Whether your team is working from home or going to the office, it’s important to take stock of the products you supply them, and how these products impact the environment. After all, the services and supplies you use to sustain your business add up, and contribute, to your ecological footprint.

At Plank, we attempt to purchase from and work with suppliers who demonstrate a commitment to sustainability, offer long-lasting quality goods, help reduce product waste and support positive social action.

Here are some of the sustainable suppliers we suggest looking into:

Sustainable Tech Brands

Apple

Apple is a carbon-neutral company with all their corporate operations running on 100% renewable energy. They are continuously reducing their environmental impact while keeping their suppliers responsible and accountable. They also have open and clear values, a deep commitment to accessibility and deep ties to privacy as a human right. 

Apple is our largest supplier of the tools we use to support our team. These include laptops, phones and tablets, input devices, earphones, speakers, and media accessories. Having long-lasting and dependable technology means that we can reduce the number of tech purchases and upgrades.

Logitech – Computer Accessories

Logitech specializes in innovative computer accessories and they are committed to becoming climate positive by 2030. In 2020, they became the first consumer electronics company to provide carbon labelling for their products. Over a quarter of their new products are developed using Design for Sustainability  Principles. And they were rated the most sustainable company in 2020 by World Finance Awards. 

“As a company, we believe positive change is necessary. Change for the environment. Change for inclusion. And an equal playing field for all. The world needs companies to stand up for environmental sustainability and diversity.”

Bracken P. Darrell, Logitech President and CEO

Our cameras and Zoom-specific hardware come from Logitech. We also purchase some of our input devices through Logitech. Logitech hardware has been rock solid for us — with no returns/defects, or major issues, in the past 5 years.

Belkin – Tech Accessories

Belkin is a leader in tech accessories including hubs, input devices, and cables. In 2020, they received the Sustainability Leadership Award by aligning themselves with the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals and pledging support to the Paris Agreement

We purchase our hubs and input devices from Belkin and are satisfied with their longevity and lower return/defect rate.

LG – Digital Screens

LG has stated it is on the path to achieving carbon neutrality by 2030 as well as completing a transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Plank prefers to purchase LG screens whenever possible, for our Montréal office, and to support our employees in their work-from-home setups. LG 4k USB-C compatible screens seem to last longer and have a lower return/defect rate.   

A Sustainable Office Space

Fully – Office Furniture

Fully is our preferred supplier of seated and standing desks, ergonomic aids, and screen suspension. They are a certified BCorp company which gives us the reassurance that they are committed to following sustainable business practices and building a healthy supply chain.

All the Fully products have supported our downtown office space as well as work from home setups.

Sustainable General Contractor

When it comes to doing work around your facility and hiring a licensed contractor, choose one that supports your sustainability goals. They can help you choose more sustainable lighting options, using non-toxic materials and resource conservation whenever possible.

When we have work to do around the facility we depend on long-standing professional licensed contractor, Downs McGovern. Working in Québec and Ontario, he listens to our requirements and goals and is able to present sustainable and environmentally friendly options. 

The installation of new LED lighting throughout our office is a recent example of this relationship. Downs McGovern helped source, analyse and install new hanging lights which brighten our workspace considerably, improve on eye strain, save energy, and have a very long life span to prevent waste. 

Eco-friendly Office Cleaning

Choose a cleaning service or cleaning products that are environmentally friendly and safe for the planet. There are a variety of different products that are safer for the environment, however, our preferred choice of cleaning products is from Attitude Living. 
While being safe for the environment, Attitude Living also provides eco-refills that use up to 80% less plastic compared to purchasing single-use products. They also support two non-profit tree planting organisations, Eden Reforestation and One Tree Planted, to plant a tree for every online purchase.

Reduce Paper and Paper Products

Plank has made great strides in the past few years to move to an almost completely paperless process.

Challenges to Consider

There are a lot of challenges when it comes to creating a sustainable office environment including certain things outside of your control. It’s important to remember that positive change takes time and that any small step in the right direction is meaningful.

Here are some of the challenges we’ve experienced while pursuing a more sustainable workspace:

Amazon Dependence

Amazon and Amazon Prime make our lives considerably easier. Unfortunately, they also lead to bad habits, waste, unsustainable shipping, and a host of social and environmental issues.

Facility Heating and Cooling

Plank’s facilities are located in an older building in Downtown Montreal. The building has no smart systems, or accurate energy usage measurements available.  Any energy use we wish to track can only be estimated based on SQft, internal/external temperature, smart outlets, and total devices.

Internet Provider and Power Use

Plank’s facility internet provider is Beanfield. They currently have no public commitment to sustainability.

Summary

It’s important to ask questions. How was an object made? What happens to an object when its usefulness is done? What is the value of choosing sustainable over unstainable suppliers? Once you have answers, then it’s your responsibility to make better choices.

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