During this challenging moment in history, Hampton Jones has been taking some time to work on our sustainability action plan and look for the positive side to the pandemic, writes Hampton Jones sustainability champion Marsha Valenta.
Our team has been enjoying long strolls around their neighbourhoods; discovering new corners and meeting neighbours we’ve never seen before. We’ve discovered that connecting with nature is nourishing for body and soul and even our Netflix addicts are seeing their daily walks as a welcome change of scenery. While the motto is ‘stay at home and stay in your bubble’, we’ve noticed that everyone is getting outside on a more regular basis than they usually would in autumn. Surely this must help spark or reconnect people’s love for the natural environment and inspire an interest to help preserve it?
From a food perspective, a positive effect of this pandemic is the fresh meals we have been preparing on a daily basis. These not only have an immediate impact on our wellbeing, but they also have a positive impact on our environment. The big takeaway chains usually source cheap products lacking in nutritional value from overseas, so without them it’s been in our hands to select fresh, locally grown produce and support local businesses instead. We might even see those local businesses thrive in the future as a consequence of our new buying habits. The increased demand for local produce also sees a reduction in CO² emissions due to shorter travel distances for suppliers and with our rediscovered love for fresh homemade goods, the need to import pre-packed foods may hopefully reduce in future.
Another positive contributing factor to reduced CO² emissions during lockdown is the drastic increase in people working from home and subsequently less cars on the roads. While working from home was new to many, Hampton Jones implemented procedures to allow staff to work remotely some time ago, but as the majority of New Zealand businesses have now been forced to trial remote working, now many others have also been able to experience the benefits this brings. On a personal level, while I do work from home on a regular basis, no commute ever has meant more time for me to spend with my loved ones and time to focus on my hobbies.
I think that the lockdown has given us an opportunity to give permanent remote working options a big push for everyone, and my hope is that remote working may become our new normal. This could take a big chunk of traffic of the roads, and by potentially using staggered office hours or days, some of us might only physically need to go into an office once or twice a week. The lockdown has forced many employers to utilise remote working due to necessity, but I hope that it’s also led to the discovery of associated benefits for their business, their employees and the environment.
So, while the main beneficiary of COVID-19 seems to be the planet, ultimately humanity will also benefit immensely.
View of the Weiti River From the Author’s Home