How RSK staff members are cutting their carbon footprint in the workplace

Climate Change and Sustainability January 13, 2022

Our staff members have been making positive changes to their lives by adapting their usual practices and following new ways of living sustainably that when combined will make a huge difference to the planet.

As well as changing the way they live, many of our staff are also changing the way they work, so in the second of a series of articles about carbon reduction, we look at how some of our employees have adapted their way of working to cut down their carbon emissions.

Almost four years ago, 108 solar panels were installed onto the roof of RSK company CR Civil Engineering‘s Loughborough head office and since they have been commissioned, the business has saved 15 tonnes of carbon to date!

The company’s low-carbon procurement strategy reduces its carbon footprint by clearly detailing the maximum geographical distance from which any CR Civil Engineering site team can procure.

Richard Clark from CR Civil Engineering said, “Our dedicated transport manager and his team follow our strict calibration and maintenance procedure for vehicles, plant and equipment, ensuring we conform to current legislative requirements and industry best practice and taking into consideration the organisation’s environmental and safety performance targets and objectives.

“We have recently purchased a new fleet of low-emission vehicles. We ensure that operatives working in teams share transport to and from sites to minimise vehicle journeys, reducing fuel usage. CR Civil Engineering has invested in a one-of-a-kind dual-purpose fuel bowser to refuel our HGVs at our yard in Ripley. There are currently two tanks: one holds 30,000 litres of white diesel and the other holds 2000 litres of AdBlue (diesel exhaust fluid),” he explained.

“Both of these tanks are concealed in a 40-ft container for security. The software package that comes with the bowser is state-of-the-art technology that instantly downloads the pump information, which makes it effective for documenting the amount of fuel being used and changes that occur and monitoring the efficiency of the fuel bowser.”

Meanwhile, Adam Foss, Country Manager for RSK Uganda, explained how he ofsets his carbon footprint despite travelling extensively for his work.

“I am a member of RSK staff that probably has one of the larger carbon footprints due to the amount of international travel I do (flights),” he said. “I happen to live in Crete and have managed to use some inherited land to plant trees on to try to offset my travel footprint.

“I still have some space on this land, and to offset a recent trip to the UK, I planted three trees. I chose trees for offsetting because of the biodiversity element they could provide. As I am a keen ornithologist, I thought tree planting was a good idea.”

Linda Kavishe, RSK Environmental Consultant, corporate social responsibility (CSR) representative and safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ) assistant, says, “At the office level for our CSR activities, we do science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) work with our neighbouring school and track our emissions, waste and water usage.

“At an individual level, we engage with the community through seaweed farming at Mlingotini in Bagamoyo, UN Sustainable Development Goals advocacy in both primary and secondary schools (especially goal number 13, climate action) and we participate in clean-ups.”

Meanwhile, RSK business Cognica has come up with an innovative way to reduce its use of paper in the workplace. Managing Director Barry Crisp explained how the business used to produce a large project manual for clients but is now encouraging customers to keep this manual digital and not print a hard copy.

“For those customers who require a printed copy, we give them the option to make a carbon offset donation that we pass on to the Woodland Trust to plant new trees to help combat climate change,” adds Nigel.

Shane Fearon, Chartered Structural Engineer at RSK company Nicholas O’Dwyer in Newry, Northern Ireland, explains how new technology can potentially save significantly on carbon emissions.

“For example, we used to have to inspect roofs and walls using a mobile elevated work platform or crane,” he said. “Now a drone is regularly used, reducing our carbon emissions by up to 95%.

“As yet, we do not have an office charging point or an office electric car, but that may change in due course. In the meantime, we reduce carbon emissions by grouping a number of adjacent projects together. We, along with other companies, now prefer to have Zoom-type meetings as opposed to site meetings,” Shane explained.

For his work, Peter Taylor, Managing Director of RSK Communication Services, has travelled to Libya, Kazakhstan and other exotic destinations in the past, but not for a decade or more.

“Now, all our meetings are via the internet, which cuts out the need to fly. In my youth, I travelled extensively, but these days I’m content to holiday in the UK,” says Peter.

“Nearly all our work at RSK Communication Services is promoting decarbonisation and renewable energy installations for international energy and engineering companies. However, I’m increasingly aware that these organisations, driven by consumer demand (i.e., from us), continue to make most of their money from pumping geological carbon into the atmosphere. They are making great strides to decarbonise.”

Selina Ward and Richard Foster from RSK business WRc recently attended Aquatech 2021 in Amsterdam and travelled there and back by Eurostar.

“As one of the information screens said, 13 Eurostar journeys are equivalent to one flight,” explained Selena.

Meanwhile, after Richard’s old Saab died, failing its MOT beyond economic repair, rather than buy a new car, Richard has been cycling to the office at least three days a week. “Result? Better bank balance, fitter body and cycling-enthusiast son impressed! Oh, and less pollution in Swindon.” added Richard.

It’s fantastic that so many of our staff are making such efforts to cut their carbon footprint – well done to all!