Earlham Institute receives Green Impact award

The Earlham Institute has received a Green Impact Silver Award, recognising its wide-ranging efforts to improve sustainability and support staff in reducing their carbon footprint at work.

Green Impact is a United Nations award-winning programme designed to support environmentally and socially sustainable practice within organisations. It empowers staff and students to create positive sustainability changes within their workplaces and at home.

Alongside sustainability and environmental initiatives, the Green Impact programme also encourages teams to look at ways to improve health and wellbeing.

The Earlham Institute joined the Green Impact scheme in 2022, joining efforts with the John Innes Centre, Quadram Institute, The Sainsbury Laboratory and Norwich Bioscience Institutes (NBI) Partnership.

Volunteers from across the Institute – including Operations, Research Faculty, Genomics Pipelines, and the NBI Graduate School Office – worked together on a range of initiatives and activities that were part of the award-winning submission.

The team began by undertaking an extensive discovery phase, identifying challenges and opportunities. This included reviewing energy consumption of laboratory and office equipment, access to recycling facilities, and management of building overheads, such as lighting and heating.

Based on this work, interventions and actions were implemented, alongside efforts to influence behaviour.

Sarah Cossey, Chief Operating Officer at the Earlham Institute, said: “This award recognises the hard work and energy of people across the Earlham Institute, all collaborating to make our science and innovation more sustainable.

“We wanted to help people recognise that recycling and saving energy is as important in the workplace as it is at home. Given the time we spend in the building, and the technology we use, these sustainability and wellbeing initiatives are critical if we’re each going to do our bit to look after the planet for future generations.

“Some of the changes we’ve made are quite big, such as installing solar panels on the roof. Others involve smaller, individual actions or behaviour changes. But, when all of these are added together over time, they make a significant impact.”

The Green Impact programme combines learning, actions, and awards to support environmentally and socially sustainable practice within organisations and in homes.

It educates and guides people through some of the ideas and initiatives they could apply to their workplaces in order to create a culture that embeds sustainability.

Grant Bexson, Operational and Laboratory Manager, said: “Staff from all parts of the Earlham Institute volunteered to be a part of our Green Impact team. They worked together to identify simple, engaging, and impactful actions – covering a range of sustainability themes, including energy, waste, water, and wellbeing.

“We’ve helped to show how we can all help to reduce the carbon impact of the Institute – and the wider sector – through simple actions, like using the recycling facilities or switching off monitors, lights, and equipment when not in use.”

The Earlham Institute will continue its Green Impact work by delivering against an action plan developed and implemented as part of the programme. This will include exploring further opportunities to improve sustainability and wellbeing.

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