Perseverance Works has strives to be a green oasis in the heart of Shoreditch, and it’s about more than just the willow tree! Our site is run with sustainability in mind. And our tenants, too, are committed to a more sustainable future, working to make green energy more attractive, creating jewellery from recycled gold and even protecting bees! Here’s a snapshot of the environmental efforts of our community over the last few years.
Atelier Ten’s Martin Dilley Secured Funding to Protect Local Bees
Every year, staff at Atelier 10 are invited to pitch to the Atelier Ten Foundation, which donates part of its annual profits to charitable endeavours. Environmental design specialists committed to building a greener planet, the company has supported the provision of clean water with WaterAid in Mozambique, and photovoltaics in the Himalayas so schoolchildren can see in the classroom. ‘Most things that have put forward have been for people. I had to work hard to get my proposal through because it was for bees, rather than people,’ Martin Dilley, Associate Director (IT) told Works Post.
From natural dangers including Foul Brood disease, which has wiped out colonies in the US and Europe, to the devastating Varroa mite and wasps, which take over beehives to steal their honey, our bees are under threat. Add to that the impact of man-made pesticides and the destruction of their natural feeding grounds – ‘more than 90% of wildflower fields have disappeared since World War II and are being used instead for agriculture,’ Martin explains. These dangers have had an enormously damaging impact on the world’s bee population: a third of the UK’s bees have disappeared in the last ten years and almost a quarter of Europe’s bumblebees are threatened with extinction.
Part of the funding was ringfenced to get Atelier Ten staff members to his Norfolk home to learn about bees and beekeeping. ‘But because we’re an environmental and sustainable engineering company, I’ll also speak to our clients to ask if they might incorporate beehives into their building design. If they agree, I’ll train them in how to look after the bees,’ he added. Funds have also been used to buy beehives and ancillary equipment, colonies, protective equipment for visitors, and to fund Martin’s training at his local beekeeping association: ‘There’s only so much you can learn from a book and YouTube!’
We proved our tap water is as good as the bottled stuff!
In late 2019, Professor Darren Reynolds and Dr Gillian Clayton from the Centre of Research in Biosciences at the University of the West of England visited Perseverance Works to test the quality of our tap water.
The water hardness, microbiological, chemical and metallic quality of the water were analysed by the lab, and the fantastic results were released in 2020. Not only was our water shown to adhere to UK drinking water standards, but it is also comparable to samples from leading bottled water brands Evian and Smartwater, proving there is no need to bring bottled water onsite!
Further details can be viewed in the full report: The Perseverance Works Water Report
Justified Studio used clever design to make green energy more attractive
Earlier this year, Works Post caught up with Justified Studio’s Josh Ogden to discuss the company’s work in strategy, brand design and digital design, discovering that the company has a particular track record of working with companies in the green and sustainability space (not least because its first retained client was none other than the United Nations!).
One of Justified Studio’s earliest clients was a Swedish energy company. Josh told Works Post: ‘Green energy and solar panels were so boring, especially in Sweden, where it was a photo of a solar panel in a nice field and big equipment on the roof. To get young people excited about green energy it needs to feel like tech, like Apple, like an exciting and forward-thinking space. We took that approach to the green energy sector. It got loads of press and off the back of that we got a lot of work in that space.’
Fast-forward to 2021 and COP26. Justified Studio worked with a 22-year old climate activist and founder of Force of Nature, a firm that empowers Gen-Z to face up to the climate crisis. Force of Nature had coined the term ‘eco anxiety’ to describe the overwhelming unease felt by many young people in the face of a daunting (and pressing) climate emergency.
‘The idea is that everyone is anxious and confused and doesn’t know what the future holds, but if we start to talk about it then… well, it’s like every other mental health problem: communication first, and find communities that help you talk about it,’ Josh says.
In response, the studio came up with a digital platform to help people voice their eco anxieties. This led to pop-up phonebooths at COP26, capturing conversations around climate and converting them to action.
Michelle Oh told us about sourcing recycled gold and platinum in her timeless jewellery
Established in 2011, Michelle Oh Jewellery – one of PW’s newest tenants – designs one-of-a-kind jewellery alongside a small ready-to-wear collection. The business only uses recycled gold and platinum, sourced by refiners in Birmingham from industries including healthcare and watchmaking. ‘It’s getting more and more common. The consumer really prefers to have something made from recycled metal. It’s definitely a trend in the industry,’ Michelle told Works Post.
The company’s most popular product is the bespoke engagement ring. Though couples once favoured the traditional, single-diamond engagement ring, they are now gravitating towards colour, often picking coloured gemstones like sapphires. Michelle describes her designs as timeless, drawing on historic and contemporary design elements to create pieces that stand the test of time. ‘It’s one of the most sustainable parts of the fashion industry because of how precious the components are. There’s nothing you’d ever throw away; even if you made a ring now and got bored of the design, you can dismantle it and re-use all the components to make something totally different,’ Michelle said.
Paper Round helped us to improve our recycling
In 2020, we recorded a 7% increase in recycling at Perseverance Works and to help us make that figure rise further, Paper Round made a handy video explaining exactly what happens to our rubbish once it arrives at the recycling plant. And it seems are collective efforts are paying off; in April this year, we were given an Award for Recycling having saved 20,003kg of CO2 and 105 trees over the last twelve months!
They also shared their top tips for recycling, included here as a reminder to tenants that if we work together we can do even better!
Top tips from Paper Round:
- keep bottle lids on the bottles
- collect your shredded paper separately
- recycle coffee cups separately (due to their plastic content)
- make sure everything is clean and dry
- only include target materials to avoid contamination
- spread the word!