Savings & Loans is holding its first Green Day today, where we’re encouraging our staff to leave their car at home and use more energy-efficient ways of travelling to work. Most will be using public transport, but some will be cycling or walking – there’s even on person running almost 18 km from Seacliff to our Adelaide office!
The person behind Green Day is Tony Innes, Savings & Loans’ Deputy CEO who is responsible for all of our corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. He tells me he came up with the idea when he read a quote from acclaimed environmentalist David Suzuki.
“Each of us is a drop in the bucket. But we can fill any bucket we want if we have enough drops. Being insignificant is not an excuse. Either we care, and we're going to try something. Or we're not.”
So one person, even one workplace, leaving their car at home for a day is just a drop in a bucket that would be barely noticed. Slowly but surely, if more people catch on, the bucket will fill and we’ll all see the difference being made.
Tony, along with the ‘Green Teams’ he’s started all over Savings & Loans to help staff become more aware of their environmental impact, are doing everything they can to involve as many staff as they can, including free bus tickets and a complimentary breakfast for participants.
I left my Smart Car parked in the driveway this morning, caught the bus into the city and got thinking (one of the best things about the bus is the extra time you have to think rather than fight the traffic). It’s fine catching the bus when I’m travelling to the city between, say 8am and 6.30pm, but what about all the other times? I guess the biggest downside of using public transport is that it’s not flexible if I have to work after hours or attend a function.
Using the bus or the train could be a real money-saver for a lot of people, though. A 10 trip bus and train ticket in Adelaide costs $26.90, something that compares quite well with parking (around $10 a day) and fuel costs of a car (about $40 a week).
Being big supporters of cycling, it’s not surprising that there are quite a few bikes leaning against walls all around the building. Cycling would have to be one of the best ways of getting around, especially when the weather is kind. But if the weather’s not on your side and facing the elements isn’t appealing, efficient public transport is the cleanest way of getting from A to B.
On a similar note, it’s interesting to read about Sydney Council’s plans to make parking cheaper for low-emission vehicles and more expensive for big cars. The plan is similar to Savings & Loans’ Breathe Easy Car Loan, which encourages people to buy a fuel-efficient car through a discounted loan.
Initiatives like these are great examples of large organisations doing their bit for the environment, both by direct changes to their own operations, and through their impacts on the general public.