Being green in the relocation industry is no easy task. The vast majority of relocation providers have been slow to react to this decade old issue. Gradually and at a glacial pace we see companies announcing their shift towards CO2 neutrality, with goals as far away as 10-20 years. As the first relocation company to become CO2 neutral in 2011, Packimpex joined the sustainability fight early on:
- In 2004 we achieved our first ISO14001 certification (a family of certifications attesting environmental performance) that we have retained ever since.
- In 2019, we received six industry awards – three of which recognized our environmental efforts. We received Altair’s Super Star Award for Environmental Consciousness, the NEI Award for Environmental Sustainability, and the Environmental Stewardship Certificate from Graebel.
How green is Packimpex? A look at the numbers
Every year, for over 10 years our Accounting department has pored over the numbers that tell us exactly what our CO2 profile looks like: How much petrol was used on business travel? How much water consumed across all our offices? What about energy? Based on these stats, we know what actions need to be taken for the upcoming year to adjust and further reduce our carbon footprint.
Curious to find out how we became CO2 neutral?
The journey to reduce our carbon footprint happened years before we became certified CO2 neutral. So here are the areas we focused on, from large to small, with the hope that fellow relocation companies will find it inspiring:
- We’ve been investing in carbon offsetting projects ever since 2013, be it to improve energy efficiency in South Africa (2013), to help community members in Bamako, Mali switch to efficient stoves (2014), or to support wind energy in Turkey (2015-2016). For three years in a row starting with 2017, we’ve been supporting two wind parks in Rajasthan, India. The wind parks, located in the arid districts of Pratapgarh and Jaisalmer, not only produce clean energy, but also improve the life of the local communities. For instance, to help the locals overcome water scarcity, the project supports farmers and community members in implementing conservation schemes such as rainwater harvesting, dam check-ups and new irrigation techniques.
- In 2020, after the devastating fires in Australia, we’ve donated to plant 200 trees. This year, considering the devastating effects of the recent Amazon fires, we’ve contributed to an afforestation project in Rio Kama, Nicaragua.
- We’ve biked three years in a row in the Bike to Work challenge, a Swiss initiative. Since 2019, our offices in Germany and Belgium joined as well. In 2019 in total, 2,270 km were covered by six teams and together they saved half a ton of CO2. In 2020, even if it was predominantly a home-office year, 2,379 km were covered by eight teams and together they saved 343 kg of CO2. In 2021 – our best Bike to Work year so far – we covered even more ground than previous years (3,127km) and saved 450kg of CO2. Way to go Team Packimpex!
- We’ve championed environmental value by appointing Green Ambassadors in all our offices. Our colleagues who chose this role are our Green Champions and help us identify additional ways to reduce waste and shrink our carbon footprint.
- In Switzerland, we’ve invested in a green fleet of Toyota hybrid cars and negotiated a deal to offer staff discounts on personal purchases.
- We’ve acquired an e-bike for our office in Vevey and we’re happy it’s being put to good use on a regular basis.
- We’ve partnered with Swiss company Fel Fel to provide sustainable meals that use local ingredients in recyclable packages.
- Our Corporate Housing department offers furnished apartments for our corporate clients, mostly for short periods of time. The furniture in these apartments is never discarded after use, but either donated, sold or rented again.
- We’ve changed the company heating system to sustainable fuel which means we’re using 64% renewable energy – compared to an average Swiss household which uses 18.4%.
- We’ve changed all the light bulbs to more energy-efficient versions.
It doesn’t end here
The COVID-19 crisis has been described both as a product of our global environmental carelessness and a powerful catalyst for change. It certainly made us all, individuals and companies, dramatically aware that we have to « walk the talk ». Being green is no longer a fad, but a way of life.
What strategies has your company been using to become greener? Which do you find to be the most effective? We’re keen to start a conversation with fellow relocation professionals on this burning (pun intended) topic.
And if you have any questions on how green we are or want to check the numbers, do get in touch. Click below and we’ll call you right back.