Illuminet’s Eco Initiative – Investing in a sustainable future

As part of our 10th Anniversary in 2019, we announced Illuminet’s Eco Initiative, including our litter pick-up events, convincing our office providers to switch to renewable energy and our partnership with Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) giving out wildflower seed packets and planting 1 tree per consultant per week, 5 trees per permanent position filled and 10 trees per Product delivery.  

We have strived to balance the growth and success of our business with our goal to offset our carbon footprint, to prove that it’s possible to deliver excellence to our clients, while also being ethical and ecological.

Leading up to the Covid-19 Crisis, we had done a number of team litter pick-ups and we had funded the planting of nearly 2000 new trees!  We had scheduled our first annual Litter Sprint Event, which we were inviting 100 clients, friends and family to join us for 1 hour, to each pick up 100 pieces of litter, clearing 10,000 pieces of litter overall and raising £10,000 to fund the planting of 1,000 extra trees!

Then the world turned upside down and so unfortunately, due to the lockdown we had to postpone our events and tree planting.

During the crisis, there has been a terrible impact on so many lives, with countless  families losing loved ones and everyone living in fear and sadness.  This massively contrasted with what was happening in nature.  There was peace and quiet in the country, suburbs, towns and cities.  With millions of people working from home or being furloughed, travel evaporated.  People used social media and video conferencing to get their job done and to socialise in many innovative ways!  Outside, birds seemed louder, the air and skies were clearer and it seemed as if nature was repairing itself.  Everyone seemed to be enjoying nature more, cherishing the ability to get out for a walk, run or cycle.  There was a call for rebuilding better.

We unfortunately had to pause our Eco Initiative in the crisis, but we have continued to support our clients, develop new offerings and look for ways we could help them where they were struggling.  In parallel, the Illuminet Team has made the most of this time, to develop themselves too – physically, emotionally and academically.  Some of the bravest of our team have been out litter picking too (while socially distancing of course!).  Many of the team also took the time to plant the wildflower seeds in their own gardens and have started to see green shoots (hopefully our economy will do the same)!

As the lockdown has been lifting, we’ve seen many people making a mad dash to jump back into cars, rush to the parks, forests and beaches, seemingly forgetting our desire to change.  This had led to forest fires from discarded BBQs and piles of litter left everywhere.  

So, have we truly learnt any lessons and can we avoid the temptation just to go back to the way we acted before the crisis?

The Illuminet Team has missed being able to meet clients face to face as well as being in the office, working with each other.  But as an eco-friendly company, we are keen to ensure there is a balance between the economy and the environment.  We were already used online collaboration tools, but now we’ve learnt how to maximise our effectiveness across multiple platforms and media, to engage with our clients and our team.  We’ve made the extra effort to improve what we communicate while increasing the frequency, as remote working can be an isolating experience.  We have also learned how to make communication more fun (though I’m not sure the Team always find Greg and my sense of humour that funny)!

So, as we get on with business, we will embed the changes we have made, and will re-invigorate our Eco Initiative.

We are holding off going back to offices for the moment and will continue to work remotely, but where delivery is needed on a client site, we will do so when safe to do.  Even after the crisis, we will carefully think about when it’s essential to travel and will make better use of online tools for video conferences, collaboration, vlogs and webinars to work with each other and share our messages.

In the coming weeks we hope to reschedule our Litter Sprint Event, and to restart our tree planting with our Partner Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust in the UK, and our US Team in Illuminet Inc. will be working with the Delaware Prosperity Partnership to find a North American tree planting partner.  

In the meantime, we are planning a Make a Difference Day!  In the first week in July. Many of our team members will be giving something back to their local communities, and will take the chance to get together (socially distanced) to catch up!

Why are litter pick-ups and tree planting important?  

We generate over 100 million tonnes of waste every year – much of which ends up on the streets or in our oceans.

As industry and carbon levels grow again, we need to minimise the negative impact we have on the environment, and so giving nature a chance to keep hold of the recovery it started to make:

• Trees absorb carbon and help to combat climate change 

•  They create new habitats for wildlife and support biodiversity 

•  They create natural spaces where people can relax and enjoy themselves 

•  They protect the landscape against flooding and erosion and improve water quality 

•  They restore part of our natural landscape that’s been lost due to deforestation.

• The UK has only 13% woodland cover, compared with an EU average of 37% – in the Yorkshire Dales that figure falls to just 4.8%.

What have you learnt?  What will you do differently?

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John Opsblum
Chief Commercial Officer

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