Brown Bag’s ‘Green Bag’ committee was founded with the goal of making a greener workspace, and world, for all. In celebration of Earth Day, we wanted to check-in to see how they’ve been doing…
What have we done since we started in 2014?
Rather a lot! But mainly carbon reduction and improved waste management / recycling. Here are a few highlights from down through the years, and an update on our current initiative:
Brown Bag’s co-founder Cathal Gaffney put out the call to get us started on our journey towards reducing our carbon footprint and the Green Bag Dublin committee was first set up.
2014 - 2018
The Environmental Protection Agency did a case study on Brown Bag Films’ journey to carbon neutrality. In the first four years (2014-2018), we reduced our CO2 emissions by 678 tonnes per annum.
Energy company Energia showcased Brown Bag Films as a poster child for businesses that greatly reduce their carbon output.
We achieved ISO 14001 certification (similar to a B Corp in North America), meaning Brown Bag Films has made a continuous binding commitment to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our waste and reduce our consumption / use renewable sources.
Our green journey expanded! Toronto studio employees Ayan Sengupta, Brittany Funston, and Margaret Simone started Green Bag Toronto with the aim to become a carbon neutral animation studio in Canada!
We found that computer screens were the single biggest energy draw within the Toronto studio so we implemented a ‘Switch It Off’ campaign whereby every Friday all-studio would get a reminder message to “switch it off” (along with help from IT to send screens to sleep rather than allowing them to “burn” indefinitely). This was one of Toronto’s biggest energy-saving initiatives!
In Dublin, we held an Earth Day Pub Quiz Fundraiser… and planted native hedgerows in Co. Clare!
We held a Carbon Reduction Day – staff commuted to work by foot / bike / public transport to raise funds for the Native Woodland Trust.
Toronto Green Bag successfully implemented “Rinse & Recycle” posters to raise studio awareness for rinsing and recycling plastic during our Ice Cream Day event.
The committee members even took to our studio internal Town Hall to talk about how to reduce, reuse, and recycle, showing an illustrative chart on what is and isn’t recyclable, as well as compostable, to increase environmental education among studio staff.
In September 2019, we attended and participated in the Global Climate Strike (a series of international strikes and protests to demand action be taken to address climate change, which took place from September 20-27th) in Dublin and Toronto. Some of the initiatives included planting trees for $4, donating $500 toward planting 125 trees, a Fossil-Fuel Free Week Challenge to encourage eco-friendly transportation alongside a global digital takeover whereby our websites shared the Global Climate Strike message on our landing pages to support the cause and help raise awareness.
Our Dublin staff making the Extinction Rebellion symbol on the square outside the studio in Smithfield in support of the climate strikers.
We also planted pollinator-friendly plants in tubs in our courtyard…
… and held Zero-Waste Day events, hosting a zero-waste pop-up shop in the studio, and competitions for the best eco-friendly tips from staff.
To end the year, in Toronto we gifted Brown Bag re-useable tote bags and coffee mugs to all staff at the Christmas Party, encouraging less consumption of plastic bags and disposable cups.
We did charitable matching in aid of the Australian Wildfires, and raised funds for Aussie Ark.
What are we doing now?
The global pandemic and resultant Working from Home have scuppered some of our planned studio-based initiatives for 2020 (like the clothing swap shop event, and the mini community garden we were about to make in the courtyard in March 2020!). However, we re-grouped in spring 2021 and have just sent out seed packs to our staff.
We’re encouraging our staff to grow their own sunflowers at home and share their progress and advice with each other, and we’re really looking forward to seeing the results. We hope to do more studio activities throughout the rest of this year and encourage our staff to continue their 'green' habits while at home!
We wanted to give a big Thank You on this Earth Day to our global Green Bag Committees and all the good they do to help our beautiful planet! To help support your personal green journey, check out some tips and resources below.
And for more on Earth Day 2021, visit EarthDay.org