Silly season turned sustainable

Written by Neisha Glen - January 9, 2020

Reflecting on things that I’ve accomplished, or am proud of, is something I like to do at the start of every New Year. So I thought, why not reflect on the things we accomplished at Wholegrain Digital in the last month of the decade? I’m Neisha, People and Office Manager at Wholegrain Digital, and I’m going to tell you about how we turned this year’s festive season even more sustainable.

Mindful Chef Reverse Advent Calendar

On the 18th of October, Mindful Chef, a fellow B Corp, approached us to get involved in a really great initiative to give back during the festive period: The “reverse advent calendar.”

The idea is that, rather than receiving something every day of advent, they encourage people to give something instead. Mindful Chef facilitated an initiative that allows people to donate food to those in need – especially as there is a sharp increase in demand for emergency food at this time of the year.

Last year they ran the same scheme and, following its success, brought it back for 2019. Their aim this year was to have 5,000 boxes filled, which equates to roughly 100,000 items of food for those in need.

How it works:

  • Mindful Chef deliver your nominated number of boxes during the last week of November
  • Every day up to the 20th of December, a non-perishable food item is added to your empty Mindful Chef box
  • The box is returned to Mindful Chef for free on Friday 20th December
  • The rest is left to Mindful Chef who top up the items in your box (to reach 25 in total), then donate the food to those in need via local charity partners.

It’s as simple as that!

So how did we get involved?

We decided that we would donate 2 boxes. Quite a few team members got involved and brought in a few items each. We put our own twist on the reverse advent calendar and chose to donate only plant based items, so as to be as sustainable as possible.

A few plant based pantry essentials we included were rice, pasta, lentils and canned veggies to be able to make a nutritious meal. Everyone at Wholegrain is looking forward to participating again in 2020.

#iaintbuyinit: The campaign from our friends at Manifesto

Each year at Wholegrain Digital, we do the standard Secret Santa to get ourselves into the festive spirit. This year, instead of buying “that mug with your colleague’s initials on it” or “the last crumpled box of supermarket chocolates”, we opted to participate in our friends at Manifesto’s #iaintbuyingit campaign.

The idea behind #iaintbuyingit is to make Christmas less about presents and more about presence, by promoting less consumerism and more quality time with each other. If the idea of unwanted presents isn’t enough to deter you from Secret Santa, then maybe this shocking statistic will. Last Christmas, an estimated 125,000 tonnes of plastic waste came out of Santa’s sack and straight to landfill.

With sustainability at the forefront of what we do at Wholegrain Digital, we decided that instead of buying presents for our Secret Santa this year, we would donate to a charity instead, giving those in real need a better Christmas. Everyone selected a charity that resonated with them and added it to the wishlist for Santa and on the day of our Christmas party, Santa gave the gift of giving instead.

One example of what Santa gifted were some trees that were planted in the Wholegrain Digital Trees for Life Grove. These were then matched by Wholegrain, which doubled the amount of trees planted.

Finishing the year with our Vegan Christmas dinner

Each year we choose a vegan restaurant so we can do our bit as a company and opt for a more conscious and carbon friendly festive meal. With an ethos that is “rooted firmly in caring for the planet, its animals, and ourselves”, Redemption Bar in Covent Garden was the perfect choice for our Christmas meal.

Our team of 13 headed out for a lovely quiet, vegan Christmas dinner, filled with delicious alcohol free cocktails and a tasty festive menu featuring vegan cheese platters and raw desserts. Vineeta, one of our, Directors thought that “the restaurant was cozy and the service was personal.” Josh, our resident dessert lover, thought that the “cakes were delicious!” It was a nice way to end our year the same way we work throughout it, sustainably and together!

Ending a decade and carrying forward our sustainable practices

These are just some of the ways we tried to have a more sustainable festive period. If you are looking at ways to make small changes in your business or even your life around the holidays, then hopefully this will give you some ideas. For more small changes you can make throughout the year, take a look at our MD Tom’s article on Carbon Synching and our Climate Perks article on green travel.