In our first CSR blog post we talked about how QualityMinds started with small steps to establish sustainability and how you and your company can start implementing it through small but significant adjustments.
To further encourage you to do so, I would like to share with you what we have done to truly anchor sustainability in the company over the past few years.
The right course must be set
Sustainable changes must be desired and should not represent an obligation. “Doing the right thing” is one of our corporate values and that is exactly why the management at QualityMinds decided in 2020 to align the company more strongly towards sustainability through targeted further training measures for individual employees. I’ve been a TÜV-certified sustainability manager since the end of last year, and my colleague Eva successfully completed a multi-week course on corporate sustainability management at the University of Cambridge.
Our interdisciplinary team of five shows that you don’t have to set up your own CSR department right away. We managed to get the right people around the table and form a working group that reflects the core areas (testing, development and learning) from our company.
Together we developed a strategy that takes into account all “3 pillars of sustainability” (economic, ecological and social) and thereby strengthens sustainability in the company.
Findings from the “Corona year” gave us new ideas
One point from our strategy paper was to measure the company-wide ecological footprint. With the CO2 balancing tool Ecocockpit and a tailor-made survey in the company, we have been able to record a value within our system limits for the second time in a row. Some voices would now say that the “COVID year” 2020 should not really be used for the assessment because this value does not reflect “reality”. But I maintain that it shows us what we are capable of and inspires me to work in the coming years to ensure that we come closer and closer to this value or even fall below it in the future.
What was already clear to us and what the evaluation of the accounting tool also showed is that most of the emissions result from our mobility behavior. Working at the customer’s is certainly not going to be climate-neutral by a long shot, but we’re getting better and better. In 2019 we only had vehicles that ran purely on fossil fuels; 2 years later 30% of our company cars are already electric and 20% have hybrid drives. To make sure that the route between our two German locations: Nuremberg and Munich, could be run smoothly, we recently installed a wall box in our yard.
In addition to climate protection measures, adjustments in consumer behavior are also important to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
More than 50 million tons of electronic waste were generated worldwide in 2019. As an IT service provider, you always ask yourself the question of the right hardware, its runtime and its disposal at the end of its cycle. Finding the balance between performance, runtime and environmental compatibility is not always easy. One way to reduce the amount of e-waste is to extend the life of the hardware in general, because the longer we use a laptop, the fewer natural resources such as rare earths we use. If it doesn’t always have to be the latest device, there is also the option of using refurbished devices. A while ago, QualityMinds decided that new smartphones should only be bought as refurbished devices.
In the future, however, we will not only focus more on how we procure our hardware, but are also working on a concept that includes sustainability in the entire software development process. We develop measures to make our software products greener. We don’t just want to include sustainability in purchasing decisions when it comes to hardware, but also try to attach importance to where our goods come from and how they were produced when it comes to everyday products or events. Organically certified food in our kitchens, sustainably produced shirts and pens made from recycled material or the question of which caterer can provide us with a vegan version of their culinary delicacies at the next event shows us that a rethinking is slowly taking place in the company. That allows us to consciously make sustainable purchasing decisions.
For us, implementing CSR includes two characteristics that we consider very important: volunteer work and participation in projects that we are convinced contribute to climate protection.
In the middle of the year, we took part in the Nuremberg Corporate Volunteering Day “Company Volunteering IN ACTION” and showed over 100 students from the Special Education Center Nuremberg (SFZ) how the online meeting tool Microsoft Teams is used; we answered questions, gave advice and stood by the side. Voluntary work at QualityMinds does not only take place on 1 day a year, but already 12 of our employees volunteer in other areas. From child and youth work in schools, sports clubs or the Red Cross, working in the fishing club or the German Kafka Society to helping for seniors with everyday digital problems or accompanying the patients in a hospice. We value such great commitment and we support this as a company with up to 5 days of paid leave a year.
Journey through time into the future of climate: understanding the effects of our actions with SCIARA
For us as a company, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) means becoming aware of our social and ecological responsibility. In concrete terms it means that we not only keep an eye on the economic success of our business activities, but also on their impact on employees, society and the environment. We therefore want to give part of our success back to them. In addition to donations to selected organizations, we also use some of our labor free of charge so that the vision of a suitable world for the future generations becomes reality. Taking action to combat climate change with the right projects has been important to us for many years. As one of 6 shareholders in SCIARA GmbH, a non-profit organization, we work with passion to build an online simulation in which the journey through time into the climate future can be started in a playful way. To find out more about the SCIARA join venture and our work, simply click on the SCIARA homepage or look forward to our next blog post, which will be published shortly and will give you an insight into our work in the project.
Sustainability has picked up speed at QualityMinds and is slowly establishing itself throughout the company. With a good strategy in sustainability management, we have set the course for this and we were able to tell you these success stories today thanks to the help of every single employee.
So stay tuned and keep following us!