We have been working on sustainability issues for a long time. So what are the little tricks and techniques that can be used to integrate environmentally and socially responsible action into our daily work? The IBA editorial team spoke to Pierre Meier-Fischer, Managing Director of the communications agency B2bee in Geislingen an der Steige, about measures that anyone can easily apply to contribute to the conservation of natural resources.
Mr. Meier-Fischer, your company practices sustainability almost as a matter of course. How is this reflected in the daily work of your agency?
We work in a hybrid manner as a virtual team. The people at B2bee form a network of experts, all of whom are specialists in their respective fields. Our team members are at home in different places around the world and have been working digitally since the agency was founded. We avoid business trips as far as possible and use public transport to travel to meetings where we are physically present. When producing printed matter, we pay to have the CO2 offset for our agency and our customers. In addition, we also set an example of sustainability in our agency’s daily work. For example, we use the German search engine Ecosia for conducting online searches. This search engine donates money for the purchase of trees per search query and plants a tree about every 47 queries. For printed matter, we use environmental and recycled paper, grass paper or cardboard. Moreover, you can save a lot of energy when it comes to website loading times. For example, the optimization of image data volumes, SEO values and functions ensures that less data is accessed on terminals and on the servers behind them. This results not only in energy savings but also in better Google indices and optimized search results.
What tips do you have for the daily work of employees and companies?
More sustainable work affects a wide variety of areas of the company and can be implemented in many places in one’s daily work. For me, sustainability generally involves a series of small steps. That’s at least the case with established companies. The less paper in an office, the better. Not everything has to be printed out and copied. Digitalization can also be implemented step by step. For example, companies can switch to digital invoicing processes and in future also process tasks such as payroll accounting and the like in PDF format. For items such as computer mice or keyboards, employees can easily use rechargeable batteries. As far as lighting is concerned, I recommend the use of motion detectors and time control. It’s also important to use LEDs instead of halogen lamps or traditional lighting systems. It’s even better if you use daylight and a lot of glass. And a central control unit with digital management can also save heating energy. Moreover, plants and planned ventilation provide fresh air and a pleasant atmosphere. Soda systems instead of PET bottles and lunch boxes instead of plastic bags or disposable microwave trays are small things that anyone can quickly introduce. This is also the case with carefully selected office supplies in the form of refill pens and recycled paper. This list could also be expanded in other areas. In this context, however, I think it is important that measures be implemented quickly and consistently.
Where do you currently see the biggest hurdles to becoming more sustainable in day-to-day work?
I think that the biggest hurdle consists of people’s mindsets. People often think sustainability results in additional costs and effort. However, I can assure you that we are now seeing a rethink. For example, why should you use a capsule coffee machine that creates waste every time a drink is brewed and thus pollutes the environment for years to come? Even the so-called wooden capsules destroy resources. Fresh bean coffee leaves only coffee grounds that even work wonders in the garden. Another example is using cotton towels in the bathroom instead of disposable paper towels. Cotton towels feel better and can be washed in the laundry after use. All this is not a question of money, but rather means a return to “proven” materials. And if an investment is necessary, you should always remember that you don’t do it because politicians think it’s better or because certain key figures have to be achieved, but because future generations also deserve to live in a vibrant and diverse world.
Mr. Meier-Fischer, thank you for this interview.