Since forming its internal task group - Eco-Leaders' Green Committee - Summertown Interiors has achieved 26% of the targets outlined in its nine-year plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020.
The group is rotated among all employees, and is responsible for identifying sustainable practices across five areas - clients, suppliers, people, operations and measurement.
In addition to an environmentally-conscious culture within the workplace, the firm has undertaken green projects and improving waste management practices across all sites.
The committee has taken steps to reduce, reuse and recycle Summertown’s construction waste as part of its waste management program. In the last year, the committee introduced mandatory practices for site workers such as segregation and recycling of waste items like metal, glass and concrete and reusing of site materials wherever possible. In addition to reducing wastage, these also help in subsidising material costs for clients. This program also applies to its own factories and offices.
Additional steps have been taken by the committee to encourage the usage of green materials and products. A green products index has been created to rate products according to their environmental benefits and to help procurement managers select the most relevant resources for each job.
Summertown is also in the process of developing green products at its joinery facility. So far the company has completed the product design specification of 60-minute and 120-minute green fire doors. The doors, which are currently being reviewed for third party green-certification, will go into production early next year.
The firm has reviewed its HR and recruitment procedures to rate the levels of environmental awareness and sustainability activities among existing and prospective staff. Summertown’s management has also integrated sustainability goals into its corporate objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs) for employees so that their achievements directly impacts rewards.
Other initiatives to improve environmental awareness among Summertown’s stakeholders include its ‘Green in Action’ workshops as well as participation in various environmental events and seminars. The workshops invite senior decision makers and executives from the industry to discuss ways in which they can reduce their company’s carbon footprint, share tips to be more environmentally responsible and learn from case studies.
In addition to its LEED Gold-certified showroom, the Eco-Leaders committee will ensure all projects undertaken by Summertown will be delivered in accordance with the firm’s green principles, even when not specified by the client.
Marcos Bish, managing director of Summertown Interiors said: "As a green fit-out partner, the Eco-Leaders Green committee forms an integral part of our CSR strategy. The UAE’s Vision 2021 aims to further the position of the country as a sustainable nation and our goal to become carbon-neutral is in accordance with this. It is just as important for companies in the private sector to integrate sustainability into their business strategies as it is for government entities. However, a company cannot fully achieve its sustainable goals if they do not secure their employees’ commitment to these and develop an environmentally-conscious culture both within and outside of the workplace.”