Picking Low Hanging Sustainability Fruit Around the Office
Susan Stocker and Suzanne Low represent Teck at our recycling booth, which was featured at an Eco-Fair tradeshow on sustainable business practices and products. Along with 10 other employee volunteers, they explained the importance of mining and electronic recycling to the public during the two day Eco-Fair.
We have formed a grass roots Sustainability Initiatives Group (SIG) in our Vancouver office to identify and implement “low hanging sustainability fruit” projects that are fast and easy to implement. Starting with a handful of employees, some bright ideas and the support of senior management, the SIG has rapidly implemented some big changes that benefit the environment while engaging our employees. Some examples of the group’s initiatives include the reduction of plastic water bottle usage in our head office, applying sustainability related procurement criteria when we source our office supplies, introducing composting to the head office, recycling office light bulbs and participating in sustainability related challenges and fairs. While these initiatives also have a positive sustainability impact, their real value is the opportunity for our employees to become involved and interested in sustainability. This allows us to work towards our goal of creating a true culture of sustainability at Teck, where all employees, both at operations and in our offices, apply a sustainability lens to their work, which is a mindset that continuously considers sustainability in everyday actions.
Some of the achievements the SIG has made with these projects include:
- Being the first out of over 200 companies in our office complex to implement composting. Within 4 months of composting at our head office, we have diverted 1.2 tonnes of waste that would have ended up in a landfill.
- Participating in our office complex Monitor Shut Down Challenge, where we encouraged employees to turn off their computer monitors at the end of the day and winning against our competitor company.
- Encouraging our office complex to purchase a Bulb Eater which crushes fluorescent light bulb tubes without discharging mercury. More than 10,000 light bulbs will be recycled in this manner over the next ten years at our office complex.
One of our main initiatives is to increase the use of social enterprises at Teck. Social enterprises are organizations which imbed social and environmental goals into their business model. Since August 2009 we have created 36 contracts with social enterprises and look forward to continuing our support. Our future plans include developing a central website to share sustainability related news and resources. By creating a medium for employees to engage in sustainability related activities at our head office, we are working towards our goal of imbedding a culture of sustainability at Teck.