Sustainability Policy

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Sustainability Policy

Published 29 September 2021: The Irish Exporters Association (IEA) is committed to promoting sustainability at work and supporting IEA member efforts in this space. We recognise that organisations of all sizes need to play their part in the global, European and national efforts to tackle the climate emergency and to reduce their impact on the environment. With this in mind, we have devised the IEA Sustainability Policy (herein the policy). The policy reflects the IEA’s commitment to ensuring sustainability is central to all our activities. We encourage our member organisations to do the same.

The policy has been drafted with the current pandemic related working arrangements of the organisation in mind. We will endeavour to update this policy to reflect the ever-changing working environment.

Defining Sustainability

Sustainability means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. In addition to reducing our impact on the environment, the IEA takes a broad view of sustainability to also include areas such as human rights, health and well-being and gender equality.

Principles

The policy is based on the following principles:

  • To comply with applicable legislation, regulations and codes of practice.
  • To integrate where possible and practicable, sustainability considerations into all our business decisions.
  • To ensure that all staff are fully aware of our policy and are encouraged to implement and improve this policy.
  • To minimise the impact on the environment of all office and travel activities.
  • To make our members, stakeholders, partners and suppliers aware of our policy and encourage them to adopt sound sustainability practices.
  • To continuously review and strive to improve our sustainability performance.
  • To incorporate employee health and well-being into our overall sustainability policy.

Practical Steps

To put these principles into practice, the IEA will encourage staff, where possible and practicable, and where applicable, subject to public health guidelines:

Travel, transport and meetings

  • To walk, cycle, use public transport or carpool when travelling to and from the IEA office, and in the performance of their work where travel is involved. The IEA will facilitate staff who wish to avail of the Bike to Work and Taxsaver public transport schemes.
  • To work from home or away from the office on certain days in order to reduce our collective work commute-derived carbon footprint and to reduce the need for all staff to commute five days a week.
  • To avoid physically travelling to meetings or conducting site visits where equally productive alternatives are available and practical, such as using video conferencing software.
  • To run events and workshops online via video conferencing unless an onsite meeting is required due to the nature of the event.
  • To walk, cycle, use public transport or carpool to attend a meeting or site visit where a virtual meeting is not possible. Where visits to more distant locations are necessary, staff are encouraged to use public transport. For site visits by personal car, staff are requested to arrange multiple meetings in a town, city or region to avoid multiple trips.
  • Use cyclist courier services for deliveries within the city limits.
  • International travel for meetings or conferences is discouraged and should only be undertaken where virtual attendance is not possible, or for reasons of impact.

Energy and heating

  • Ensure heaters are only switched on when the office is cold and occupied and electric fans are only used if room temperature cannot be lowered by opening windows and doors.
  • Ensure all staff switch off heaters, lights, PCs and other electronic devices completely at the end of the day. The last staff member to leave the office must turn off lights, the photocopier and any other communal printers, and electronic devices.
  • Ensure all PCs and laptops go into energy saving mode once not in use for ten minutes.
  • Avoid unnecessary emailing, cc’ing, bcc’ing, sharing or saving of large digital files to reduce energy consumption.
  • Subject to public health guidelines, ensure office external doors and windows remain closed in winter and on cold days to avoid heat loss.
  • Ensure the first staff member to arrive in the morning opens window blinds completely to ensure maximum natural light and to avoid unnecessary use of artificial lighting.
  • Where possible replace older light bulbs with more energy efficient LED lighting. Light bulbs and fittings will be dusted and cleaned regularly to ensure they emit the maximum amount of light.
  • Require staff to only boil as much water as they need in the kitchen and to switch off electrical kitchen devices when not in use and at the end of the day by the last person to leave.
  • Open windows on warm days to provide natural ventilation.

Water usage

  • Ensure staff turn off taps when not in use and only use the minimum amount of water required.
  • Conduct regular checks on taps and other water sources for leaks.

Paper usage

  • Purchase recycled and ethically sourced printing paper.
  • Encourage staff to avoid printing and instead file documents digitally unless paper copies are required for auditing or other purposes.
  • Require all staff to print double-sided documents and to re-use or recycle wastepaper.
  • Encourage the use of digital documents in place of printed copies for meetings and events where practical.
  • Encourage printing black and white documents unless colour is required.
  • Include Think of the environment before you print this email! messages in email signatures.

Purchasing equipment and goods, where practical and financially possible,

  • Source electronic equipment such as PCs, laptops, monitors and printers with high energy efficiency ratings.
  • Procure goods and services that match our values for sustainable and ethical business practices. Where possible we will near-source goods to reduce transport emissions.
  • Where available, purchase fair trade and/or organic food and drink items such as tea, coffee, milk and sugar.

Waste and recycling

  • Encourage staff to reuse and recycle as much as possible. This will be achieved by having clearly visible coloured bins for different types of waste and clear signage. Waste and recycling will also be covered in the staff induction.
  • Recycle waste toner, batteries and electronic waste.

Staff training

  • Ensure all staff are given an induction on how to conserve energy, water and waste in the office.
  • Ensure all staff are provided with a copy of the IEA Employee Handbook which includes the IEA’s Green Office Policy.
  • Encourage all staff to complete the SEAI Energy Academy or other online equivalent training.

Staff well-being initiatives

  • Encourage all staff to take regular breaks away from their desks.
  • Encourage all staff to take walks and get fresh air daily.
  • Encourage a balanced work-life balance in line with the right to Disconnect Policy in the Employee Handbook.

 

Please note:

The above policy was drafted during Covid-19 restrictions where home working and the use of video conferencing was necessitated. This policy will be reviewed and revised on an annual basis or more frequently as required by public health or other measures. Staff working remotely are encouraged to apply the above policy guidelines to their home working environment as much as possible during working hours.

The review of the policy is led by the IEA Sustainability Officer in conjunction with relevant staff members. For all queries, please contact the IEA Sustainability Officer, Paul Corbett, on +353 (0)1 661 2182 / paulcorbett@irishexporters.ie

Last updated: Wednesday 29th September 2021