The Ecologist


Greening my office

Greening my office: choosing an ethical pension

Sylvia Sunshine

Sylvia takes a step towards financial security with her premier pension payment. But can she keep a clean conscience at the same time?

This week I sailed through a passage of rights, starting my lifelong pension. Of course, this statement reveals more about my lack of financial sense than it does about the environment. But still, this fiscal maturation has uncovered a considerable amount about the ethical status of pensions, as well as my organisation's lack of understanding herein.

Pension funds

A pension fund is a simple thing. Money is extracted from your salary, siphoned off into a pot somewhere and invested in stocks and shares. Then, when you're of eligible age, you can collect the swagger (which has hopefully multiplied in size) and use it to support yourself through retirement - along with a strong set of artificial limbs.

And the pension fund which currently administers my pension provides a great deal of comfort to its clients.

'We have over 60 years experience of advising on pensions' reads well on their website. 'Our main objective is to deliver quality... Read More...

Greening my office: can't we all just go camping instead of jetting off overseas?

Sylvia Sunshine

As her colleagues jet off to sunnier climes, Sylvia tackles the thorny issue of eco holidays - but will she pluck up the courage to confront her boss over his second home?

With the August Bank Holiday fast approaching there is much talk of holidays in the office. Everyone is at it. John (the company boss) is away for a fortnight, Jill comes back on Tuesday, Jane is off on Monday, so is the new intern, and I'm due for a break the week after next.
Most people relish the prospect of their annual vacation. In fact, for some it’s as if the child locked inside is just too excitable to be contained, bursting out at regular intervals with highly inappropriate zest, causing workloads to plummet.
Rightly so, however, a week’s break means leaving workloads behind - people have earned the right to leave their jobs at the door. But a holiday is not an excuse for people to leave their environmental consciences behind too.
Holiday chat
'There are so many different things on offer in the world of environmentally friendly holidaying,' I protest to my co-workers, not... Read More...

Greening my office: I got them to switch the heating off!

Sylvia Sunshine


Sylvia scores her first eco success - persuading her sceptical boss that heating an unoccupied portion of the office is a terrible waste of resources

It may sound like a working man’s cliché, but the weeks really do seem to fly by. Over the past couple of months I just haven’t stopped; with not one moment short of things to do.

In fact, with my inbox almost collapsing under its own weight, numerous reams of lengthy ‘to do’ lists piling up, and deadlines flying past me at a rate of knots, it’s any wonder that I manage to fit my daily 9-till-5 into its allotted 8 hour slot.

But although I put in the hours behind my desk, I frequently find that I am the only one.

Empty chairs

Sitting in the bay window of my empty office, slowly sipping on cold coffee and drearily packing away my papers at the end of the day, I start to wonder why it is that my office seems to operate so under capacity.

The majority of its employees are never there. Instead the workforce calls in sick, or emails the office at 9.15 with the dubious, yet... Read More...

Greening my office: an award for recycling is a nonsense

Sylvia Sunshine

Recycling logo in the sky

Sylvia is riled when her distinctly un-environmentally-friendly office receives a recycling award from a dubious source...

In our office we recycle waste. Not much, but some. If I were to guesstimate I would suggest that our recycling each week fills nothing more than a measly pillowcase-sized sack of waste.

I am not really sure if this constitutes a lot, but for those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you will know that this sack does not demonstrate the lack of waste in my office. No, at work we are the formidable kings and queens of waste. Headed paper, cardboard, and reports - reams and reams of the stuff. If we have it, we’ll chuck it. And I should know; I’m the one who’s obliged to carry these Santa-sized sacks of recyclable and non-recyclable unmentionables to the basement for collection each week.

We recycle just 20 per cent of our total waste. Comparatively little and highly unsatisfactory - at home my figure is more like 75 per cent.

If the recent mooted 'bin tax' were to go ahead (which, apparently, it won't), my office would... Read More...

Greening my office: tackling the meat question...

Sylvia Sunshine

A sausage

Sylvia uses a team lunch outing as a chance to quiz her colleagues on their views on vegetarianism and eating less meat

One Thursday afternoon the six person team from my office go out for lunch to a well-known organic restaurant in Soho. It is an unexpected treat from John (la grand fromage), to say thank you to everyone for all their hard work over the past couple of months.

It is also the perfect platform for me to develop my fight for higher environmental food standards amongst my co-workers; capitalising on their good mood, expectancy of a free meal and the excited prospect of returning back to the office mildly inebriated.

So, before the menus appear I start my offensive.

*The vegetarian question*

‘Have any of you ever been vegetarian?’ I say.

A hushed awkwardness wafts over the table, mixed with the smells of over-cooked vegetables from afar. No response.

I realise that although I have been musing on this topic for a few minutes now (well, actually two weeks in total), it must seem slightly out of... Read More...

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