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This year both Cambridge Assessment (CA) and Cambridge University Press (CUP) are delighted to be taking part in the University’s Green Impact scheme. In 2020, Cambridge Assessment achieved a Silver award and three special awards so are aiming for Gold this year, with Cambridge University Press hoping for their first Bronze award. Collaboration across our organisations, and being more mindful of actions within our own homes, has enabled a vast amount of progress even with very few colleagues currently in offices.

Staff carbon tracking project

In order to provide targeted support to different offices, and to raise awareness and promote action, all colleagues from both Cambridge Assessment and Cambridge University Press have access to an online carbon calculator. An individuals’ estimated monthly carbon footprint and can be recorded, tracked and backfilled to the start of the year to get a complete picture of their 2021 impact so far. The online calculator itself is an external web tool with the trackers available internally to staff. The data will enable the Environment Groups at the Press and Assessment to identify which areas are contributing most to staff carbon footprints, as well as to get a sense of how working from home options are impacting our newly-developed Science Based Targets.

Environment bingo – have a go!

Teams at CUP and CA put our heads together (virtually of course) to create a bingo card challenge of initially 20 but expanding to 24 actions that staff could do at home to help the environment, make life more sustainable and possibly even save money. Some are one-off actions, some are family activities, some are time-based challenges, and some are ongoing pledges to make a change. We encouraged colleagues to do as many or as few as they like over the course of a month and we provided a discussion thread and post additional information about the actions each week. Want to give it a go? Download the CUP bingo card here or the CA bingo card here.

Cambridge Assessment ran the Environment Bingo throughout March and had a fantastic response, seeing 44 colleagues sign up to the Bingo’s Yammer page. The page was visited 1,881 times by 486 individual people who posted 261 messages and gave 653 reactions (likes, loves etc.). As a result, an amazing 136 Green Impact actions were completed, including changing to eco-friendly cleaning products, going on litter picks, providing food and housing for wildlife, recycling, and exploring ethical banking or alternative energy options.

The Green Impact Bingo idea seem like a fun way to try and have a positive impact on the environment, which is so important for all of us and future generations. For the challenge, I increased my use of a running buggy to pick up my son from nursery, avoiding some car trips. I also set up a bug hotel and a pond from an old washing up bowl, to encourage wildlife in our garden. I continued eating vegan, which reduces impact on rainforests and greenhouse gases, and signed up for oat milk deliveries in reusable milk bottles. It felt great to join with colleagues across the organisation in making a positive contribution.

– Rob Mantell, Product Performance Analyst, Cambridge Assessment

Cambridge University Press are running the Environment Bingo throughout April, and are aiming to see a repeat of Cambridge Assessment’s brilliant engagement. There are some great prizes to be handed out to participating staff throughout the month, including books, discounts and money vouchers at sustainable stores. Colleagues participate by posting in the Press Environmental Action Yammer group about an action/pledge they took from the bingo card. Cambridge University Press looks forward to tallying up all of the fantastic actions and efforts of our staff in early May!

Sustainable publishing

Over at Cambridge University Press, we’ve been exploring multiple aspects of sustainable publishing. In March, we enjoyed a talk from Footprint Digital on the carbon footprint generated from the digital industry and we’ve also been looking at our supply chain. The Environmental Action Group at CUP took part in the International Green Book Supply Chain Alliance Survey which does what it says on the tin! Made up of BIC, BookNetCanada and BISG, the groups aim to create a greener supply chain across publishing. Data from this survey will help understand sustainability in the supply chain processes of UK and North America publishers.

On a smaller scale, we’ve also started removing half of the printers from University Printing House (UPH), CUP’s main UK office, to encourage staff to print less. In 2020, the Resources & Waste Working Group, comprised of staff volunteers, submitted a proposal to our Environmental Board to remove a number of printers from UPH to encourage less printing when colleagues go back to the office. The Board approved the proposal and decided to remove 15 of the 30 printers in UPH and redistribute the remainder more accordingly across the building. Printers are also being reset with more eco-friendly printing instructions and energy measuring plugs are being installed to measure the reduction in energy usage and carbon emissions.

We are still in the early years of our sustainability journey but we look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.

                                                          Written by Ellie Hennerley, Group Communications and Engagement Officer, Cambridge University Press and Cambridge Assessment