Horwich Farrelly, leading specialist insurance law firm, is sending two colleagues to Central America after setting its 750 employees a unique challenge to come up with creative ways to beat plastic pollution. Litigation Executive, Joanne Brehaut, and Legal Support Team Administrator, Briony Martin, will shortly be travelling to Belize to learn more about ecology and the damage plastics are causing to oceans and wildlife, after impressing a panel of judges with their innovative approaches to reducing their household plastic consumption.
In June, Horwich Farrelly made a pledge to eliminate single-use plastics across the firm by 2020. And to launch the initiative a month-long competition was set challenging its people to improve their own sustainability.
The competition was recently judged by Thomas Reynard, Chief Operating Officer at Horwich Farrelly, Wendy Mitchell from B&M Waste, and Kate Hadfield from sustainable design agency, Carbon Creative. The panel were impressed by the level of employee engagement right across the firm, as well as the quality of the entries, which included original poetry, collages made from discarded stationery and an advertising campaign. However, the judges unanimously selected submissions from two colleagues based at the firm’s Manchester headquarters to win the all-expenses paid trip to Belize.
In her excellent and thought-provoking blog, The Fortnight Challenge, Briony Martin documented a new way of dealing with plastic every day over a two week period. This included upcycling containers into plant pots and bird feeders, and chopping up meat and veg trays, which are notoriously difficult to recycle, to create pellets to improve soil drainage. The judges felt Briony’s blog ‘demonstrated fantastic levels of innovation and creativity.
Joanne’s short film Plastic Pollution Project explored simple ways her household was able to reduce plastic waste. Her strategy included buying unwrapped vegetables at the greengrocer’s, swapping bottled toiletries for shampoo and conditioner bars, and even roping in her mum to make her own reusable bin liners. Judges were impressed with how simple changes to her daily routine, such as combining her daily dog walk with collecting litter in her local area, had a real impact on cleaning up her local community.
Joanne and Briony will travel to Belize in the autumn where they will be able to learn more about ecology, water conservation and see at first hand the harm plastic is doing to our oceans and sea life. Living in a simple beach camp, they will also have the opportunity to snorkel daily as well as delivering education to local communities and taking part in beach clean ups.
Thomas Reynard, Chief Operating Officer at Horwich Farrelly, commented: “As a firm we’re already making great progress when it comes to our pledge to eliminate single-use plastics by 2020. For example, by giving all our people a reusable water bottle we’ve reduced the need for an estimated 100,000 single-use plastic cups each year. This competition takes things even further, enabling us to engage with our people on the important topic of reducing plastic use and beating plastic pollution in a fun and creative way.
“I would like to thank the other judges for supporting this initiative. We were all overwhelmed by the response, with so many creative ideas and entries from colleagues across the business. Briony and Joanne are more than worthy winners and we look forward to waving them off later this year, for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in conservation efforts on the beaches of Belize. At the end of their trip, I’m sure they’ll return to the firm bursting with advice on what we can all do to continue to reduce our plastic usage.”
Joanne said: “I am very passionate about reducing our impact on the environment and animal welfare so I really wanted to do something that would leave a lasting impression and hopefully inspire others to make simple changes, which is why I came up with easy ways to reduce your impact that anyone could adapt to. I am looking forward to meeting some really inspiring people both at the camp and locals from the area.”
Briony added: “I’m hoping I’ll be able to see and learn about as many species as possible whilst also helping to document and protect them. I did my degree in Zoology and really care about the environment so this is such an exciting trip for me”