This is part of our year-long celebration of Global Wire Associates’ 10th Anniversary.
Global Wire Associates has made environmental sustainability a priority since our beginning. We strongly believe green business is in the best interest of the firm, the environment and our clients, as you may have noticed with our 2012 Recharge E-waste campaign, our subsequent book, our report from the Rio+20 conference and our continued coverage of environmental issues from technological and development perspectives. Climate change is a serious problem, and we are doing our part to curb it.
We recently had a business environmental consultant meet with us and do an audit of the firm. He looked at our green practices over the last ten years and made some recommendations.
Here were his findings on our carbon footprint. These numbers are an average for the last decade and based on 10-12 employees and their habits.
|Tons of CO2||Offset Cost|
Here is how the numbers break down:
Since we are a virtual business, we don’t have a full-time physical office. We are a staff of 12 based in seven countries that mostly works online with occasional in-person meetings.
Like we said before, we are a virtual business, so we don’t have a physical office. It is not often we meet with each other. We mostly do video conferences and telephone chats. Approximately 70 percent of our client interactions are also online or by phone. When we do have employee meetings or workshops, we mostly commute by mass transit. Only two of us own cars that are used regularly for work.
Depending on where our workshops are held worldwide, sometimes we have to provide transportation to get clients to our locations. We are currently looking into ways to reduce transportation needs and provide either more direct online classes or other alternative solutions when possible.
As a digital communications firm, we do use a lot of technology. Most of the our electronic tools – cameras, computers, mobiles – are completely used or have recycled parts. We do this to help reduce the growing problem of “e-waste.” Also, all of our computer equipment connect to power strips, which we turn off and unplug at the end of the work day to preserve energy.
Powering down all electronics at the end of the work day has really made a difference in preserving energy. However, we do still spend between 8-12 hours a day doing work on our computers and mobiles, which exert a lot of energy. Ten of us use laptops, which tend to be more energy-efficient since they don’t need to be plugged into an outlet every time they are used like desktops. We are still exploring new ways to reduce our emissions in this area. Global Wire Design recently started using green web hosting for websites to reduce the electricity needed to run web servers.
As you may have noticed, we have reduced the number of in-person workshops worldwide. Traveling thousands of miles a year by airplane greatly impacts the environment. We used to do up to 30 events a year; now it is down to 10-12 events yearly. While nothing can genuinely replace face-to-face interactions, both our staff and clients prefer the convenience and frugality of webinars. We plan on increasing the number of webinars in the near future now that the Classroom and Classroom Premium are fully functioning.
The great thing about computer office software and other online tools is the ability to reduce the amount of printed paper used. Almost anything can be emailed or texted to anyone we want to see our work. However, whenever we do use paper, it is recycled. In fact, we use paper made out of sugar cane waste.
Our digital products make up about 85 percent of sales, which allows for efficient online shopping and lower carbon emissions. Fifteen percent of the time our clients do request printed copies of our books and other materials that have to be taken by air or ship cargo. This is generally when we are working with certain clients or hosting workshops in areas where Internet access is limited. There are also clients that still require a printed invoice or fee schedules. Up until three years ago, we were sending 60 pounds of snail mail a year. Today that is now down to 5 pounds a year.
Although we still need to work on some stuff, we have come a long way in being more sustainable. We are releasing our environmental audit with the hope that other individuals and organizations will look at ways to reduce their carbon footprint!