A Sustainable Workplace

Building a sustainable workplace can have a hugely positive impact on businesses. More companies than ever before are pitching sustainable options to encourage employees to become more environmentally conscious.

Eco-friendly Checklist:

1.  What is a sustainable workplace? A working environment that graciously balances the planet, people (employees), and profit to ensure viability and longevity.

2.  What does carbon footprint actually mean? In simple terms, your carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air because of your own energy needs.

3.  What is renewable energy used for? There are 7 types of renewable energy: Solar, Wind, Hydro, Tidal, Geothermal, and Biomass. ALL can be used to generate electric power with no, or very little, negative environmental impact.

4.  What makes a business sustainable? A company aiming for an environmental certification such as LEED for a new fit-out enables sustainable commercial interiors to be created to an international standard.

5.  What is sustainable procurement? 5. Sustainable procurement is the adaptation, and integration of CSR (corporate social responsibility) into every day corporate culture.

checklist
environmentally friendly

How to make your workplace more environmentally friendly

During the lockdowns, we discovered a new way of working that isn’t so reliant on travel. Meetings can be conducted as effectively online as they can in person, and many business people have cut back on the number of face-to-face meetings they schedule. Not only does this save everyone a lot of time, it also helps with sustainability and reduces environmental pollution.

With the current climate change and global warming making more noise than ever before; energy efficiency, reducing food waste, utilising alternative transport, and implementing a recycling program, are all ways of inching towards making your workplace more environmentally friendly. But what does that look like in common business practices?

Saving energy & reducing waste

Reduce food waste at work

You may not think you need to worry about food and food waste, but the likelihood is that you provide hot drinks and biscuits to visitors, and maybe the occasional tray of sandwiches for a working lunch. If you are serious about sustainability, then you need to be careful about the food you provide. Buy Fairtrade-certified products. Buy plastic-free tea bags. Make sure your snacks are free from palm oil or contain RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil. Use organic milk and milk substitutes - preferably find a supplier who uses and collects glass bottles. Order sandwiches from local outlets that don’t use plastic packaging - you’ll also be supporting the local economy. 

Environmental sustainability

And when it comes to food waste, which includes coffee grounds and tea bags, why not get a compost bin or wormery if you have an outside area to place it. It’ll make a great talking point on your company’s social media channels, and you can use the compost for your plants.

energy
Recyclable office furniture & equipment

Recyclable office furniture & equipment 

Sustainable office equipment which is produced using recycled materials is essential to achieving a sustainable workplace. JPA supplies ergonomic office chairs, including Freeflex, Ecoflex, and the i-workchair which optimises comfort while allowing heat to vent away from your back.

Our vast collection of recyclable furniture and equipment can be easily found looking at our online brochures. Download our lookbook to view the whole collection of sustainable workplace furniture and more.

Reusable tableware & plates

Using reusable dishware and tableware is the only way we ought to be eating at work, washing them in a dishwasher as opposed to just throwing our paper plates and plastic cutlery in the waste bin!

It all sounds very simple, doesn't it? That's because it is. If every company simply banned paper use (wherever possible!) and started using sustainable dinnerware within the workplace, then we can conserve more precious natural resources and reduce carbon footprint. It's a win-win!

reusable tableware

Corporate social responsibility

You'll definitely hear the term CSR being chucked about in most corporate companies. But what exactly is the definition of corporate social responsibility?

CSR can be defined as "making a positive contribution to societal goals" and companies use it to measure and control their impact on society. Typically it falls under 1 of 4 categories: Environmental sustainability, ethical and philanthropic responsibility, or economic responsibility.

In the UK, premium chocolate company Thornton's has adopted an extensive range of environmentally friendly initiatives. Through a recycling program, cutting gas and electricity consumption, and a commitment to reducing water consumption across the food and drink sector by 20%.

Using Less Paper

It's no secret that paper is produced as a result of trees being cut down all across the globe. In fact, it takes up to 12 trees to create one single tonne of newspaper! Therefore businesses must start using less paper, if we are to act now and reduce negative impacts.

A sustainable workplace means we must first cut down on raw materials, such as paper. Not only is this better for the environment... but using less paper can also help you to save money on supplies and office equipment. By reducing our paper usage, you no longer have to pay for the costs associated with any future repair and maintenance work. Win-win!

We all want to do our bit for the environment. Recycling paper, cardboard, glass, cans and plastic has become part of our everyday routine in the home. And recently we have all learned how much we can save by turning the heating down - even by just one degree, which for most of us is barely noticeable. But what about in the workplace? It’s becoming increasingly obvious that, whether we’re at work or at home, we all have a responsibility to improve our environment, and by setting up a robust sustainability policy in your workplace, you could improve your own business. A sustainable workplace is attractive to many, and you could attract a hugely talented workforce as a result. 62% of millennials say they want to work for a company that makes a positive impact, and 53% say they would be willing to work harder if they knew they were making a difference. 

