The joys and plights in the transition towards a more sustainable workplace and culture

Sustainability is high on the agenda of global governments, and in response to the climate crisis, individuals are self-educating to guide choices in what they buy, how they move, and what they consume. But this evolution in thinking is yet to reach the workplace.

Illustration by Kris Sauerbrey

We cannot act upon what we cannot measure.

To understand our behaviour better, we tracked how we commuted, our waste and consumption of electricity, water and paper over the period of one month in our FJORD studio in Berlin.

Water consumption

Our studio uses 36,000 litres of water in just one month — since the average German office worker uses between 500 and 1,200 litres every month, this puts us somewhere in-between at 700 litres. To make this more relatable, we can consider this to be the equivalent to 116 bathtubs.

Paper consumption

Our work typically requires the use of post-its, but every month we use over 5,000 of them. However, we actually score well below the average in our daily paper use — we individually consume 0.6kg on average, in comparison to the average German office worker at 20kg. If we were to weigh our paper consumption, we would reach almost half a tonne within one year. That’s roughly equal to 24 ten metre trees.

Waste production

We accumulate on average 112 trash bags every four weeks. That’s around 204 litres per person. With this, we could fill four 3-cubic meter industrial waste containers every month.

Commute

Within one month, we create 300kg of CO2 emissions (based on 35 employees tracked) through our commute to work. That’s the equivalent to the amount of CO2 one human exhales in one year, 42,750 Google searches, or the production of 64,5 kg poultry which roughly equals 1,5kg chickens.

Infographics by Karo Lasik

The Sustainable Workplace Platform

Our findings inspired us to develop a prototype of a platform where organisations can begin to track their consumption data, measure themselves against the community, and actively share ideas and solutions to improve sustainability within the workplace.

Our prototyped solution for an open source sustainability platform for organisations
Concept by Pelle Dwertmann
Photography by Bela Lehrnickel from the Berlin Design Week

A visual designer, thinker and dreamer, currently residing in Berlin and working at the Design and Innovation Consultancy FJORD