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Sustainability – This time it’s personal

With sustainability, everything is connected

To make the future a sustainable one, we need to connect the professional with the personal, say Capgemini colleagues Samira Tavares Kruth Verdade and Ami Aizawa

“We all need to work together to reduce our impact on the environment and make our future sustainable,” says Samira Tavares Kruth Verdade, Quality and Methodology Manager at Capgemini in São Paulo, Brazil.

Samira is also the regional lead on environmental sustainability for Brazil and Argentina, which means she is responsible for achieving and maintaining international standards for corporate environmental management, as well as keeping Capgemini moving towards its sustainability goals.

“We might think, compared to a big industrial company, a professional services organization like Capgemini has only a small impact on the environment,” she says. “But there are always things we can do to improve. We all need to be part of the transformation.

“To do this means finding new ways to make colleagues interested in the subject and feel they can be part of the change. And we need to make sure we don’t just talk about it, but really take action.”

Sustainability at home

As well as making sure corporate goals are met and global standards upheld, Samira’s role crosses from the professional to the personal.

“We can raise awareness of positive actions colleagues can take in the workplace, but we can also help people take those home to change behaviors in their personal and family lives.”

Samira gives an example of where just such a change is taking place.

“Many of us work from home much more and hybrid models of working have quickly become normal. Can we take the sustainability message and apply it to these new ways of working?

“For example, one environmental advantage of working from home is a reduction in commuting. In Brazil, this fits with our goal of reducing carbon emissions from commuting by 55% by 2030. Another positive is that the energy needed for our office heating and air conditioning will also be reduced.

“However, we need to remember that employees will be running air conditioning and heating in their home offices. Once, we used to be able to calculate Capgemini’s energy consumption and carbon outputs by looking at a centralized office building, but now we have to think about each house where an employee is working and help them reduce emissions at home. Sustainability cuts across professional and private working spaces.”

Improving working environments

In Japan, Ami Aizawa is Facilities Manager for Capgemini’s Tokyo offices. Like Samira, she also sees how the professional and the personal are connected when it comes to sustainability.

“I’m in charge of workplace services and also lead on various sustainability initiatives,” she says. “Over the past few years, these have become a bigger part of what we do when looking after colleagues’ working environments.

“Of course, we have big goals: for example, to power all Capgemini offices with 100% renewable energy by 2025. In fact, we’ve actually already achieved this in Japan, and we’ve also switched to more sustainable LED lighting in the offices too.

“There is also an energy management system in our office building. It monitors how much electricity tenants consume, and there is a league table to see which of the tenants can be the greenest.

“However, I think it is where we can make a personal difference so that sustainability becomes interesting and even fun.

“I have three kids, so that’s my personal reason to take care of our planet’s future. What we do as an organization, and in the office, will affect our children’s future. It’s all connected – and so is the way we need to take action.”

Changing personal behavior

Ami says that while most people know we need to look after the environment, fewer know what they can do about it individually. This is where Ami’s sustainability initiatives have helped to change people’s behaviors – in the office and at home.

“We can help get the big initiatives right as a global organization, but we also need to encourage changes in personal behavior. It’s about changing our own habits and taking small steps that add up to make a big difference.”

“We send out regular communications with sustainability tips,” she says. “It might be a fun thing, like how to re-grow a vegetable such as a radish by cutting off the tip, placing it in water, and waiting for it to sprout.”

Green goals

For Earth Day this year, colleagues at the Tokyo offices all received a “mini green pot.”

“It was a gift of a plant that they could take care of,” says Ami. “Making sure that a plant gets the right amount of water and light can be difficult, so the little green pot helped people understand our part in looking after nature if it is to survive.

“It has been fun to introduce these small sustainability tips. I think awareness is the first step when looking to change behavior and make a better future for everyone and the planet.” Both Ami and Samira take a 360-degree view of sustainability. As Ami says: “We all need to come to work together, to improve what we do and solve the issues we all face. After all, it’s one world – and everything’s connected.”

Environmental sustainability

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