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While the headlines of the last few months have been dominated by just one topic, another story has been more quietly reported – the positive impact our new way of working and living is having on the environment
With many factories closed, combined with fewer cars on the road and fewer planes in the sky, levels of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions reduced dramatically. In China alone, a 40% drop in NO₂ levels in January and February in some areas equates to removing a whopping 192,000 cars. And while only time will tell if this trend will continue once life returns to ‘normal’, the statistics will no doubt prompt many businesses to assess their eco-credentials for the future.
With Earth Day taking place this year on 22nd April 2020, Regus has looked at its own impact on the environment and how it can continue helping other businesses keen to do the same.
Developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), the LEED certification is a globally recognised model for the promotion of green construction practices. Standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, it asks constructors to consider the impact their buildings have on CO2 emissions, energy savings, general wastage, indoor environment, water efficiency, plus the stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts – and rates them accordingly. From China to Sweden, many Regus and Spaces properties around the world are LEED-certified: the Regus property in Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou and the new Spaces Hammarby Allé, set to open in the autumn, have earned platinum status – LEED’s highest category.
Supporting eco-friendly businesses
Green building credentials aside, some of Regus’s properties house green businesses and organisations too. In Rio de Janeiro, the Regus Botafogo Pasteur counts Brazil’s Climate Policy Initiative among its members. “With deep expertise in policy and finance, CPI works to improve the most important energy and land-use practices around the world,” says senior analyst Tatiana Alves. A pioneering not-for-profit, the organisation understands that business can coexist alongside caring for the environment: “Our mission is to help governments, businesses, and financial institutions drive growth while addressing climate risk,” she adds.
Championing businesses that care
In the Manchester Airport Regus, the Ocean Refresh brand is doing something special to make holidays more sustainable. The company gathers plastic bottles found in oceans and on shorelines and recycles them into 100% biodegradable flipflops, in a bid to create a new ecosystem that works for “all living creatures”. On course to remove 2m bottles from the world’s waters by 2021, Ocean Refresh also supports how flexspace can contribute to positive environmental change thanks to the way it reduces commuting (and carbon) for local employees. It can be seen as a wholly holistic endeavour, since less hassled, happier workers have been shown to result in increased productivity too.
Cutting the commute
Flexible workspaces can assist in the reduction of emissions on a day-to-day basis too. Allowing a workforce to forego a company headquarters in favour of a local workspace that’s closer to home not only cuts the commute but also carbon dioxide in the process. And what might sound like a small contribution can soon add up: the Suburban Economic Survey, an independent study by Development Economics and commissioned by Regus, found that the introduction of a local flexspace could save an average of 118 metric tonnes of carbon a year. To put that in perspective, the report illustrates what this looks like on a global scale, stating that “this amounts to 2,560,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent of 128,000 flights between London and New York”.
Running green initiatives
Many of the people who make up the Regus community around the world bring their enthusiasm for the environment to work with them. In Spain, for example, community events are common, with Spaces Atocha Estación’s “water day” and Spaces José Abascal’s “climate day” both raising awareness of environmental issues.