Plastic pollution: let’s turn back the tide

Plastic pollution: let’s turn back the tide

People care deeply about our oceans – and removing disposable cups from your business really can make a difference. Aviva is doing it, and so could you…

Plastic pollution is a huge problem, and one which more and more people are becoming keen to address – no doubt in part due to the impact of shows such as Blue Planet. At Aviva, we’ve certainly heard growing numbers of our customers, colleagues and partners speaking up about the issue, and this only increased our resolve to try to make a difference. Plastic pollution is a cause that people are passionate about – and they want to deal with businesses that share their concern.

Nick Amin, Group Chief Operations and IT Officer at Aviva, puts it like this:

“Plastic waste is a problem which, quite literally, hasn’t gone away. Experts predict there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world's oceans by 2050 if we don’t make changes now 1. This issue is crucial to our customers, our employees and the communities we serve.”

Our pledge: eliminate single-use plastics by mid-2019 in the UK

Aviva is committed to getting rid of single-use plastic containers in all our workplaces, and have already made rapid progress towards achieving our pledge. By the end of last year, we managed to eliminate all disposable plastic cups from our UK offices. This process began back in August, with a ‘test and learn’ pilot at two of our sites. Encouraged by a positive response at both venues, we extended the policy to all our sites in the UK, with some amazing results…

We’ve estimated we’ll save: 

7 million cups a year

At least £65,000 in cup and waste cost

Our strict ‘no exceptions’ approach was instrumental in banishing disposable plastic cups. Of course, it’s all too easy to relax the rules, especially when customers or prospective clients come to call. But we found our visitors were very much on board with the initiative and were happy to loan a ‘keep cup’ for their drinks. Their experience also meant they were more likely to remember what we were doing… and to spread the news elsewhere.

This is how we made the initiative work:

Everyone buys regular or large ‘keep cups’ in cafes or brings their own reusable cup

A 20p discount for using own cup in cafés

Token exchange scheme when travelling between offices

Of course, we also worked hard to raise awareness of our plans and to engage all our employees. This included producing a giant recycled-plastic turtle by the name of Shelley, who embarked on a triumphant tour of six of our biggest sites.

Looking further ahead

Following the success of our war against disposable cups, we’re now working with our suppliers to reduce all single-use plastic throughout Aviva’s UK offices. We are truly making a difference in what has become an urgent – and increasingly well supported – mission to turn back the tide of plastic pollution. Join us!

Explore Business perspectives

Your hub for expert insight and knowledge

Featured articles