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Driving Sustainability in our Dublin Office

December 2023 – 2 min read

In this article, Tanya Vutz, Barings’ Associate Director, Corporate Sustainability & ESG, speaks with Alan Behen, Barings’ CEO Ireland about Barings’ goals to reach operational net zero by 2030, and Alan’s work to spearhead several environmental management initiatives in the Dublin office.

Tanya Vutz: In 2020, the Barings Sustainability & ESG team set a firmwide goal to reach operational net zero by 2030. You’ve been supporting on this by championing sustainability initiatives in the Dublin office. Why do you do this?  

Alan Behen: Barings’ Sustainability and ESG team have set ambitious targets around our operational net zero goals and they collaborate with global offices so teammates feel empowered to push for innovative thinking in their own buildings.

My involvement is a result of this collaboration, and also being inspired after seeing the leadership of teammates in London in the EMEA Corporate Properties team who are genuine sustainability champions.

On a personal level, I believe we all have a role to play in creating a healthy working environment that benefits both our teammates and the environment.

“I believe we all have a role to play in creating a healthy working environment that benefits both our teammates and the environment.”

TV: Tell us about the initiatives you implemented?

AB: Over the past year, I’ve led on implementing an environmental management system (EMS) in our office, which was an opportunity for us to enhance the positive impact that we, collectively, have on the environment.

We achieved the highest score in the ISO 14001, an internationally agreed standard that sets out requirements for an EMS. We started by implementing the most obvious first steps that were easily introduced but have a direct positive impact on our ecosystem: establishing dedicated waste and recycling bins, with clear signage and guidance; replacing products in our cleaning process so they are more eco-friendly; reducing single use plastic and communicating the concept of the ISO 14001 accreditation and environmental policy with the Dublin staff.       

TV: What has the impact of this been so far?

AB: We are working through the process of measuring and reporting the impact, which is a goal for next year. However, one qualitative impact is a change in environmental behavior by the staff, which we hope has extended to their home life. I know it has for me: my family and I now actively reduce our energy and water use, recycle and minimize single-use items in our household.

TV: Tell us about the importance of educating the wider team on these initiatives?

AB: Getting team buy-in is so important. As noted above, success is dependent on staff engagement, in us all doing our part together to lead to a change in behavior.

“Success is dependent on us all doing our part to lead to a change in behavior.”

TV: What initiatives have you introduced to support the environment in the communities in which we live and work?  

AB: Earlier this year, we participated in a clothing drive, in support of our charitable partner, Focus Ireland. Everyone in the office donated and six full bags of clothes were received with gratitude.

In addition, Patricia Delahunt, the Co-Champion of our EMS program here in the Dublin office, is currently finalizing our relationship with Leave No Trace Ireland to organize a series of environmental educational impact days/engagement opportunities which include:

  • Learning about the work of Leave No Trace
  • Actively participating in the clean-up of our local environment. This includes picking up litter and identifying local species in biodiversity surveys.  
  • Taking part in Leave No Trace activities to raise awareness and understanding of the principles of Leave No Trace and how to apply them.
TV: What other plans do you have to implement sustainability initiatives in the future?

AB: We intend on building on this momentum to further sustainability in the Dublin office. Future goals include:

  • Introducing plants to the office to aid air quality (and bring some nature indoors)
  • As noted above, arranging environmental volunteering events for the office
  • Measuring, monitoring and managing our waste volumes
  • Engaging the other tenants in our building with shared ideas and shared vendors to reduce our carbon footprint, as well as formalizing a Tenant Green Committee. Along with the other tenants, we’ve also signed off on installing solar panels on our building.

All of us in the Dublin office are looking forward to working together to further this important work over the years to come.

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