[Interview] Apogee's Sustainability Journey with Ato Nimoh-Brema
Print IT Reseller interviewed Apogee's Head of Sustainability and Business Assurance, Ato Nimoh-Brema to learn more about Apogee's sustainability journey. Read on to learn what he had to say.
What are the main objectives and targets of your sustainability strategy, and what progress has been made in meeting your goals?
At its core, Apogee’s vision for the future is built on creating a net positive impact on the environment whilst providing leadership on sustainability for the managed workplace services industry.
As the head of sustainability and business assurance, I see sustainability as something that should be intertwined in all aspects of the business. Apogee’s sustainability strategy is intentionally linked to the organisation’s core values and hinges on three pillars: planet, people, and productivity. The Planet pillar is our commitment to environmental sustainability: greenhouse gas emissions throughout our value chain, waste and resource efficiency, water use reduction, and enhancement of biodiversity and preservation of heritage. The People pillar represents our commitment to our people and the communities we reside in: employee development and wellbeing, equality, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and charitable activities. Lastly, the Productivity pillar represents our commitment to continually develop and grow our business by being innovative at adapting to internal and external factors locally and globally; simply put, sustainability at Apogee can be seen as growing a profitable business whilst enhancing the environment, our people, and the communities which in we live and operate.
The main objective for Apogee is to achieve net zero by 2030. Apogee has an ambitious target for net zero greenhouse gas emissions and zero waste by 2030, and as a subsidiary of HP, we proudly align ourselves to HP’s drive for carbon neutrality by 2025/26. We’ve also set the target to plant at least one million trees in managed forests around the world by 2030.
We have made progress in meeting our goals in several key areas. First, 100% of our waste generated in the business was diverted from landfills in FY21. We have also started capturing and reporting on waste reuse. In 2021, we reused 460 tons of items destined for waste. Most of the waste is machine parts harvested for use and end-of-life devices refurbished and re-sold. We also reduced our fleet energy used in FY21 by 5% compared with FY20, with a 49% reduction compared with our 2019 baseline. We planted more than a thousand new trees in managed forests worldwide and engaged in various community programmes.
Another example of our progress can be seen in our transparency and disclosure. It’s important for our employees, regulators, and customers to have visibility into what we are doing. Honesty goes a long way in sustainability, and we believe honest reporting on whether we’ve hit our targets is the only way to learn and grow.
Apogee's aspirations to transition to an 'as-a-Service' business model offers huge potential from an environmental standpoint. Shifting from a transactional model to sell as much as possible, we aim to achieve the solution that the consumer requires – all while lowering costs and reducing environmental impact.
To what extent do you think customers (and employees) want to align themselves with organisations who place sustainability high on the business agenda?
Economic, social, and environmental sustainability is essential in today's business climate due to shifting viewpoints throughout the world. In the public sector, a growing number of our customers now inspect tender bids and tenders and demand you identify your sustainability aims, practices, and outputs.
When it comes to attracting talent, being sustainable is critical. We’re in an era where employees come to me with ideas to implement and want to know what actions we take to be sustainable. I believe that failing to execute a sustainability plan may result in the loss of talented people. Being sustainable can also drive employees to work harder because they see the value in what the organisation is doing to make a difference.
The very definition of sustainability is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. That says to me that the very nature of sustainability is longevity, and any business looking to be successful would need to and would want to work with organisations that put sustainability high on their business agenda.
Does strong environmental performance provide a valuable source of competitive advantage? What, if any, business value have you seen from your sustainability efforts?
Apogee's approach to sustainability has evolved. We've gotten to the point where clients ask us if we can share best practices; after all, we're a managed services provider, and one of our capabilities is cloud printing. The cloud is changing the way IT infrastructure consumes electricity. If done correctly, it has the ability to reduce carbon emissions and total electricity consumption. As a result, the issue becomes: how can we assist our customers in achieving their own sustainability goals through our products and services?
There are also plans to track customer wins from these engagements, meaning that we will be able to measure how important a factor sustainability is in revenue terms and report back on this. I hope that Apogee can be a case study on sustainability as a profit centre.
How are you engaging your employees in your sustainability efforts?
When engaging employees in Apogee’s sustainability vision, giving employees a voice is one of our best practices. Whether it be from having people share ideas during employee meetings or sending out an employee survey. This year Apogee has acted on and supported several employee initiatives.
In June, Apogee raised over £7,000, as result of their Around the World fundraising challenge for cancer charity, Teens Unite. Thirty-four teams of Apogee employees, friends, and family completed 40,075km from a combination of running, cycling, walking, and swimming – six days ahead of schedule!
In September Apogee partnered with the Marine Conversation Society to arrange two regional beach clean ups in support of the Great British Beach Clean. In total 33 Apogee employees collected over 40kg worth of litter across a 200-metre stretch of beach in Whitstable, Kent and Paull on the Humber.
In December, thanks to the ever-popular Apogee Christmas Charity Advent Calendar, our employees raised over £4,500 for the charity, Rethink Mental Illness. The fundraising event gives employees a chance the buy as many raffle tickets as possible in the hope of winning a fantastic host of prizes kindly donated by Apogee’s partners and suppliers.
With which groups are you partnering with regarding key sustainability initiatives?
Apogee works with PrintReleaf to help drive our reforestation program to reach our target of planting at least one million trees in managed forests around the world by 2030.
Looking forward, we are in the process of onboarding with Ecovadis to help improve sustainability within our supply chain. We are looking to further partner with PrintReleaf to plant a tree for every 8,333 prints made and considering making this service a default offering for our Managed Print Services customers from 2022/23. We have also responded to the Climate Disclosure Project as suppliers of the NHS and HP and will apply to use the CDP framework to drive our sustainability agenda. To drive our People and Social pillars, we will sign up to the BCorp movement. Lastly, we have been invited to join Terra Carta as part of the Prince of Wales initiative on sustainability.