What does COP26 in Glasgow and Paper Round have in common?

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Monday 8th November 2021

As COP26 is in full swing, we’re taking the opportunity to chat about how we, at Paper Round, contribute to the 4 central goals set out by the summit.

I know the title sounds like the start of a bad joke. But all jokes aside, there is a lot of common ground between the two.

If you have somehow managed to dodge all the news recently, you might not be totally sure about what COP26 is and why it is so important. If this is you, no judgement, but please do take a look at our quick-fire blog detailing all you need to know about what I would confidently call the event of the year.

Now that you’re clued up on what is what, let’s get stuck in.

Goal 1. Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach

As detailed in our SustainABLE Pathway, we have committed to lower our own carbon footprint to net zero by 2030 at the latest. As we are all on this journey together, we will use our leading expertise in the industry to support our clients with their own transition to lower carbon footprints. This is our SustainABLE Pathway.

We’ll achieve a low carbon, net zero future through 10 key commitments which will cataylse change and we’ll bring to life via our award-wining services, intelligence and engagement.

Goal 2. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats

Since our conception over 30 years ago, safeguarding the environment has always been at the heart of our business. We started out as a small-scale environmental project collecting and recycling office paper, and even though we have grown as a business, these core values continue today.

How we continually protect communities and nature:

  • Living wage: we have always paid a living wage to our staff and notably were the first waste management company to formally join the Living Wage Foundation.
  • Charity partners: we have several long-term charity partnerships such that we have donated over £350,000 since 2001. These include The Children's Literacy Charity, FareShare, Zoological Society of London and The Marine Conservation Society. Check out our charity partnerships page here
  • EY Foundation’s Smart Futures programme: 4 Paper Round employees are mentors for youngsters living in London, providing advice, encouragement and regular contact.
  • Carbon offsetting: we’ve teamed up with Trees for Cities. to offer a carbon offset scheme[link] for recycling collections and end-of-life processing. They plant trees in the local environment to offset the carbon produced by participating businesses. This regenerates green areas, which soak up and stores substantial quantities of carbon, while also enhancing spaces for community well-being.
  • Zero to landfill: our policy protects biodiversity through a variety of mechanisms. Landfill causes the clearing of land resulting in habitat loss, the release of leachates (liquid substance that leaches out of rubbish) which can be toxic and flow into nearby water supplies and degradation to soil fertility.
  • Circular economy: we champion this through our range of Office Supplies, where we turn the waste we collect into high quality products. This prevents the need for virgin materials, which has many ecological benefits.
  • Beach cleans: we host frequent cleans with our clients along the Thames and Brighton beach, protecting London’s foreshores from litter.

Beach clean with clients along the Thames

Goal 3. Mobilise finance

We are at the forefront of exploring, investing, and driving forward innovative infrastructures and technologies. This includes Artificial Intelligence, new equipment, and machinery at our recovery facility, and the electrification of our fleet. All this comes with a significant price tag. Many of these switches are not completely necessary, but we do so to lead change in the waste management industry and help our clients reduce their carbon footprint. Financing the green economy is an ongoing conundrum, but we are committing to play our part to unlock a greener future for everyone.

Electric vehicle in london

Our electric truck

Goal 4. Work together to deliver

In the face of climate catastrophe, collaboration is more important than ever before. We are all in this together and must work together to emerge greener, safer, and more resilient.

  • Internal collaboration: as an SME, it is important for us to work together to solve problems and make unified decisions to ensure the service we provide can be the best it can be. We have several committees and groups to facilitate discussion and action.
  • External B2B collaboration: we are in our element when we have open conversations and work with likeminded companies. Our partnership with Vegware has won multiple awards, such as the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management’s Impact Award for best Product or Service. Another collaboration we are especially proud of is with Bio-Bean, who takes the waste coffee grounds we collect and converts them into bio-fuel pellets for powering bio-mass boilers.
  • External B2C collaboration: Even though we are a B2B business, the users of our recycling services are at the heart of everything we do. We use a hands-on approach, tapping into consumer motivations, understanding the power of simplicity, and recognising that one size does not fit all. For example, we use colour coding and clean signage with our bins. Furthermore, we have multiple engagement products, including a rigorous Waste Composition Analysis, engaging Lunch and Learns and thought-provoking workshops.

We hope this breakdown has illustrated how our environmental efforts weave into the goals set out by COP26. This gives us the confidence that we are on the right track, and we hope many other companies in the waste management industry and beyond join us on this journey.

A central theme of COP26 is collaboration. Joko Widodo, the President of Indonesia said ‘solidarity, partnership, cooperation, and global collaboration are key’ and we couldn’t agree more that we must work together to achieve the goals set out.

Hattie Lindsey

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