift for the operations of our company. As you can imagine, this significantly supports our sustainability targets.

Now in full swing, our customers couldn’t be happier with less interruptions in the office while still enjoying lush, healthy plants. In addition, we hosted annual sessions for Google employees, teaching them the art of indoor plant care and the reuse of unused household items as quirky planters. This not only promoted the use of houseplants and improved air quality but extends our sustainability reach through education.

The journey towards sustainability is an ongoing one. While we have made, and continue to make, significant strides, we acknowledge that there is much work left to be done.

Thankfully, many of our current sustainable practices have inbuilt growth factors. Our digital programs for a paperless office, for instance, needed further development. With our carbon footprint established, we eagerly awaited guidance from Carbon Neutral P/L to chart the course towards reducing CO2 emissions.

For this business, sustainability is not just a goal, but a way of life. We recognised that climate change was real, and we refused to be bystanders in its wake. With our unwavering commitment to carbon neutrality, our transition to electric vehicles, renewable energy, paperless operations, and responsible waste management, we are champions of a better tomorrow.

We understand that business excellence and sustainability can coexist, setting a powerful example for others to follow.

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POSTED 01/2024

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