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Green Business Network

BI - taking it to the next stage with CSR

Newport Pagnell based BI organises events for external clients. The company has a strong commitment to ensuring its business activities have as little effect on the environment as possible and is also determined to demonstrate its belief that businesses can be socially and ethically responsible whilst remaining profitable.

The company has been working with the Green Business Network (GBN) for several years now and has used many of the business support programmes on offer from the Network to help achieve its targets. These include attending GBN’s seminars, asking for online advice when needed, participating in the Resource Efficiency Action programme – designed to cut waste in all its forms – and sharing best practice with other businesses in Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes.

Resource Efficiency and carbon reduction activities have resulted in financial savings of £16,000 and a 20% carbon reduction in just one year. It has achieved these savings by introducing low and no-cost measures, such as switch-off schemes, cutting waste and sending more waste for reuse and recycling rather than to landfill. The business is now looking to make financial investments to further reduce its carbon footprint and make financial savings.

On top of these measures, BI has introduced a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility programme, which includes its environmental and carbon reduction activities alongside health and safety, ethical and moral purchasing, and contributing to social schemes locally, and nationally. For instance, to close the supply chain loop, BI uses only 100% recycled office paper, and any recyclable office material is also recycled or donated to charitable corporations: for example, metal, glass, PCs and their components, and copiers to educational institutions both in the UK and developing countries, etc; and stamps to Guide Dogs for the Blind. In addition, BI donates its Christmas card budget of £1000 to its corporate charity (voted for by staff) – Dreams Come True.

Alongside these initiatives, spare land around the site is used to plant trees and shrubs and bird feeders are provided to encourage local wildlife. This has the added benefit of making the workplace more attractive.

The company has also seen public relations rewards as a result of its corporate social responsibility work – taking a Gold Award at the Eventia UK Awards in 2007 for its project involving a local school. The project, in which BI allowed employees to take time out from usual business to enable them to put something back into the local community, involved transforming a Southwood School in Milton Keynes, which required substantial investment to improve the environment for both pupils and teachers.

As part of its commitment to corporate responsibility, BI donated £15,000 and, more importantly, the time and skills of its 120 employees.  In just one day, teams set about completing twelve different projects, which included: painting classrooms, re-vamping gardens and making a nature trial. Some of the funds were used to re-fit the school’s library; the kitchen used for home economics; and to provide a new stage.

The projects were those identified by the school as being high priority.  Through conversations with the teachers, and pupils, and site visits by BI employees over a period of six weeks tasks gradually came together.  Armed with just £1,000 and their own skills each team got to work contacting friends, family and local suppliers to source the necessary resources and man-power needed for the day.  Associates were given the additional challenge of trying to spend as little of their project budgets as possible; any money the teams did not spend was given directly back to the school, and at the end of the day BI presented the school with a cheque for £2,250.

Richard Bandell, BI’s managing director, comments: “This project has not onlymade a lasting difference to the lives of the children,it hasresponded to the feedback of our people, which is infinitely more motivational thangettingthemto do something that management think they would enjoy. It has promoted teamwork, driven moral and confidence, and given everyone involved a feel-good factor – you can’t put a value on that.”