Greener access control and visitor management




I’ve always been passionate about the environment and read widely on the subject. It’s one reason among many that my diet is plant-based, as is Karen’s - my wife and business partner. So, we are very conscious about the environmental impact we can have – both from how our business is run, to the influence we have on our clients’ green credentials.


But it isn’t easy. Making progress on environmental issues at work whilst dealing with company growth, client needs and all the admin that goes with it, is tricky. Given the urgency of the climate emergency, I feel it should be easier – so If anyone can share good resources to help my business go greener, then let me know.


As a family run business though, it’s easier to bring personal crusades around positive change into our workplace. And every business can make a difference – even one focused on access control and visitor management systems!

In our head office in Tring, Hertfordshire, we’ve managed to implement several positive changes:

In the office:

· We have radically cut down on paper usage after we decommissioned our colour printer and encouraged the use of Microsoft cloud doc sharing

· All paper rubbish, when created, is collected, shredded and then composted

· PC’s and other equipment are switched to low energy use when out of the office

· Our lights are motion-sensitive

· Our second office in London uses communal space, saving a long commute for our London-based team as well as sharing services with other like-minded businesses

· Members of our team can work from home flexibly

And for our clients we already contribute to their environmental impact:

Client servicing:

· We have significantly reduced our number of site visits by using remote support systems like TeamViewer and the telephone!

· We are committed to moving our company vehicles to fully electric cars by end of December 2021

· We now install low energy magnetic locks to access control doors at all sites (unless requested otherwise), saving £000’s in energy across the country

· Our data storage solution is powered by renewable energy

Of course, our product has its own impact, not least the servers we use to house our software and run client Visitor Management systems. That’s one reason why we are moving to the Microsoft Azure platform, to guarantee a robust carbon offsetting programme which we know is being followed through on.

Product impact – including going paperless:

· Semieta Visitor is an electronic visitor management system and often it replaces paper-based sign-in books

· Many clients have managed visitors and contractors using cumbersome spreadsheets and print-offs, and our system does away with that unnecessary paperwork and potential for confusion

· We encourage the use of re-printable plastic cards and are always looking out for more environmentally friendly access control products and consumables

· Semieta Access Control prides itself on being hardware agnostic, which means we can install our software without necessarily having to remove existing hardware. For one client managing a large multi-tenanted office in London, we were able to integrate with all 9 existing different card formats being used in the same building – saving thousands of pounds and preventing the wastage of thousands of existing plastic cards


But there is more we need to do. As a growing and maturing business, its increasingly important that we take on board responsibility for our own environmental impact and the sustainability of the business and our clients’ business. We will need to run a more formal environmental impact assessment, and have already consulted a number of resources to start down that road:


https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/make-a-green-claim/make-an-environmental-claim-for-your-product-service-or-organisation


https://www.carbontrust.com/client-services/advice/business-advice/


https://startups.co.uk/how-to-create-an-environmental-policy-statement/


In the meantime, we support the World Land Trust Scheme by donating to the ‘Buy an Acre’ project.

World Land Trust is an international conservation charity, which protects the world’s most biologically important and threatened habitats with more than 774,000 acres saved to date.

https://www.worldlandtrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/WLT_Buy-an-Acre_PB_web.pdf


If you are trying to ‘go greener’ and have experienced what we are trying to do, then let me know. We be delighted if you could share resources, tips and contacts that will help us address climate change and the sustainability of our business.

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