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Complete Office Supplies leads sustainable energy strategy

Complete Office Supplies leads sustainable energy strategy

June 22, 2017

A family run company in Australia has installed 1,500 solar energy panels on the roofs of its three facilities in a strategy to have zero impact on the environment.

The Fifth Estate reported that the company owned by Dominique Lyone, who came from Egypt as a refugee in 1967, has invested AU$1 million ($760,000/€680,000) in solar panels which will generate over 611 megawatt hours per year. That is 80 percent of the total energy needs for the three facilities and will result in a reduction of operational carbon footprint by 532 tonnes a year.

Lyone is now at “sustainable procurement” and wants to lead customers down the same route in an effort to become carbon neutral. “Six years ago we wanted to become emissions free, but it was impossible to do without buying a lot of offsets. I am not a big fan of that.”

It will take 10 years for the solar panels to pay back their cost but Lyone said it was worth it and good for the planet. Staff at the company are in favour of the idea and Lyone has installed a big TV screen in reception so that staff and customers can see how much energy is being generated.

“I used to look out my office window and see a big roof with sun on it, now I look out and see 1000 solar panels. We hope this inspires other organisations to reduce their carbon footprint,” Lyone said, and added that it helped being a privately owned company as this scale of investment would be more difficult for publicly owned ones as they are driven by the next quarter’s numbers.

The company plan is to investigate battery storage with the end goal being zero environmental impact and the company is one of the first to receive accreditation for “environmental management standard ISO 144001:2004 which means that “we comply with the standards that frame world best practices for businesses minimising environmental impact.”

Sustainability also continues in the company warehouses where cartons are reused and are made from recycled materials and the plastic wrap is also reused. The company also has its own printer cartridge take-back programme and the buildings are designed to make use of “natural light and ventilation” using sensors for lighting to save more energy while video conferencing is preferred to reduce travel.

Lyone said: “being environmentally responsible adds value to both the business, and to the environment” and on that premise encourages customers to do the same by buying more sustainable products including all office equipment and consumables as well as furniture, hygiene products, cleaning solutions and educational supplies.

The company’s big corporate and government customers “demand ethical and green products” and Lyone said:“We are in a market that is increasingly looking for environmental alternatives.” As well as selling more recycled paper than new the company website leads customers to make more green decisions on products, at present 30 percent do but Lyone said that’s better than nothing.

Lyone also noted that there is a lot of “green wash” around and to buy green one must look out for authenticity which is his daughters job. Business can make a big contribution to saving the planet, said Lyone, and he believes that is the way forward in sustainability.

Categories : Around the Industry

Tags : Australia Environment Sustainability

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