Eco-friendly IT company: implementation

by Arina Vasileva
(Kazan, Russian Federation)

As a rule, the main goals of modern business initiatives in the field of environmental responsibility include:

1. need to comply with applicable environmental standards and legislation;
2. need to minimize financial and image risks due to future "economic" sanctions;
3. presence of environmental values among the staff and management.

These reasons (at least the first two) are most relevant to industrial, mining, processing and similar companies. But we think that the work in the field of IT outsourcing implies a certain level of environmental responsibility. That's how we understand it in ICL Services.

When did we start thinking about the environment?

Our first corporate environmental protection activities appeared in 2012-2013. The basic preconditions for them were:

• experience and example of partners and customers (European, Japanese, Australian, national and global companies) — we had good teachers;
• interest of our staff (average age <30 years) and their willingness to participate in environmental initiatives.
We started with cleaning lakes near the town and collecting and recycling waste batteries. In both cases volunteers-employees acted as initiators and the company provided the necessary support. This scheme eventually became common.

Volunteering as an advantage

The most common source of new environmental initiatives that extend the zone of responsibility of the company are a group of volunteers: colleagues find an "environmental" vulnerability in a particular process and work out the possibility to eliminate it. Then, as a rule, the proposal is submitted to the Organizational Development Service or HR Service. If the project is large, it is further passed to the company's management and experts (economists, lawyers, administrative services, etc.), a business case solution is found.

This approach has certain advantages: it allows finding more opportunities for improvement and involves more employees in the field of corporate environmental responsibility.

Of course, the company supports reasonable project by allocating the necessary resources. The project author and involved services are responsible for overall supervision.

Examples

Here are a few examples of initiatives successfully implemented in ICL Services.

1. Removal of debris from suburban lakes. This initiative was one of the first for the company and has become an annual tradition. Typically, it gathers 10-30 volunteers. The company provides all the necessary equipment and transport. In addition, volunteers from ICL Services support local charitable initiatives on protection and restoration of the natural environment.
2. Collection and recycling of batteries. All we had to do was simply install special bins in company offices and ensure regular transportation of discarded batteries to a recycling center — our staff took the initiative with fervor. Today we annually remove and dispose of more than 100 kg of toxic waste that otherwise would contaminate the soil. This experience has been extended to waste paper collection for recycling (our offices are equipped with boxes for waste paper); we also plan to organize the collection and recycling of plastic.
3. Landscaping. In the autumn of 2015 the company sponsored the landscaping in a suburban village, where one of the offices is located. More than 30 employees voluntarily took part in tree planting.
4. Energy saving. After having analyzed the energy consumption rate by computers we have developed plans for improved energy use with precise and economical switching to a "sleep" mode. At the time the article was published these plans were being implemented. They are expected to help reduce electricity consumption by 130 000 kWh annually. We plan to save another 35 000 kWh by installing special energy-saving equipment.
5. Using of office and household items from eco-friendly materials. Replacement of office garbage bags, plastic cups, etc. with biodegradable analogues will help reduce the environmental pollution.
6. Making corporate souvenirs from eco-friendly materials. Perhaps this is a quite small contribution to the preservation and protection of the environment. Nevertheless, it is a clear declaration of our "green" values .
7. Using of bicycles instead of cars. The company supports employees with bicycles by providing free parkings and conducting special corporate events (bicycle picnics and races.) We have also equipped showers in our offices. As a result, each summer dozens of employees switch to this environment-friendly and healthy transport.

Results

Our activities in the field of corporate environmental responsibility allow achieving all three objectives mentioned earlier in this article. We comply with the legislation and reaffirm the image of a stable and modern company for our customers and partners. Another important thing is that employees who organize environmental activities makes a positive impact on team building. As a result, the world is getting greener and cleaner.

Therefore, we consider the adopted practice to be quite important. We are confident that its further development will contribute significantly to the improvement of corporate environmental responsibility of ICL Services.

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