Sustainability is at the heart of what we do at JPA, and we have implemented many measures to make the entire business more eco-friendly. And now we want to share our experience, so here are six ways you can make your workplace more sustainable.

less paper
public transportation

Air quality & public transportation

There are other ways you can reduce your businesses carbon footprint when it comes to commuting into work. Ask employees to travel by public transport wherever possible. If staff need to travel substantial distances, choose trains over air travel.

Domestic flights are the worst offender when it comes to environmental impact, but the diesel car isn’t a great substitute - if the car is carrying only one person, the CO2 emissions generated are 171g per kilometre. If the meeting is local, encourage your staff to walk or use a bike!

Walking has tremendous health benefits for the individual which can also benefit your business. It lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety and improves workplace wellness - all qualities that will help the meeting go well. Many people say they get all their best ideas when they’re walking, so who knows how many great business opportunities walking to meetings could spark!  

Offset emissions and carbon footprint

If your staff members travel, you can choose to offset the emissions. There are many dedicated companies that will help you calculate your emissions and offset them for you. As part of a robust CSR policy, offsetting your company's carbon emissions can boost your brand in terms of PR and marketing - it’s the perfect news to share on social media and will help you increase engagement.

Life cycle thinking (LCT)

Life cycle thinking (LCT) is about becoming mindful of how everything we do or produce affects the environment. In business terms, this isn’t just about employee awareness and changing your corporate culture in order to cut back on plastic - it encompasses every part of your business and the companies you do business with. Gaining a holistic perspective of your operation's environmental footprint is essential. To be truly sustainable, you need to investigate your entire supply chain, obtaining evidence that your suppliers and their suppliers are also doing as much as they can to conserve natural resources.

For example, JPA Workspaces investigate all our suppliers to make sure they have the correct sustainability certifications from recognised bodies so they match our own standards. And only then are we happy to say that our office furniture is sustainable.

Life cycle thinking
quality

Invest in quality

You need to forget about buying cheap products. People are realising the price the planet’s paying as a result of our throwaway ethos, and there is growing demand for good quality, repairable products that will last a long time and for which there is a demand on the preloved market. And at the end of a product’s life, people want to recycle rather than simply throw it away. By keeping our rubbish out of landfill or the environment, we can drastically reduce our negative effect on the planet.

That's why, when it comes to our office furniture, we also repair and rehome older furniture; alternatively, if it has come to the end of its life, we’ll recycle what’s left.

Reduce food waste at work

You may not think you need to worry about food and food waste, but the likelihood is that you provide hot drinks and biscuits to visitors, and maybe the occasional tray of sandwiches for a working lunch. If you are serious about sustainability, then you need to be careful about the food you provide. Buy Fairtrade-certified products. Buy plastic-free tea bags. Make sure your snacks are free from palm oil or contain RSPO-certified sustainable palm oil. Use organic milk and milk substitutes - preferably find a supplier who uses and collects glass bottles. Order sandwiches from local outlets that don’t use plastic packaging - you’ll also be supporting the local economy. 

environmental sustainability

And when it comes to food waste, which includes coffee grounds and tea bags, why not get a compost bin or wormery if you have an outside area to place it. It’ll make a great talking point on your company’s social media channels, and you can use the compost for your plants.

environmental sustainability
water efficiency

Improving water efficiency

You may think that the UK is such a wet country you don’t need to worry about saving water. But a combination of population growth and climate change is having a negative effect on our water supplies, especially in the South East. The Environment Agency has predicted that, without action, we could reach the point where there is more demand for water than there is supply - a situation that is being called the ‘jaws of death’. It is therefore vital that your company does as much as it can to cut consumption of water, with the obvious advantage that you’ll also save on your water bills.

There are various ways of achieving this, including grey water recycling, aerated taps, automatic flushing for toilets and urinals, and using water meters to help detect any leaks. It may surprise you to learn that a simple dripping tap can waste 60 litres of water every week; a leaking pipe will waste - and therefore cost you - far more, so the sooner you detect it, the quicker you can repair it and the less waste water you’ll be paying for.

Sustainability and productivity

Believe it or not, sustainable companies often achieve higher employee engagement figures too. Sustainability and productivity do not necessarily need to be mutually exclusive - create a work environment that embodies what it means to be sustainable.
Employees can often be slow and resistant to changes in company ethos and ways of working. Having your very own green team, designated to achieving sustainability and putting earth day at the forefront of people's minds, every day.

Sustainability strategy

We are constantly fine-tuning our own sustainability strategy. Being a green fit-out and workplace specialist is not just our job; it is our mission. We are always eager to share our experience and knowledge with others to contribute to better environmental practices.

JPA is widely recognised in the contract furniture industry for our passionate approach to sustainable workplace practices. We create easier and better ways for our customers to recycle - to date JPA diverted over 584 tonnes of unwanted client furniture from landfill through materials recycling.

Having office plants will not only look good and create a relaxing environment that leads to greater employee engagement and productivity, it will also help create a healthier environment. Plants absorb toxins which helps to keep the air clean. There are a huge range of purifying plants that are efficient at dealing with toxins, dust and germs, and the good news is, they don’t necessarily need a lot of TLC. In fact, the humble spider plant is one of the most efficient purifiers and is super easy to look after.

sustainability and productivity

For more tips and ideas on how you can achieve sustainability and make your workplace sustainable, check out the advice published by the environmental charity WWF.

