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jasper's sustainability round-up

Jasper is our office superman. That means he does all of the tricky practical jobs that crop up around Fruit Towers and generally keeps everything ship shape. Since the start of the year, he’s been working on a project to make the office as sustainable as it can possibly be. We thought some of his successes were worth shouting about, so here are a few of the highlights:

 

The gas we use to power the boilers will soon be super green and we will be using 100% biogas from 1 August. This is a major win as most gas contracts only offer a 10% biogas rate. The biomethane we will be using is generated from smelly stuff like organic matter and manure. However, it is essentially scrubbed and cleaned before being put back into the national grid so don’t worry - we won’t have any farm smells coming from our boilers just yet.

From 1 August we will also start a new electricity contract and will be able to choose exactly which renewable suppliers give us our energy, be it a wind turbine in the Quantocks or a hydroplant in Wales. The 100% renewable energy we use can therefore be tracked and we can even create an energy trail, working out exactly how far our electricity has travelled to get to us.

From the beginning of May we will have LED lighting in the front and back staircases and the loos. This is one of the most ecological systems we can use and reduces our energy use and costs.

We’ve replaced our courier service with Green Couriers, a sustainable and ultra-green company. All of the bright green vehicles that Green Courier use are at the very least low-emission, but will often be ultra-low emission hybrids and 100% electric vehicles.

The Bugrassi Veyron, our new little grassy van, is running on the latest Euro 6 engine with significantly reduced emissions. We are working on the rest.

 

We have been working with the Goldfinger Factory, a community furniture workshop based underneath the Trellick Tower (just down the road from Fruit Towers) that have been recently involved with designing a range with Tom Dixon. Jasper has been using them to reuse and up-cycle old furniture, our old benches went to a vocational school in Fulham and they built our second Big Knit crate out of re-used plywood.

Our waste collections are now managed by First Mile, a company with the capacity to recycle 99% of our office waste. They have been turning our food waste and compost into renewable energy and fertiliser and taking our mixed recycling to a state of the art facility in Bow where it is then sorted and sent on to be turned into brand new shiny things. Even our general waste is sorted and then incinerated to produce energy and heat. Nothing goes to landfill so we are leaving no trace behind us.

 

Additionally they have the ability to send us reports letting us know our exact recycling rate, how many tonnes of CO2 we have saved and even how many trees we have saved through our recycling efforts. They are currently also doing magical things like turning our coffee grounds into biomass pellets and briquettes.

 

Some of our new chairs are made by a company called Solidwool. Each chair is made from the sustainably produced wool of one Herdwick Sheep and is combined with a bio-resin made of 30% renewable content. Solidwool have pioneered a material that champions the beauty of British wool, unfortunately a product with barely any demand. By combining the wool with wood from Somerset and fabricating the chairs in their Devon workshop they have created a truly British product which also just happens to look rather nice in our meeting rooms.

Jasper has definitely been keeping our office green, and he assures us he has even more sustainable plans up his banana covered sleeve for the future. Cheers, Jasper. For this, and for agreeing to climb into a bin for a photo opportunity.

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someone's watching us

Here in Fruit Towers there’s an argument, mostly made by people who sit on the fourth floor, that the fourth floor is the best. They’ll also argue that the best seats in the entire building are on the corner desk next to the big window. This is the view from the big window.

Granted, on a grey day like this it's not the best, but in the summer it's something else. The blue skies, the sunshine, the people having fun on the canal, and let's forget the regular duckling sightings. Yep, in the summer there’s definitely a case to be made for it being the best seat in the building. If anyone sat there gets stuck on a problem they can just turn and look outside at the view for a few minutes to think it through.

But recently we’ve noticed something from this window to bring its status down a tad. Something odd. For you see, there under the converted water tower, we think someone’s watching us.

Someone’s there, peeking out from behind the pipes. Either that or our brains are taking the parts that no doubt make up the plumbing system of the flats above and twisting them into the shape of a person.  And yet, every time we look outside, for half a second we see a person looking back.

From our side, seeing the outline of someone staring back is only the start of our worries. We're more concerned that one day we’ll look outside and it'll be gone.

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the secret messages of Fruit Towers

When we went up to the roof the other day, we found a secret message next to a ladder on the fifth floor.

There was only one thing for it. Immediately stop all the work we were doing and go looking for the rest of them. After all, why would somebody go to such lengths if they didn't want us to stop working and find them?

The next one we discovered was on the underside of the cereal box lid. We suspect this is supposed to be secret message number 14 but that the '1' has, at some point, fallen off into somebody's breakfast.

Next, on the stairs, message number 9. 

We found number 6 on one of the lights above the kitchen.

And number three was, frankly, poorly hidden on the side of a table in a floor five meeting room.

Back down on the ground floor we found the first one and, as fate would have it, this is the last one we could find. Partially because the others are too well hidden but mostly because we'd been looking for them for two hours and it was time to get back to work. 

You are welcome, as always, to come into Fruit Towers to look for the hidden messages. But only if you tell us if you find any that we haven't.

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the innocent agm 2015

A long time ago we held our first AGM*. It went well. People came to see us, they had some free smoothies and we all became friends. So we held another one, and another after that. Things went on like this until our last AGM in 2011. Then, for a few years, we were too busy (we could hardly invite people round when we didn’t have time to tidy up beforehand). This year however we decided it was time to do our best Moloko impression and bring it back.

So, on 10th October, we invited loads of you into fruit towers to find out what we look like, who we are and why we do what we do. We were scared. It had been so long since the last one. Would anyone actually turn up? If they did, would the enjoy themselves? How were we going to hide the three years of accumulative mess inside fruit towers? Turns out the answers were yes, yes and ‘with a LOT of help’.

There were talks from Dan (who’s ultimately responsible for all the important stuff like how we look and sound), one of our original founders, Rich, explained how we got started way back in 1999 (from a hangover, apparently. Makes sense) and our CEO Douglas told everybody about the amazing work of the innocent foundation.

We had tasting sessions (including a couple of brand new recipes) and, in an idea that definitely wasn’t based on a popular BBC TV series, we held a Great British Blend Off. Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry were judges and we even have pictures to prove it. It’s definitely not just Emma and Nick dressed up in frighteningly realistic costumes. 

Even the fourth floor stapler was there although, obviously, not actually on the fourth floor.

We had a great day, everybody who came along seemed to enjoy themselves too (or they were just being polite when they told us they had a nice time) and we very much doubt there’ll be another three year gap. We’ll see you next year. 

 

*annual grown-up meeting

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