An intellectual property firm in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth
Founded over 60 years ago, FB Rice is a leading Australian intellectual property firm assisting businesses with patents, trademarks, and a range of intellectual property protection actions. Consultants come from a range of disciplines so the company can provide technical and strategic advice in biotechnology, chemistry, engineering, medical technology, pharmaceuticals and IT.
Reasons for greening the company
FB Rice wants to show leadership in environmental accountability. COO, Julian Perry, is a champion for sustainability. Both he and Managing Partner, Brett Lunn, are keen to achieve a greener, more energy efficient workplace.
Goals and challenges:
- Lead the business community in environmental initiatives
- Reach the company goal of carbon neutrality
- Find cost savings through reducing energy, waste, and other eco-driven initiatives
- Understand the impact of the carbon price* on the business’ bottom line
* FB Rice commissioned Pangolin Associates’ Carbon Strategy and Risk Report in late 2011 to understand the impact of the carbon tax, which began in July 2012 and was subsequently discontinued in February 2015. The purpose of the report at the time was to help the company understand and prepare for the financial impact of Australia’s price on carbon.
- Undertake energy audits of the Sydney office
- Undertake comprehensive greenhouse gas assessments
- Educate staff and drive viable sustainability behavioural changes
- Implement office procedure changes to reduce FB Rice’s carbon footprint
- Offset greenhouse gas emissions that FB Rice cannot eliminate
- Promote eco-friendly action in the industry
Energy audit: In 2009 the company completed an energy efficiency audit of the Sydney office (for FY 2007/2008). Following the audit and resulting report, FB Rice took action, including:
- Switching from halogen down-lighting to long lasting, energy efficient LEDs.
- Reducing computer hardware requirements through server virtualisation.
- Introducing ‘lights off’ in meeting rooms when not in use. This is a manual process introduced for meeting room users, and overseen by receptionists in both offices.
Since energy reporting began in FY 2007/2008, FB Rice has achieved an overall reduction of 9% in power. This equates to a 9% reduction in carbon emissions from electricity use.
Greenhouse gas assessments: FB Rice has undertaken GHG assessments since FY 2007/2008 to track progress annually. The company is committed to monitoring their greenhouse gas emissions into the future.
Education: staff actions and behavioural changes:
- Travel to work: FB Rice encourages staff to walk, cycle or run to work. The company provides bike lockers for employees, as well as shower facilities.
- Footprint education: The company provides education about greenhouse gases (GHG) and FB Rice’s carbon footprint. Employees receive regular email communications about reducing emissions. Emails also include carbon footprint reports from Pangolin Associates.
Office procedures: Recycling: FB Rice began separation of office waste to assist recycling of toner cartridges and other recyclable consumables. Paper usage: FB Rice implemented several eco-friendly, paper-saving procedures, including:
- Selecting paper and suppliers on environmentally driven criteria
- Setting printers to default to duplex
- Purchasing energy efficient printers
- Introducing ‘FollowMe’ printing to eliminate printing in error, and prevent uncollected print jobs
- Implementing an email communication policy, paper based communication is upon client request only
- Encouraging staff to maintain soft copy files (all HR and accounting files are now soft form)
Offsetting greenhouse gas emissions with carbon credits
FB Rice offsets emissions not eliminated through energy reductions and energy efficiencies. Pangolin purchases and manages verified carbon standard (VCS) credits on behalf of the firm.
FB Rice promotes eco-friendly business practice industry-wide. They have joined the Australian Legal Sector Alliance (AusLSA) and actively participate. This includes contributing to the 2010 / 2011 report on the environmental consumption of members. The report is filed as document 1561681.
AusLSA aims to develop best practice sustainability guidelines for the legal sector. The organisation helps firms achieve measurable environmental targets. AusLSA is based on the UK Legal Sector Alliance, which has 30% of all lawyers in private practice in England and Wales as members.
“At FB Rice we have long been aware that carbon pricing is to come into effect in 2012. However it was the Pangolin Report that finally gave us a clear understanding of the potential impact on our business. The report also gives us clear guidelines into how the firm can prepare for the approaching changes and we look forward to continuing to work with Pangolin Associates to reduce our carbon footprint and complete our journey to carbon neutrality.” — Dr. Brett Lunn, Managing Partner