What sustainability means to us

Category: News

Over the last few months, we’ve been making some changes here at Nash & Co Solicitors. Some big, some small, but all of them have been done with the environment in mind. We’re very conscious that as a business, we have a responsibility to do what we can to reduce our impact on the environment and at the same time, enhance our sustainability as a firm. We also need to do what we can to encourage others to do the same.

Quite rightly, clients and the public in general have been increasing the pressure on businesses to be greener, more ethical, and to make sustainability a priority. Consequently, ‘sustainability’ has become a buzzword across almost all sectors of the economy. People don’t want to just see companies talking about what they’re doing for the environment. They justifiably want the kind of transparency that exposes companies that are just talking the talk, when they should be walking the walk.

Greenwashing

What is ‘greenwashing’?

Greenwashing is when companies invest more time and money on marketing their products, services or their brand as “green” rather than actually doing the hard work to ensure that it is sustainable. And unfortunately, it’s a lot more common than you think.

That’s why it’s so important to us that we put sustainability at the heart of everything that we do. And that we don’t exaggerate the steps we take to reduce our impact on the environment.

Greenwashing’s particularly harmful because it can be used to convince the public that a company is doing all they can for the environment. Being drawn in by the buzzwords ‘ethical’, ‘green’, and ‘eco’ – people make purchases in good faith. But it’s not until they look under the hood that they realise they’re essentially being lied to.

Bad for business

The bottom line is that greenwashing is bad for the environment and bad for business. Claiming your brand is ‘eco-friendly’ isn’t going to cut the mustard anymore. You need to show it too.

We’ve always been a firm that believes in going one step further, whenever we can. Anytime we sponsor an event or support a charity in the community, it’s not just about handing money over. For us, it’s about going further, and helping more. It’s “here’s the money you need, now what else can we do to help?”.

And that’s the same way that we want to approach our environmental plans too. We don’t want to just invest in the seagrass meadow, we want to help the Ocean Conservation Trust to make up the bags of seagrass and actually plant it on the seabed. We don’t want to just go along as a participant on the Aquarium’s beach cleans, we want to run our own too. One of the reasons that we’re doing the rewilding work in Beaumont Park, is that we want to show park users and our staff and visitors how easy it is for them to do the same things in their own gardens at home. By doing these kind of things, we can hopefully inspire others to do what they can.

If you’re not sure how to spot companies that are greenwashing, here’s a pretty useful article from the BBC that will help!

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How we’re improving our sustainability

Renewable energy

One essential step that we’re taking, is switching our electricity to 100% renewable energy. And we’re also looking at what we can do to use alternative sources of heating instead of gas. These initiatives will hopefully have a huge effect on our carbon footprint. None of our waste ends up in landfills. Instead, it’s used to create energy for the dockyard and other local businesses and homes at he waste energy plant in Devonport. The rest of our waste is recycled here in the UK.

Collecting plastic tubs

This Christmas, we’re going to be starting to collect the plastic tubs that you get chocolates in, and handing these to DCW. They turn them into pellets, sell them, and donate all of the money to Dartmoor Zoo. We’re doing this with the plastic tops from milk bottles too.

Sustainability around the office

We’re making a raft of changes here in the office, from LED lighting, to providing staff with more sustainable ways to travel to and from work, and significantly reducing our paper usage. Where we can, teams and the firm as a whole will be going paperless. There are areas of the firm where this simply isn’t possible, but here, we’re doing what we can to reduce paper usage as much as possible.

Planting trees and pollinator-friendly plants

Looking out of our windows, we can see Beaumont Park, and here together with our own grounds, we’ve been planting trees, pollinator-friendly plants and creating a more wildlife-friendly and biodiverse environment. While planting a few trees is a drop in the water in comparison to other sustainability efforts, we genuinely find the conservation of our local green areas to be extremely important for our mental health and love the message it sends to others in our local community about the value of our environment.

Supporting local organisations who believe in sustainability too

We’re supporting some key local organisations who are leading from the front in the fight against climate change. Plymouth is Britain’s Ocean City. So to us, it makes sense that we help organisations involved with preserving the sea life and oceans both locally and around the world. The Ocean Conservation Trust, the National Marine Aquarium, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, and Surfers Against Sewage. They’re all hugely invested in fighting climate change, and they need help in doing it. These partnerships and the work we’ll do with them will help to significantly reduce our impact on the environment.

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Looking ahead

There’s always more that we can do, always bigger changes that we can make. We shouldn’t shy away from the changes that make the biggest difference just because they’re the biggest faff. At the same time though, we can’t pretend that cost does not matter.

We’re also keen to use our network of clients and contacts, encouraging them to do what they can. Along the way, we’ve met some incredible people. And we want to help them to do what they do best – help others to make sustainable choices and changes. If you’re part of an organisation that loves the environment as much as we do, we’d love to chat and see what we can do together. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch – email us here.

It can be easy to despair in the face of climate catastrophe. But we know that we have the power to make a small change – and we’ll do anything we can to help save the planet.