An interview with Ed Riseman, Co-Founder big group

From small seeds blossom big results

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big group builds sustainability into their company ethos with us

In this interview with General Manager, Ed Riseman, Ed opens up about their sustainability journey and why big group committed to achieving Green Mark accreditation.

Ed remarks

Back in 2019, we wanted to find ways we could do more in terms of sustainability, as a business, taking us beyond being just ‘good recyclers’. It also made sense as, increasingly, the global client brands we work with turned their focus on agencies and suppliers to step up their commitment to sustainability.”

This meant opening up their policies and processes around procurement, supplier management and even their employee handbook to uncover how they could build sustainability into their everyday business.

Big group is a mature 30 year business and unusually for an independent agency of their size, are an accredited ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 business. Green Mark appealed to them as an important accreditation to aim for in their sustainability approach and was more appropriate than ISO 14001. Green Mark meant working to an agreed standard to achieve a clear goal which complemented their type of business.

Green Mark was very supportive in identifying the way forward, providing tools, the patience and the templates that were particularly beneficial and helped to educate their business through the journey to achieve Level 1. A year later, big group were delighted to achieve the Green Mark Level 2 accreditation.

During this latter period there were seismic changes to contend with including the pandemic. Even though they operate in a digital environment, there were still a few legacy ‘paper trail’ processes, including staff expenses, contracts and invoices that they transitioned to fully digital, virtually overnight. Operating within Green Mark guidance precipitated this and helped them to switch up seamlessly. Moreover, after 20 years at their previous office location in Holland Park, big group took the major step of relocating their London operation to a new build location in Notting Hill, when it was feasible to do so during the course of 2020 and 2021.

The education process through Green Mark informed the decision to move the business to BREEAM A-rated offices with a biodiverse roof and terrace.

Ed says

I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that sustainability became so important to us we literally moved the whole business to an eco-friendly office environment.”

As a consequence, they have noticed a cultural change within the company, reflected in recent internal surveys asking their employees about their attitudes to sustainability, recycling, commuting pattern and energy providers at home which will form the basis of their EMS for level 3.

As they move forward, big group is developing initiatives to offset our carbon emissions and understand the impact of their supply chain and that of their clients. Using the framework, they have also set goals to ensure they embed sustainability deeper into the business. Further sustainability initiatives are underway with major clients in a spirit of openness and learning together which is a refreshing challenge.

Ed concludes

“Moving to Green Mark Level 2 gave us the confidence and impetus to benchmark and set reduction targets and to bring our team and our clients along with us.”

Have a look at their website here.

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