What Have You Done to Help?
April 22nd of this year marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Appropriately, this past year has seen endless efforts from a variety of businesses contributing to the Earth Day message, doing their part to become environmentally responsible. Let’s take a look at some of these green companies, and see what they have done to make the Earth more environmentally sound.
Announced in January of this year, the Chrysler Group has saved more than $50 million a year through incorporating almost 50 percent recycled materials into a new factory and reduced their landfill waste to zero. Now in its 16th year of its “pro-environmental thinking” program, the company has been able to reduce its CO2 emissions by 370,000 metric tons a year.
This month, Governor of Nevada, Jim Gibbons, announced a plan to add solar panels to its state buildings and installations. The technology and type of project is a small-scale urban solar development called distribution generation. With no need to build transmission lines, animals’ habitats are not affected, and the need for NV Energy to burn natural gas and coal in its power plants is reduced, helping clean the air and fight climate change.
Burger King is doing its part too! It has opened its first energy-efficient store in Waghäusel, Germany. The store design utilizes the latest eco-friendly technologies and renewable energy to power one-third of the restaurant’s energy consumption. By using solar photovoltaic and wind turbines, Burger King will be saving nearly half of this restaurant’s yearly electricity costs. In addition, the restaurant kitchen uses a batch broiler that maximizes cooking flexibility while reducing gas consumption and related costs by about 52 percent and 90 percent. All Burger King restaurants in North America have also installed this broiler and the international rollout is expected to be complete by 2012. Every little thing makes a difference!
Let’s take another look at the American West where Harrah’s Rincon Casino in San Diego, California is now using energy from a nearby solar farm to power its air-conditioning system. The casino’s plant is expected to supply about 90 percent of the power required by the new AC unit. The resort also has a solar-heated pool, energy-efficient lighting, and refrigerators in guest rooms that only turn on when cooling is needed.
Coca Cola Enterprises is also taking the solar route to do their part. They have installed solar light pipe and is testing other lighting in order to further decrease energy consumption. Through these efforts and other energy saving measures in its fleets, equipment, and buildings reduced Coca Cola’s carbon footprint by 10 percent in 2008 and 2009. The company has a list of 2020 goals, including reducing its carbon footprint by 15 percent, making its operations water sustainable by minimizing consumption and replenishing amount it uses to local communities, reducing packaging impacts, helping consumers make informed beverage decisions and creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
As these companies have made large changes for large impacts, small changes make all the difference too. If you don't call the shots you can still help in the office by asking yourself these questions before you act:
- Do I really need to print this document?
- Does my computer or my office lights need to stay on all night?
- Can I carpool with a co-worker? If you have to drive to work, do your errands on the way in or on the way home so you don't have to make a special trip.
- Can I get my co-workers to recycle at the office? Volunteer to take it home and recycle if your office building doesn't offer it. Your co-workers will then be encouraged to start recycling on their own.
If you are in a position to have an influence on the document management practices of the business, start making an environmental impact by going paperless!