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June 2019
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Going green - with rage

 

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Executive Hire News › Archives › June 2019 › In the Spirit of Crosshire : Going green - with rage

In the Spirit of Crosshire : Going green - with rage

While Rental Rate Roy is aware of environmental challenges, he despairs about the lack of commitment shown by other organisations.

At every turn we either read or see another story that the current incumbents of the planet are speedily destroying it for future generations. Global warming is an issue for us all, as is the depletion of the Earth’s natural resources and the proliferation of single-use plastics that either end up in landfill, or the sea or the food chain.

Like you, I have concerns in this respect, but would willingly see this flouted were someone to burn down the Houses of Parliament with all of our treacherous Members of Parliament in it. As I was recently told, Guy Fawkes was the last honest person to step into said building! However, my latest missive is not about our political masters, but on our educational elite.

As I have previously admitted, I was largely an uninterested bystander during my school years, which perhaps makes me eminently qualified to be in the hire industry. How so? Well, our profession is full of excellent individuals who solve customers’ problems, whether related to time, safety or money. However, what about environmental ones?

Currently the price of certain equipment is rising exponentially due to the ever-changing engine emission targets that need to be met. Tier 4, Tier 5, Tier 573… it goes on and on, and it has the direct results of causing tears of despair to roll down my cheeks from the numerous price increases which we struggle to pass on to our ever-demanding clients.

What has this to do with education? Well, my little ‘Mom & Pop’ hire shop is in an area with a university. It used to be a polytechnic, but in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience it changed its status. It’s akin to putting fake stone cladding on an ex-council house: it looks nice - but it’s still an ex-council house. Now, before I start receiving hate mail, I come from a council estate and I am proud of my heritage – and, ergo, proud of the people I grew up with: hard-grafting working class folk who, by and large, enjoyed good, old fashioned common sense. Something the educational elite seem to lack.

Our salesman recently visited the university campus to ply his wares, only to see extensive works both large and small under way. However, this was being undertaken almost exclusively by national construction companies, who, in turn are hiring machinery from national chains - all of which are travelling some distance to the site. As we are a small independent, we don’t get a look-in. It is almost impossible for us to be considered, as the big boys want to have national coverage.

However, what about the impact this has on the environment? And what of the university’s carbon footprint? As we are only a few miles from the campus, surely we would have the smallest footprint? Surely we would be the most cost-effective and also offer the fastest turnaround? To test my theory, I wrote to the Director of Facilities and Estates, highlighting that I felt the university had a duty of care to the environment to place a certain percentage of its business with local suppliers, as well as to encourage their main contractors to do likewise. In one fell swoop they could be championed for re-investing in the local economy, helping to sustain local jobs and also positively impacting on their carbon footprint for local and global benefit.

I didn’t get a direct response. I did, however, receive a terse e-mail from the Director’s secretary that did all but say, “How dare a strategically-shaven chimp such as you question the educational elite?” In short, the only meaningful response given was for us to look at the European Union Tender programme to see what up-and-coming business was available for us to bid for, but there was no way that they would offer any form of commitment to the local economy whatsoever. Therefore, I can guarantee that the level of commitment from the university to addressing its carbon footprint and the environment is almost non-existent. Even their window cleaning contract is undertaken by a company that travels 100 miles to do the work.
 
So, where do we go from here? Would it not be better if local government and big business made a commitment to procuring a certain percentage of purchasing to their local areas? But hey, what do I know: I’m just some strategically shaven chimp. So pass me a banana. Preferably not a green one, though.

Rental Rate Roy
     
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