Sourced from Raconteur
Banking giant Goldman Sachs told its 6,000 London employees: “ That’s why we’re eliminating it.” Ubiquitous plastic bottles sold from the bank’s vending machines, cafés and shops have been replaced by glass, aluminium and cardboard alternatives as part of a multi-faceted drive to make the business more environmentally responsible.
Goldman Sachs will move to a brand new European headquarters in London this summer; an eco-friendly office building with a top sustainability rating and a green roof garden that will use an advanced rainwater harvesting and filtration system to irrigate plants and reduce water consumption. Meanwhile large numbers of car parking spaces for senior executives have been replaced with extensive provision for cyclists.
Tackling workplace plastic is a good first step for the eco-friendly office
Such initiatives offer a glimpse of how the future eco-friendly office might evolve if companies and employees take seriously their responsibility to preserve the planet, reduce their carbon footprint and cut plastics usage. Goldman Sachs reckons it is on track to remove 85 per cent of the plastics it consumes by the end of 2019.
“Reducing our reliance on single-use plastics is a natural next step in our commitment to divert 100 per cent of our business waste from landfills by 2020,” says Kyung-Ah Park, head of the environmental markets group at Goldman Sachs. “It’s our small, daily habits that make the biggest difference; using a reusable cup or bottle whenever possible, carefully separating trash from recycling and only requesting plastic cutlery when we need it.”
Goldman Sachs is not alone. Following the airing of waste on marine life, many businesses have looked to cut single-use plastics as part of broader sustainability programmes.
Law firm Allen & Overy has eliminated disposable cups, plastic bottles and takeaway boxes from its London office. It estimates that it used more than 6.5 million disposable catering items in 2018 and plans to donate the money it saves from buying and disposing of packaging, amounting to roughly £100,000, to two conservation charities.
“By making these small changes to our catering waste, we can make a big difference to our environmental impact and do our bit to help safeguard our planet,” says Allen & Overy partner Paul Flanagan.