(Home) Office Tips for Sustainability

Protecting people, pets, and planet. That’s the Coya motto! Daily we work to ensure a future for Earth from our Berlin and home offices.
Paige McKinnon
1.2.2021

Insurance is all about protecting our future. For Coya, that's protecting you, your stuff at home, and your pets - plus protecting our planet's future.

While our work covers you, our workspaces reflect our commitment to protect the planet. 

We've taken many small steps in our Kreuzberg and home offices to be more eco-friendly. We challenge you, at home and in the office, to try one, two, three, or more tips (warning, this is a long post!) on your own. There are plenty of ways to work for the planet while you do your work. How will you make your workspace greener?

Reducing Waste

Don’t waste waste-baskets

The United Nations says that only 9% of plastic is recycled each year. But as the Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim stated, "Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it." Our office wastebaskets can impact how we recycle and compost. But that doesn’t mean more wastebaskets. In fact, not every employee needs his own garbage can. By removing wastebaskets at each desk, you (and your colleagues) will need to go to the proper reciprocal to get rid of the garbage. This increases our recycling! At your home office, take the time to sort your waste too. In the Coya office, we place 1 recycling waste-bin for every 10 employees. Source

Save money and shop environmentally

From sourcing materials, production, shipping, and disposal of old items, the furniture business takes a toll on our environment. Be part of the solution - and not the problem - by buying used equipment and furniture. You can get creative with DIY or up-cycling your furniture too! This helps reduce the disposal of old office furniture and can lessen the demand to create new desks, chairs, or bookcases. The Coya office is filled with used armchairs, sofas, and rugs. Desks and chairs were moved from our main office to apartments when we started working more from home. This made sure that our team didn’t have to buy new furniture. Source

Good for the body and planet

Local fruits and vegetables produce less energy and generate less carbon dioxide emissions. That’s because regional goods do not have to be shipped to your market. Additionally, seasonal foods use the natural cycle of water and resources so they are more eco-friendly. You may even try going vegan; according to the University of Oxford, cutting out animal products can reduce your carbon footprint by 73%. The Coya office always has milk-alternatives, local produce, and plenty of organic coffee! To inspire our colleagues to continue to eat healthy at home, we post photos of our meals on Slack and share seasonal recipes. Source

Say no to one-use goods

This tip isn’t very surprising. But you may be surprised that 1,500 plastic bottles end up in landfills or thrown in the ocean every second. Or that plastic bags release toxic substances into the air (when burned) or ground (when thrown away) impacting our air, water, and soil. With a little planning and thought, it’s easy to remember to pack reusable tote bags to the market or choose tap water rather than bottled. In 2019, Coya provided all team members with their own reusable water bottles. We get to stay hydrated without adding to a landfill. Source

Improving Energy Consumption

Stay cool - and hot!

Globally, keeping warm in our homes and offices accounts for 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Staying cool isn’t much better; air conditioning units release huge amounts of CO2. Upgrade your office temperature control system to have thermostats with Bluetooth functionality. It saves energy - and is very practical. At home, put on a sweater before turning up the heath. Coya has partnered with Plan A to help us track our energy use, including our heating emissions. Plan A provides a digital dashboard to help us see how our actions impact the environment so we can take the right steps to improve. Source

Turn it off

There may be vampires in your (home) office! Vampire Power is the energy that is drawn, but not used, by power strips or electronics that are left on standby mode. This can add up, sometimes up to 10% of the bill! As electricity consumption increases, so does the need and use of oil, coal, and gas. Plus carbon dioxide emissions. You can get rid of vampires, without garlic or a stake. At Coya, we switch off all multiple-sockets that aren’t being used, unplug the coffee maker after we are fully caffeinated, and shut down our electronics at the end of a hard day. Source

Let the sun shine!

Something as simple as turning off the lights when they are not needed can help to save our planet. Turning off the lights reduces the demand on energy sources like fossil fuels or natural gas. Plus, leaving the lights on can heat up a room and cause cooling systems to kick-in, increasing our energy’s environmental impact… what a cycle! We love the natural light that comes into the Coya offices. But when sunshine isn’t enough, the funny - but helpful - signs at each doorway to remind us to turn off the lights as we are leaving any work area. Source

Build a Community

Create an environmentally friendly procurement policy

Why work alone when we can make a larger impact with others? Ask your work to partner with companies who share your passion - and action - to save the planet. Buy sustainable, regional goods, and work with service providers who also care about climate protection. Together, you can make a bigger impact on areas like the effective use of natural resources, or the reduction of pollution and waste. At Coya, our environmentally friendly procurement policy includes working with Klara Grün for our office cleaning and maintenance. Plus, DocuSign is helping us to replace printed documents with digital processes.

A different type of green

Singing "Happy Birthday" and enjoying cake aren't the only ways to celebrate someone's special day in the office. To make birthdays (or anniversaries) also special for our planet, you can collect donations to charitable environmental organisations. The act of making these donations honour employees and friends in the office or your home. It also reduces waste on purchasing gifts that may never leave a desk drawer. Giving back is a tradition at Coya. As of the end of 2020, Coyans had collected over €200 and supported Lasst die Tier leben, Ocean Now, Die Arche, Tierheim Berlin and Berliner Tafel.

Sharing space

Your office space uses energy - to light, heat, and keep people working hard. But what if you have unused offices? Your company may have lots more empty desks (or office floors) as more employees are choosing to work remotely in response to the COVID pandemic. Empty offices use energy, but with no purpose. You can change that and put the extra area to work! Like Coya, your company may rent or donate unused space for community events, or for other organisations, companies, or groups to use. Your extra room (and the carbon footprint it produces automatically) are no longer wasted!

Monitor, Report, Stay Accountable

We know that you only improve if you can track where you are coming from, what works, and what doesn't. Plan A provides us with a digital platform to help rack our energy and waste use in the office. Plus, they share an action plan and resources so that our office can be more sustainable. Whether in a large office or at home, it can feel overwhelming to make changes to become greener. But small changes can add up to make a big impact; when you work from home, you can monitor your electric bill. Find a way to check where you are and celebrate where you are going on your green journey.

Protecting our planet together

We will continue to try to make everywhere Coyans work greener and more sustainable. Follow our efforts and get more tips by visiting coya.com/our-planet and on social media.

Sharing is caring

Our latest posts