Frequently asked questions

Do you deliver and install my furniture?

JPA deliver and fully install all furniture supplied, with our very own teams of fitters in easily recognisable red liveried vehicles. Our fitters are fully trained (and DBS checked for peace of mind) and will deliver and assemble your new furniture as part of the job, leaving it ready for you to use straight away. We’ll show you how it works just in case and then also remove any packaging materials for recycling, with nothing going to landfill.

Can you help me with planning my space?

Our design team can help you plan and furnish all types and sizes of workspace including fixed desks, hot desks, breakout and collaborative spaces, chill and café spaces, meeting and mixing spaces. We help you make the most of your space, dealing with all legislative and regulatory issues so you don’t have to, whilst creating effective, engaging areas for your teams to work, rest and play.

What if I need help after my furniture has been delivered?

Because we only sell products from robust, tried and tested manufacturers, we underwrite all factory warranties free of charge. We’re happy to work with your cleaning and maintenance teams to show them how to get the best from your furniture, and also to give product training and refresher training as needed. If hot desking means that someone else keeps adjusting your chair, you need to know how to re-set it to make it work for you and get comfy. We’re here to before, during and after furniture installation.

What do I do with my old furniture?

The good news is that JPA have an award-winning furniture collection, re-use and recycling programme already in place. We can discuss options for removal of your old furniture when planning your new furniture, but can also collect your unwanted furniture as a stand alone service. Either way, we guarantee that none of your unwanted furniture goes to landfill. Simply get in touch for more details.
JPA are fully operational right now – we are quoting, taking orders, delivering and installing!

My office space is going to have to change after covid – can you help with planning?

Our teams are helping all types of organisations plan for safe return to work including layout changes, safety screens, vaccination pods and creating extra working spaces.

I need a chair for my home, can you supply it?

We have a homeworking chair and furniture programme in place with 5 day delivery – please ask for more details

How can my office be more sustainable?

Better sustainability can be achieved by all organisations of all sizes. Firstly we can help by keeping the furniture you already have in use for longer, by repairing, refreshing and reupholstering it – we call this PROJECT DODO, preventing your old furniture from becoming extinct! Not only does this prevent furniture landfill, but it’s also a cheaper option than buying new and using more resources. We can also reconfigure your furniture, re-arranging it into different set-ups to suit changing workflow and business requirements

How do I know where my furniture comes from?

The furniture we supply is from ethical and sustainable sources – with materials from managed and renewable sources. Standard fabrics carry the EcoLabel. Our supply chain is checked against stringent criteria to also make sure that product manufacturers are actively promoting social welfare both internally and down their own supply chains. You can rely on JPA for quality, sustainability and long-term value.

What is PROJECT DODO?

JPA’s Project Dodo is our own award-winning furniture maximisation programme! We work with you to help your furniture last longer before you buy new, through repairs, refresh, reupholstery, reconfiguration or off-site relocation – there’s no excuse for single use! If you really can’t use it, we’ll simply collect it and try and rehome it in the community or recycle it for materials recovery. Either way, we make it easy for your organisation to reduce furniture waste and eliminate furniture landfill.

Do I have to dispose of the packaging?

No, the good news is that after unwrapping and assembling your furniture ready for use, we collect all the packaging and take it back to our warehouse for re-use or recycling.

Can you help me re-locate my office space?

We can dismantle, pack and move organisations of all types

Can you repair furniture?

We can certainly come out to have a look to see if we can repair existing furniture, or you can send us an image. We can then advise whether repairs would be cost effective and worth the investment.

A collection of happy clients

"We really appreciated JPA's involvement in Sustainable St Albans Week; it was brilliant to have a local business so involved, and show that sustainability can absolutely be combined with running a profitable business….As a local, family-owned firm, they are always thinking of ways to live their values through their work, and offer great customer service."

Sustainable St Albans Week

We have worked with Fiona, James and the team across various schemes, however one of the most exciting is the re-manufacture of end of what would normally be termed ‘end of life’ furniture. By providing such a forward thinking service, JPA are able to demonstrate reduced costs to the companies they are working with as well as genuinely supporting the green agenda by significantly reducing waste through their innovative approach to recycling and reuse ensure zero landfill impact. The Green Triangle are delighted to be involved in supporting JPA in pushing this scheme out to businesses and organisations across Hertfordshire and beyond and highly commend JPA for their approach to sustainability, carbon reduction and their push to become as environmentally friendly as possible!

The Green Triangle

I have worked with JPA Furniture on the IOE Level 4 & 5 Project and found them to be helpful, supportive and proactive. The project was initiated upon the Merger of IOE and UCL and was a politically sensitive project. JPA provided great service and helped harmonise the relationship between IOE and UCL estates by providing rapid response and excellent service. The project manager James and his team had a ‘can do’ attitude and nothing was too much trouble.
Great job!

Arcadis

Fiona was brilliant - we were looking to buy a few chairs to put on stage for our conference and she loaned us a couple of chairs and they were perfect - she deserves a big bonus!

ICH

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