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October 24, 2023

Ambition for Net Zero X The Old Printworks (Proctors HQ)

Evelyn Chapman
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Working towards Net Zero at Proctors

In 2019, Bristol became the UK’s first local council to declare a climate emergency. And six months later the elected Mayor, Marvin Rees, set a goal for the city to become carbon neutral by 2030.

Last year at Bristol’s bi-annual City Gathering, the One City Environment and Economy boards launched the Bristol One City Climate Ask – urging every business and organisation in Bristol to declare their support for their net zero initiative.

It’s exactly this kind of moving and shaking that makes Proctors proud to call Bristol home. So we’ve not only pledged our support to the city’s goal, we’ve also set our own – with an aim to reach net zero by 2030.

The rise in interest around climate change has also meant working with our clients on their own sustainability journeys. From creating explainer videos to running campaigns for more sustainable products and services, we are collectively learning and improving together.

We created an animated explainer video for Burges Salmon, showing how their multi-sector legal expertise enables clients to take a holistic view of their Net Zero roadmap and make the most of the opportunities it presents.

Proctors offices

Solar panels on the P+S office building working towards net zero

When we moved our office from St Paul’s to Easton, Bristol, our Founder and Chairman, Roger Proctor, made the conscious decision to reduce the building’s environmental impact and make it as sustainable as possible going forward.

To do this, we sought out environmentally responsible materials. The ceilings, walls and floors in the main office area are ‘super’ insulated using CelotexPIR boards, manufactured with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) and zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP).

And the outside of the building has CristalACTiV coating which reduces atmospheric pollution in the surrounding areas. As far as we know we are the only building in the UK to have this coating.

We were also conscious of the waste we produced. Generally, all leftover building material was recycled, including the original building fittings such as steel, old radiators, wood etc.

We wanted to go beyond bringing an old, unused building up to modern standards. We wanted it to be sustainable, self-sufficient and practically future proof.

So, we installed a 3KW PV solar panel system (90 panels) on the roof to power the building, charge our company fleet of electric and hybrid vehicles (company car policy since 2010) and export any excess to the grid.

We understand that on occasion, our building may need more energy than the solar panels can provide (we are in the UK after all!). To offset this, we are on a green tariff with Good Energy for both electricity and gas. Ensuring we use renewable energy is always our top priority.

Since installation, our 90 solar panels have reduced our CO2 footprint by 72,960kg. That’s the equivalent of 30,400 litres of petrol. And from July 2021 to March 2022, our solar panels have produced an average of 2,213.5 kWh of energy a month, saving 75 tons of carbon.

All our lighting is ‘ambient lighting’ which self-adjusts to light coming into the building and switches off when there is no activity in the room – reducing our energy use. And our HVAC is all monitored through a programmable thermostat.

We have installed a living wall in our building that circulates fresh oxygen, removes air pollutants, increases productivity and creativity and boosts wellbeing.

The living wall in the P+S office working towards net zero ambitions

Getting to the office

We installed a bike lock up and have a cycle to work scheme to reduce car congestion both at the office and on the roads. We recently signed up to CyclingWorks Bristol, a group of organisations supporting better cycling infrastructure across Bristol to allow their staff to travel safely to work by bike.

Bikes outside the P+S office showing the work being done towards net zero

For those that do drive, we have 8 electric car ports which are powered by our solar panels. And we encourage use of public transport where possible with our commuter travel club scheme by first bus.

Company culture around sustainability

Lots of our sustainability success comes from our Proctorians’ passion to get involved. We saw this on this past Earth Day when one of our CSR officers, Aimee Ferris, ran a seed planting lunch and learn.

We learned all about how we can use edible flowers, some of their medicinal properties, as well as how to garden sustainably using peat free composts and avoiding chemical pesticides.

We have numerous reminders around the office that celebrate our company culture and promote a sustainable mindset. From our living wall which helps purify the air, to our solar energy panel in the entrance. We even got in a local artist to create a mural wall highlighting everything we do for our team and the local community.

Our aim

Alongside many other businesses in Bristol, we’re currently working towards our B Corp certification. And to help us reach net zero by 2030, we are using the advice provided by Bristol City Council.

A word from Cllr Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for City Economy, Finance and Performance:

“The city’s ambitions to reduce emissions are accelerating with the finalisation of the City Leap consortium– and up to £1 billion in new investment, the shortlisting of Bristol and Oxford as the potential pilot for the UK’s first zero emission transport city and the announcement that Bristol along with Glasgow have been selected to join the EU Horizon 100 Net Zero by 2030 cities mission.

However, to shift the city’s economy we need every business in the city to act. I welcome the steps that Proctor + Stevenson have taken to reduce their emissions. This is this is the kind of leadership the city needs to reach its 2030 climate ambition. I hope that other businesses are inspired by this example, and that they too will share their stories of how they are reducing emissions, and join the Bristol One City Climate Ask.

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