Whilst COVID is a huge distraction to global progress on sustainability, it also offers us a chance to reset and reshape our local environments in a more sustainable way.
RX Australia’s Sustainability Working Group was established in October 2019 with the aim of reducing the company’s overall environmental impact, both in the office and at our events. Many of our shows, including Reed Gift Fairs and All-Energy Australia, have been pursuing their own sustainability programmes for some time, but there was no cohesive oversight of our company’s environmental impact. Our Sustainability Working Group aims to share successes across the business, establish minimum standards, and set the future direction for all events to work to.
One of our first initiatives was to provide all staff members with reusable drink bottles and coffee cups at Christmas. With the onset of COVID, lockdown, and the postponement of our events, we took the opportunity to raise awareness of our personal environmental impact, both at home and in the workplace, by organising RX Australia’s first Sustainability Week.
Over five days in April, we invited all employees to take part in a wide range of remote activities including:
- Monday: Going Green Quiz – called ‘Do you know how to live sustainably?’ the quiz highlighted some important misconceptions – for example, 26% of participants mistakenly thought that washing dishes by hand uses less water than a dishwasher.
- Tuesday: Swap shop – we invited all staff to join the RXA Sustainability Group on Facebook and post photos of the items they no longer needed or wanted. This page remains open for to encourage more staff to get involved with recycling.
- Wednesday: Plastic Free Day – Wednesday 22nd April was International Earth Day and RXA celebrated by encouraging all staff to go Plastic Free. A TED-Ed video raised awareness of the damaging effects of plastics on the environment, and recycling information was provided.
- Thursday: Sustainable Clothing Day – everyone was invited to wear sustainable or second-hand clothing and share a picture via the RXA Sustainability Facebook Group. Links to the most sustainable clothing brands were shared.
- Friday: Neighbourhood Clean Up – we encouraged all employees to take a walk to their local park, beach or nature reserve and see how much rubbish they could collect, remembering to dispose of all rubbish responsibly and recycle were possible.
We are now working on a sustainability strategy which can be applied across all our shows in 2021, and looking at other ways to reduce the impact of our events and offices, including drawing up a list of preferred suppliers.
Millie Heslop is Operations Manager for RX Global Australia.