Our Green Success Story!

Promoting environmental issues for over 10 years

Green success for Hunt & Coombs Solicitor with the Investors in the environment

At Hunt & Coombs Solicitors we have been promoting environmental issues for over 10 years having first developed our environment policy in 2006. Today environmental issues and the work we do in the community continue to form a key part of our Corporate Social Responsibility policy.

In 2008-09 we started measuring our monthly usage of gas, electric and water. Then in October 2010 we entered the Peterborough Miles Better Challenge where our staff were encouraged to travel to work sustainably and save emissions. We won the 50 to 250 employees category and were rewarded with the use of an office masseuse for the day!

When PECT launched the Investors in the Environment Standard we signed up straight away; it was time to focus on environmental issues, get staff engaged and shout more about what we were doing. In 2011 we were awarded IIE Silver at our Head office in Peterborough.

We had for many years recognised that as a business we have an impact on the environment and we wanted to minimise this impact and improve efficiency. The firm wanted to further improve its environmental performance in relation to services and operations and achieving this accreditation was the first clear recognition of the real improvements that had been made.

We developed a travel plan, action plans, started using more recycled paper and continued to improve our recycling arrangements. We updated our website to reflect our commitment to environmental issues and set out to reduce our use of energy and resources.

Reminders to turn off lights, print double sided and only print when really necessary, compost tea bags and apple cores, recycle sandwich packaging and get involved in the latest competition for growing the best vegetables or the tallest sunflower have all helped get staff involved! Many staff now car share with colleagues or family whilst others walk to work or cycle when they can. We even have bike sheds! Those with children are passing on their enthusiasm with many involving their children with gardening and tending allotments.

Having achieved the Investors in the Environment Silver award, we got the bug and decided to aim for “Green” accreditation in 2012. We did it and it remains an achievement of which we are hugely proud!

In 2014, we took part in the Travelchoice Workplace Challenge where one staff member won for the whole of Peterborough and also came top of the walking and public transport leader-boards! She scored 2065 points. We calculated that those who took part at Hunt & Coombs together burned 29,000 calories and saved 480kg in carbon emissions.

In November 2014 we were thrilled to be awarded the IIE Great Green Star Award. This really was the icing on the cake. The key to our success has been the commitment of our staff. They have been encouraged to take part in any way they can and have come up with new ideas and suggestions which have enabled us to continuously improve the firm’s environmental performance over recent years.

For over 3 years, we have been collecting and logging weekly data for our use of water, gas and electricity which helps to ensure that any issues are spotted promptly. We also measure our use of paper, recycling of confidential and general waste and our costs of travelling to training courses. In all areas we have made significant savings. In April 2016, we reduced our resource-use by the most we have ever managed with electricity down by 27%, gas down by 27% and water down by 42%.

We have taken part in Zero Waste Week on several occasions, most recently managing to  recycle 97% of our waste, whilst also continuing our ongoing composting process.

In 2015 and 2016 we took part in the Woodland Trust / Marks & Spencer Christmas cards for trees collection scheme. So far we have collected 4,681 cards which equates to almost 5 trees!

We have also sponsored the Thorpe Road roundabout for a number of years where wild flowers are sown.

Changes to our website have reflected the firm’s commitment to protecting our environment and encouraging others to do the same. Many of our clients share our commitment and have been very supportive of our efforts.

The journey has been a very positive one for the firm made more fun and rewarding as a result of the support and encouragement from all at the Peterborough Environment City Trust.

In 2017 we were awarded another Great Green Star Award and then in November 2017 we were delighted to win the Environment Category in the Peterborough Telegraph Business Awards.

Author

Gillian Bassett, Risk and Compliance Manager

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.