17 May 2023

Small Companies Can Make a Big Difference - for nature and employees (Guest Blog from Illuminet)

Guidance on grassroots nature and wellbeing schemes from Eleanor Wood, Junior Project Manager and Eco-Ambassador, at Illuminet Solutions

ESG, SDGs, climate strategy, Net Zero plans, carbon emissions reporting - just to name a few of the things that companies are increasingly having to spend time and resource on. It’s important but it can feel overwhelming and, at times, intangible.  

For small companies, limited resource and lack of support or guidance can make sustainability feel unobtainable. Compounded with the fact that they might not have the same influence to make industrial or supply chain changes, they are at risk of feeling powerless in making a difference for the environment.

Small companies can, however, make a big difference by taking action on the ground. In fact, they may be in a unique position to be able to make tangible changes which reduce emissions and have an incredible impact on their own sphere of influence to help the planet.

Identify what you can control, not what you can’t.

Learning what emissions or environmental issues you have direct control over is a great way to focus that limited time and resource. Small companies may not have a procurement team that can work on supplier improvements but can ensure to protect what they’ve already got and avoid waste where possible.

Of course, this is a simplified example, but it demonstrates the steer towards what can be controlled or influenced, not what can’t be. So how can small companies get started with their own sustainability initiatives?

Sometimes the simpler your goal, the bigger the pay off .

At Illuminet, our approach is simple: Greener.  Yes, that’s really it. How can we make our business, our suppliers, our employees, our actions, our impact, Greener?  

Our head start is our Treevolution initiative which started in 2019. For every week one of our consultants is placed in a role, we will plant a tree in the Yorkshire Dales.   

Now, inspired by the eco-mission card game Ecoodle, we are extending this green initiative by setting an eco-mission every month of the year. Every employee gets an Ecoodle pack to help ‘go green’ at home and every month we set a new challenge that the whole team can get involved with. 

Our eco-missions so far: 

  • In January, we raised awareness about food waste by taking on the challenge to live off £10 for a week whilst taking the opportunity to donate over 120 items to food banks.  
  • In February, some of our team visited the Yorkshire Dales to help plant the trees for Treevolution and those who couldn’t go were given tips on how to grow trees at home. We now have a few apple and lemon trees growing in our Poole office! 
  • In March, we held a dress down day to raise money for and donate equipment to Hedgehog rescue centres.  
  • In April, we’ve saved over 49kg CO2e by encouraging our employees to try car sharing, take public transport or walk to their offices/client meetings.  
  • In May we’ll be hosting our annual Make A Difference Day, where we will be picking litter and raising money to plant trees through our JustGiving page.  

The result?  

A tangible impact on our environment. We know that every month we are saving waste, helping biodiversity, decreasing carbon emissions, and supporting wildlife. By focusing on what we can influence, we’ve used our time and energy efficiently to become a more sustainable company.  

The effect?  

A greener work culture. Setting a simple, yet effective, goal has boosted employee engagement. We now have a dedicated Eco-Ambassador team that meet regularly to track our progress. Our colleagues can contribute ideas and more importantly, see the impact they’re having. What’s more, they’re taking this initiative into their personal lives. 

Where small companies thrive on the passion and enthusiasm of their employees, sustainability can become a catalyst for innovative thinking and may even result in improvements in products and services.  

Don’t lose sight of the goal 

It’s easy to get lost in policies and regulations, but making sustainability simple and accessible is a powerful way of influencing those around us to do more for the planet.  

If you’d like to support our Make A Difference Day: JustGiving page 

To learn more about the inspiration behind our eco-missions: Ecoodle 

To keep up to date with our Greener initiative: 

LinkedIn: Illuminet   

Instagram: illuminet_eco   

Twitter: @illuminet_Sol   

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