Climate Emergency Week — Company values in action

Written by Ros Langford, REAL Manager, Norwich Door Region.

2020 was a hugely challenging twelve months for eveyone but a really positive thing that did happen during the year was REAL’s first Climate Emergency Week. From March 2nd to March 8th the REAL family participated in seven days of company-wide activism.

Without doubt the current COVID crisis is one of humanity’s greatest challenges, but when we do beat it we will still be facing the very real threat of global warming and climate change. We are, as a planet, in the midst of a Climate Emergency.

The aims of REAL’s Climate Emergency Week were to educate ourselves and others about the very real crisis our planet is facing, to reduce our immediate carbon footprint that week and to learn tools to ensure the reduction was ongoing. We achieved these aims by engaging in a wide variety of activities including a protest of the lack of attention given to this dangerous and very pressing problem. REAL is already Carbon Neutral, however in it’s mission to become NetZero 2030, twenty years ahead of the 2050 goals, REAL must also continue to reduce the amount of CO2 it needs to offset each year.

The creative programme devised for the week was impressive as was the passion and enthusiasm coming from the directors and everyone envolved in organising it. One Director for example, when posting the project details said he could not contain his excitement and that it was more than just a chance to minimise our carbon footprint, it was a statement!

‘….a statement that tells everyone WE COULD, AND SHOULD, BE DOING MORE. It’s a statement that says the REAL Family will not stand by and ignore it when something needs to change. It’s a statement that says WE ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION….’

It’s a statement that says the REAL Family will not stand by and ignore it when something needs to change. It’s a statement that says WE ARE PART OF THE SOLUTION….’
Rousing indeed but this is REAL’s vision. As James Davis says on the company website ‘…Quite simply, we are out to change the world….’

During the week there was a wide variety of activities we all took part in, and also suggestions for further activities we were encouraged to add to them. None of the company cars were used all week (regardless of the fact that 45% are hybrid) and everyone walked, jogged, cycled or took public transport to work. We avoided all single use plastic, turned off lights, turned down heating by two degrees, had meat-free lunches and wrote to our local MPs demanding action on climate change. We also protested the lack of action on this hugely urgent issue wherever we were working across the country, all at the same time. We removed our charity branding and held up placards and iPads with activist messages on the screens.

We litter picked beaches and city streets and found how pleasing it is to tidy our world. We donated unwanted items to charity shops to reduce land fill and bought clothes from them to cut participation in the wasteful fashion industry. We learnt about food air miles and localised sourcing, we brought packed lunches to work in reusable containers and strived for zero air miles in all our personal shopping.

For climate change education, a great deal of thought went into putting together a wide variety of excellent films, documentaries and podcasts to be watched in our spare time.

As the week went on it became very clear how much we can do as individuals and how much we achieved as a group. New awareness and habits were formed and on top of everything it was fun and heartening to be taking a stand! This is after all an issue we must not ignore for a moment longer and everything we can all do to hurry up the change we all need has to be done now.

The week was a huge success. REAL puts an enormous amount of effort into creating a rewarding and vibrant culture for and with its employees. It’s one that works to be the force for good in the world that it professes and our clients only have to look at our internally shared Slack channels to see how proud and happy everyone is to be here! It is a remarkable company!

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