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Inside Grant Thornton

World Environment Day: adapting to a hybrid working world

Saturday 5 June is World Environment Day. Learn how our firm is bringing to life our commitment to a sustainable future and adapting environmental behaviours as we move towards a hybrid-working world.

World Environment Day reminds us of the need for collective action around protecting our planet. Although carbon emissions from fossil fuels decreased by 7% worldwide last year, a potential rebound to pre-pandemic behaviours and increased carbon levels means the threat posed by climate change remains all too real.

We were the first accountancy firm in the world to commit to the Science-Based Targets initiative. We aim to reduce carbon emissions by 21% through operational and behavioural change. We are also fully committed to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as per the UK net zero emissions law.

Remote working has become more widely accepted, and 88% of us would prefer to spend less than half of the working week in the office after lockdown. As we return to the office, we need to continue practising the positive behaviours that have supported a more sustainable working life.

How can we remain sustainable as a firm?

We can continue to make positive environmental choices every day while working from home and applying these to wherever we work, including in the office.

As a firm, we printed approximately 705,000 pages in February 2020, compared to 67,000 pages in March 2021. This reduction equates to saving 63 trees! To learn more about our firm's environmental performance over the past year, please see page 10 in our firm's 2020 annual accounts [ 3082 kb ].

Find out below how some of our colleagues are committing to one positive environmental habit to continue acting sustainably as we adapt to a hybrid working world.

Our positive environmental habits

Paper

"Since we've been working from home, I've used a lot less paper. So, I'll make sure I'm mindful of how much I print when back at the office!" Archie Pine-Coffin, Associate, Leeds.

"Ecosia, an internet search engine which plants trees for searches, is now my preference." Soham Gehani, Associate Director, London Finsbury Square.

Food and packaging waste

"Working from home, I've realised there's no need to grab breakfast and lunch from Pret when there's a fridge full of food at home. Less waste, less packaging, and less cost!" Simon Hardman, Manager, Manchester.

"I will continue to buy locally, especially as stores close by use less plastic packaging." Ruth Murphy, Associate, Cardiff.

"Working from home inspired me to cook plant-based lunches. I'll bring these to work in a reusable container so that I do my bit to save the planet, animals and money all at the same time!" Syndie Simon, Manager, Oxford.

"I've been eating more vegan food and will aim to make lunchtimes meat-free, which will, in turn, reduce my carbon footprint." Thomas Collins, CAST Team Leader, Belfast.

Recycling

"During lockdown, I learned you're not supposed to put things like coffee pods or capsules in the recycling bin. So, I'll be more mindful of where I put waste when we're back in the office!" Jaz Gawera, Associate, Milton Keynes.

"We've seen positive impacts pre-pandemic with increased recycling throughout the Birmingham office. Following the pandemic, printing has significantly fallen. When we return, we really do need to think before we print and use digital resources instead." Emily Morris, Associate, Birmingham.

Energy

"Leaving devices like laptops plugged in or on standby still uses a fair amount of electricity. So, I will remember to switch off my laptop when I'm finished for the day to conserve energy." Fayola Francis, Assistant Manager, Leicester.

Travel

"Riding to work instead of taking the train takes me the same time door-to-door, keeps me active and reduces my carbon footprint!" Claire Cairns, Associate, Glasgow.

"If we all aim to do something environmentally conscious every day, like taking the stairs instead of the lift, we're literally taking a step in the right direction!" Abisoye Ilaka, Associate, London Finsbury Square.

How can you reduce your carbon footprint?

  • Incorporate more meat-free meals into your weekly food schedule
  • Walk or cycle to work where you can (or part of the way)
  • Use reusable cups, crockery and cutlery
  • Invest in reusable face masks (ensuring they're washed regularly)
  • Prepare your lunch meals for the week to avoid buying pre-packaged foods when on the move
  • Have a tech or travel free day over the weekend
  • Make sure your electronics are not left on standby overnight

Discover more about our other sustainability initiatives →