Things are looking particularly green for Graphic Office Interiors these days. The high-performance office interior supplier celebrated the start of 2012 with official carbon neutral status, thanks to an extensive sustainability strategy and a new partnership with Pacific Carbon Trust.
A leader in the office interiors business since 1966, Graphic Office earned carbon neutral status for the new year based on 2011 fiscal emissions.
The company worked diligently to first track their emissions – following the guidelines of The Greenhouse Gas Protocol – then to reduce them throughout their Victoria and Nanaimo operations. Finally, by purchasing 297 carbon offsets from PCT, they balanced for the remainder against emissions reductions elsewhere in BC.
For a distribution company dependent on vehicles and a warehouse, completely eliminating emissions just wasn’t feasible. Nevertheless, their search for reduction opportunities was far-reaching. They switched to high-efficiency office lighting, added occupancy sensors to washroom lights, installed timers on warehouse lights, removed all but two warehouse heaters, switched to electronic filing to use less paper, instituted a no-idling policy for company vehicles and installed a programmable office thermostat.
Though not a requirement for carbon neutral status, they even scrutinized their employees’ commuting habits, voluntarily offsetting those emissions as well. And with commutes counting as the third-highest source of emissions, they created an employee carpool program, paying 50 to 100 percent of fuel costs for participants. In addition, the company continues to ally itself with other environmentally conscious firms such as Steelcase, their primary supplier. Next up? Switching to more fuel-efficient delivery vehicles.
“We’re just trying to do our part and lead the way, too,” says Graphic Office president Steve Nagy. And they are – with an all-encompassing but realistic strategy that’s making them a climate leader in their community.