An interview with Ed Riseman, Co-Founder big group

From small seeds blossom big results

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Big group is a mature 30-year business and they’re also an accredited ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 business; but when looking to improve their environmental impact Green Mark appealed to big as it complimented their service-based business and meant they could work to an agreed standard to achieve a clear goal.

In this interview with General Manager, Ed Riseman, Ed talks about big group’s sustainability journey, unexpected upsides and what they plan to do next their Level 3 Green Mark accreditation. 

‘Our only regret is that we wish we had started sooner’. 

Now that we’ve worked with Green Mark for a few years, I can honestly say we’re most proud of simply starting. Taking the first step can be difficult and confusing; it’s tough to know what is the ‘right’ first step. Working with the Green Mark team and achieving Green Mark’s Level 3 means we have a clear set of processes and guidelines that push us towards continuous environmental improvement. We’ve been able to set science-based targets and the further we’ve got into the process, the more we’ve learnt. At the start of our sustainability journey, we never thought we’d have a fully-fledged system that works for us and our clients.

How we measure our impact

Having a clear understanding of our environmental impacts means that our purchasing choices are not just about cost, but what the cost to the environment would be if we don’t find a more sustainable alternative.

Taking our environmental responsibility seriously is also part of what makes big group an attractive agency for employees (new and existing) and clients.

This focus on sustainability has been whole-heartedly championed by staff who are proud to work for a company that cares about doing its bit. Since the move to our new environmentally friendly offices in 2022, attendance has increased, and illness rates have decreased. Enthusiasm and buy-in from staff gives momentum to everything we’re trying to achieve; it’s why sustainability is now ingrained in big groups’ values. We’re passionate about making a genuine difference, it’s great to see that our employees and clients are excited to be involved and bring great ideas.

To anyone thinking about committing to Green Mark, we say, ‘do it’.

Green initiatives

Working with Green Mark has meant that we’re now able to provide a plan from a sustainability point of view which is now expected by our clients, so it’s essential that we continue to explore new initiatives and next steps to implement.

Speaking of new initiatives…Our Events team is working to create carbon impact assessments and carbon impact reports. The assessments are part of the kick-off for a client event, which means we can be proactive in recommending things early, this allows us to hit the sustainability mark. As part of the debrief we provide a carbon impact report, to see if we can learn any areas for improvement.

Frontline (big in Bath) is on its own sustainability journey, and we’re excited by how the team are integrating their learnings into client work and coming to clients with sustainable solutions.

Next steps

The next step for us is to implement science-based targets for carbon reduction and find more ways to embed sustainability into our offering and revenue.

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