Corporate observations – times of change for climate change

Climate Change

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change

I don’t often talk (blog) about personal opinions on global matters like Climate Change, but in the spirit of Blog Action Day and climate change on the agenda I thought I ought to.

As the topic of climate change edges rapidly higher on everyone’s agenda it seems we can no longer avoid it or push the environmental snooze button.

With marked increase in media attention, hype and all to frequent evidence of climatic catastrophes, the full consequence of our man-made actions are forcing conscientious people to pay attention.

Focus and attention is no more obvious than right at our company – UBM. This is not an sucking up exercise to gain brownie points (or Wiki points for that matter), it’s merely something I’ve observed over the course of ~12 months. I love observing people, habits, cultures and adaptation from influence. I guess I can self-confess to being obsessive about observation and working out behavioural impacts and reasononings. Anyway, over the last two years I’ve noticed many changes in my immediate work space vacinity. Some of the changes are subtle some profound but overall I believe it’s making an impact albeit minuscule in the grand scheme of things. And its impact is not just at work but home too.

I want to dedicate this Blog Action Day post to three sets of people:

  1. The company ‘environmentalists’ – for commissioning the company initiatives and enforcing them and irrespective of their own personal agendas,
  2. My colleagues – who’ve adapted really well to the cultural changes and partcipated unreservedly and finally
  3. Me – for committing time to write this post and present my obbservations (see below).

So on with my obsessive observations then. At my work (UBM Live) here are 10 areas where I’ve observed changes (environment and economical): see a few snaps below

  1. Lift antrums – automated light on/off switches
  2. Toilets – automatic on/off lights switches and manual time sensitive bathroom water faucets
  3. Fewer paper waste bins as well as dedicated paper-only waste bins
  4. Waste separation buckets for better recycling (plastics, cups)
  5. Sugar sachets replaced with dispensers (less waste) in our canteen
  6. Email signatures discouraging pointless printing of emails
  7. Better optimised websites for print versions aimed at reducing uneccessary paper wastage.
  8. Facilitiy provision to encourage commuting by bicycle and ride-to-work schemes to encourage cycle commuting
  9. Centralised ‘Climate Day’ initiatives aimed at making employees more aware of its waste production and its effects on the environment
  10. First exhibition to be awareded carbon neutral status in Europe.

Naturally there is always room for improvement. So whilst we’re making fantastic in-roads into reducing our waste and there is more room for improvement:

  1. Continue to make improvement to cycling to work culture perhaps by offering incentives for employees
  2. More senior management encouragement of healthy social events aimed at Corporate Social Responsibility
  3. Lift cancel button (LOL) – just had to say that
  4. Environment awareness campaigns and better disposal monitoring.

With our company’s collective effort we’ve managed to save a huge amount on wastage (tonnage) in 2009. These initiatives stand testiment to UBM’s committment to its corporate responsibility at protecting the environment in the fight against climate change.

As part of the company-wide initiative our bloggers are supporting Blog Action Day (on Climate Change) so why not check out my colleagues’ post too.

If you would like to read similar posts on this subject from some of my colleagues, please click on any of the links below:
FSE fire’s Weblog
These Digital Times

If you would like to read similar posts on this subject from some of my colleagues, please click on any of the links below:

Blog Action Day: bike facilities

Blog Action Day: bike facilities

Blog Action Day: waste bins

Blog Action Day: waste bins

Blog Action Day: automatic stopping faucet

Blog Action Day: automatic stopping faucet

Blog Action Day: light sensor

Blog Action Day: light sensor

Blog Action Day: sugar dispensers

Blog Action Day: sugar dispensers

Blog Action Day: waste sort

Blog Action Day: waste sort


Blog Action Day: Poverty meets digital

Today is blog action day so I decided to blog about how digital has in some ways helped relieve poverty. When I refer to digital I’m referencing mobile digital. The two words ‘poverty’ and ‘digital’ are worlds apart and hardly ever used together – they’re certainly not synonymous with each other.

As a South African, who immigrated to the UK ten years ago, I know that in 1998 (when there was poverty in many communities) virtually no one had mobile devices. A mobile phone was a luxury. I recently went to South Africa on holiday where to my surprise I found real evidence of advanced mobile infrastructure


I read with interest (and surprise) how countries buried in poverty are using mobile phones en mass. In many other parts of Africa where poverty exists the take up of the digital mobile is driven by marketing and not through community efforts. The digital boundaries are breaking down – commercially and physically. This is helping communities directly (access to help) and indirectly (job creation). Mobile phones are now ubiquitous in many impoverished communities.


Mobiles come in so many forms – from cheap to very expensive. Ultimately, no matter how technical/expensive your mobile device is the content that is accessed is hugely valuable – whether it’s SMS, web pages or the telephone.

Real life examples

An example of mobile systems helping poor communities include the M-Pesa system.

It’s a system of phone-to-phone payments useful to people who don’t have a bank account or nearby bank – i.e. most people in rural Africa.

The information carried on the new networks spans public health, medical care, education, banking, commerce and entertainment, in addition to communications among family and friends.

All our lives are rapidly being transformed by digital. One of the most profound areas evident of this is the mobile phone. Kudos to commercial Africa finding workable digital solutions.