Over the last decade sustainability and the circular office have been and continue to be extremely high on the agenda for PwC, the multinational professional services network headquartered in London. Below is a synopsis of their intiatives and there is more information available in their document:
Corporate Sustainablity Lessons Learned: Going Circular, Our Ten Year Journey
At PwC UK, printer paper is sourced in a ‘closed loop’ from a state-of-the-art paper mill.
Steinbeis takes the high quality post-consumer paper waste and makes new, office-grade paper which PwC buy back in. This allows the fibres to be recycled around 20 times, instead of the industry average of seven, making it significantly more circular at no extra cost.
At PwC UK, laptops and smartphones are reused whenever possible. When no longer needed, instead of opting for basic shredding they are sent to the PwC IT recycling partner, who securely removes all the data and then refurbishes the items to ‘good-as-new’ and sells them on.
Any items beyond repair are broken down and the materials are recovered and recycled via a work programme for inmates at a local prison - which in turn reduces reoffending rates.
For more details, see our video at www.pwc.co.uk/refresh-restart-reuse
If you’d like to refurbish or recycle your IT equipment, or buy refurbished laptops, contact email@example.com to find out more.
The suppliers that provide catering, security, hospitality, welcome and cleaning services in PwC UK’s offices employ around 675 uniformed support staff on PwC's behalf, issuing an estimated 3,300 items of clothing every year, weighing just under one tonne.
PwC asked them to collaborate on a simple ‘take-back system’. PwC now gather up old uniforms and send them to a textile recycler where logos are destroyed, and garments are shredded to make insulation for the automotive industry.
The PwC video shares the whole story: www.pwc.co.uk/cut-from-the-same-cloth.
PwC UK, used to provide fund-raising volunteers with a team t-shirt. Yet, many people only wore it for one day, so for greater circularity they redesigned them.
PwC UK replaced messaging on teh tshirt with a sticker that could be taken off at the end of the day. They then encouraged people to wear the same t-shirt during subsequent volunteering activities, issuing just a new badge, rather than a whole new top.
PwC provide drinking water taps and compostable cups to keep their people hydrated. Still, more than 90% of their plastic waste is single-use food and drink packaging brought in from outside shops.
With plastic pollution in our oceans reaching a tipping point, PwC wanted to see if they could reduce this. They issued staff with a reusable Give Me Tap bottle in return for completing a survey once a day, for five weeks.
PwC UK offer people free hot and cold drinks in cups that can be commercially composted after use, but they recently also introduced a sustainable bamboo tumbler to people who were happy to switch to a reusable cup.
Bamboo is fast-growing, requires no fertiliser, pesticide or herbicide and it self-propagates – so there’s no need for replanting which can cause soil erosion. This makes it a good alternative to other materials.
To reduce wastage and maximise the commercial value of the initiative, PwC tied the cups in to two firm-wide strategic programmes, branding them with messages about their data protection policies, and their new learning system.
At PwC, switching the soap in the office washrooms with a product from The Soap Co. was an all-round good move.
The Soap Co. products are made in a local factory adapted to provide work for people with a range of disabilities and long-term health conditions, contributing to social inclusion in Britain while protecting the environment. The Soap Co. believes everyone is capable of doing something great.
This luxurious, ethical soap smells great too!
If you’d like to switch your soap, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The harmful environmental impact of western diets and the health benefits of eating more vegetables is increasingly understood. So PwC UK, joined the Food Foundation’s UK-wide ‘Peas Please’ campaign, collaborating with their caterer, BaxterStorey, to increase the spend on vegetables served in the restaurants in our offices from 15% of the total, to 20% within one year.
To read more, see www.pwc.co.uk/peasplease.
To find out about how to make a ‘Peas Please’ pledge, contact www.foodfoundation.org.uk/peasplease
Every office has stationery, and whilst the items tend to be small, they are some of the hardest to tackle. Made of composite materials, hard to disassemble, and sometimes containing hazardous components (such as ink), biros, marker pens, staplers, hole punchers, and ring-binders tend to finish up in landfill at the end of their useful life.
PwC have already taken several steps to reduce the environmental impact of their stationery: centralising cupboards and streamlining the varieties, moving to digital document storage and adopting technology-enabled collaboration platforms has reduced the volume of paper and pens used in the business.
When PwC UK, were designing their first BREEAM outstanding-rated building at 7 More London, they wanted to find innovations that made a step change in their energy consumption and carbon footprint. PwC U decided to fit the building with a site-level combined heat and power (CHP) plant which converts waste heat from electricity generation into heating or cooling for the building, significantly reducing their energy needs.
Next, they collaborated with their catering company and a local refinery to collect used cooking oil from London restaurants, including their own, and convert it into a biofuel suitable for their generators.
Working with suppliers and the local community they were able to create a low carbon, ‘closed loop’ that takes a waste product and turns it into a useful, sustainable fuel.
View the video of the whole story: www.pwc.co.uk/out-of-the-frying-pan
PwC UK have a flexible ‘dress for the day’ code, but their people tend to wear smart clothes when meeting clients, many of which require dry-cleaning. Yet, the solvents used in traditional dry-cleaning become a hazardous waste, have been associated with health issues for workers, and the cleaning process has a significant carbon and water footprint.
PwC UK collaborated with a new company, VCleanLife, to install an eco-alternative in one of their offices. Using a new ‘wet cleaning’ technology, it cleans clothes using just water and biodegradable soap.
Employees can drop off items at any time of day and pick them up within 24 hours, using VClean’s patented app and service unit.