Thursday, May 7, 2009

Liane Rossler - Al Gore Climate Ambassador Eco-inspection

Today at 11am we have a special visit from Dinosaur Design's Liane who is an Al Gore Climate Ambassador. Liane will be inspecting our office offering us tips on how to make our team more eco-friendly.
Thank you lovely Liane! We are so lucky to have your help and guidance!

Here is an article about Liane spotted on

AS awareness of global warming grows, consumers are becoming eager to support businesses making an effort to be environmentally responsible.

Dinosaur Designs, the Sydney-based jewellery and homewares company, found that being good to the earth had also been good for business.

The company engages in a range of environmentally sustainable initiatives such as offsetting all its carbon emissions, using green electricity and recycling water.

Liane Rossler, one of the designers and co-founders of Dinosaur Designs, said there had been “the most incredible response” from customers to their environmental efforts.

It had also made the business a more attractive employer.

“We just interviewed for a position in the company and every single applicant said how impressed they were with our environmental initiatives and said they wanted to be part of our company because of that,” Ms Rossler said.

Easy being green

Since forming in 1985 Dinosaur Designs had always been sensitive to the environment, she said. They recycled paper and plastic for years and their premises were designed to encourage natural airflow and remove the need for air conditioning.

But after becoming more aware of global warming last year, Ms Rossler and her colleagues made it a priority to reduce their company’s environmental footprint.

They comissioned an energy audit by a private company to identify how much energy they were using and where they were wasting it.

They switched to green energy from Origin Energy, which produces electricity from wind, solar and hydro power.

Offsetting emissions

To offset their carbon emissions they tallied up how much CO2 the business generated through national and international freight (they have stores in New York, Sydney and Melbourne), plane travel and car use.

For every tonne of CO2 generated, Dinosaur Designs invested money in Australian company Climate Friendly to use in wind and solar farms.

The business also offset their car travel by investing in Green Fleet, a company which plants trees to help absorb the amount of CO2 you produce.

Other initiatives included using recycled paper in packaging and marketing materials and soy based ink and waterless printing in their catalogues.

In the office they recycled all water used in the production process, re-used printing cartridges and installed low-energy tri-phosphor light globes.

The price is right

It might sound like a lot of effort and money, but Ms Rossler said it wasn't. It simply required a different way of thinking and that staff embraced the changes enthusiastically.

As for cost, the company will probably end up saving money, she said.

”It does cost a little bit more to use green energy because there’s less demand for it. But we’ve become more conscious about cutting our usage – turning off the computers, turning the dishwasher and microwave off so they're not on standby,” she said.

“Whatever we paid extra I’m sure we’ve now saved because we’re using less of it.”

Businesses had no choice but to start doing things differently to save the environment, she said.

“In business we all want to grow and go forward, but we can’t go on doing business the same way. It’s really important we look at another way of doing things.”

Seal of approval

Environmental expert Paul Klymenko, research director at Planet Ark, was impressed by the lengths Dinosaur Designs had gone to.

“They’re pretty much doing as much as they can, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

He commended the business for offsetting carbon emissions from both personal travel as well as freight. However when it came down to offsets, Planet Ark preferred investing in solar and wind farms as opposed to planting trees, which could take decades to mature and wouldn't necessarily last a long time, Mr Klymenko said.

"The only other thing I can think of is in their jewellery production, some metals can be quite highly polluting in their extraction,” he said.

"That’s beyond their control, but if they haven't already they could look at the downstream impact of some of their raw materials.”

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