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Case study

Mills Office Productivity

Overall Impact:

  • 32% reduction in emissions/$1M revenue
  • 51% reduction in paper use
  • 22% increase use of alt. fuels

Solutions

  • Electronic invoicing
  • Partnering with Shift Delivery
  • Propane vehicles
  • Electric vehicles and truck

Benefits

  • Client engagement
  • Staff engagement
  • Carbon neutral deliveries

 
Mills Office Productivity (“Mills”) is a B.C.-based dealer of business supplies and educational products. At Mills, environmental leadership is a priority and a long-standing tradition. By working closely with their family of customers, employees and suppliers, the company brings to life a vision of environmental responsibility and care that encourages and supports sustainable practices in office productivity. Mills’ social responsibility management practices are based on the principle that businesses have an important role to play in addressing the social interests and sustainable development goals of their community.

Mills first measured its greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint with Climate Smart in 2007 and has completed six emissions inventories since then. Since 2007, Mills has taken concrete steps towards reducing emissions, while growing in revenue by 63%. Overall, Mills has achieved an intensity reduction of 10.05 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, or 32% per ten million revenue dollars.

Fleet Initiatives:

Perhaps not surprisingly, Mills’ largest source of GHG emissions is the delivery of its products to its customers. The company has tackled this challenge with a number of initiatives, which helped it increase its revenue by 63% while only increasing transportation related emissions by 21%.

Mills partnered with Eco Options Energy Cooperative to convert two diesel vehicles to propane. These conversions helped reduce fuel expenses. Mills also invested in an electric truck to replace a diesel model. For delivery within the City of Vancouver, Mills partnered with Shift Delivery, a cargo tricycle delivery service that offers fuel-free transport of goods. This partnership has helped Mills reduce GHG emissions while growing.

Mills also partnered with Recycling Alternative, another Climate Smart-certified business, to offer Smart Driver training (a past program of Natural Resources Canada) to its drivers. Smart Driver training emphasizes safe and efficient driving. Michelle Reid, Sustainability Czar at Mills said: “The Smart Driver training was positive in so many ways. It was an excellent team-building activity, and it was great to learn from the drivers and see how much expertise they have. It was also great for drivers to see how important their roles are within the company.”

Mills has moved away from its old practice of supplying every employee with a company car, to providing cars only to certain sales reps. As most business travel occurs within the city, most company cars are fuel efficient Smart Cars – well suited to urban driving and parking.

Paper Consumption:

The accounts team at Mills has made a big push towards engaging customers to move away from printed materials like invoices and packing slips. This initiative has both helped strengthen customer relations, and reduce paper use. In 2016, Mills experienced a 2.80-tonne, or 51%, reduction in emissions associated with paper consumption.

Setting Concrete Targets:

In support of stronger action on climate change, Mills signed onto the Vancouver Economic Commission’s “Vancouver Climate Pledge.” To do its part, Mills embarked on a journey to set emissions reduction targets that are attainable, meaningful and relevant to its industry. Through UBC and the VEC’s Greenest City Scholar Program, Mills worked with a UBC student who helped the company come up with 2, 5 and 10-year reduction targets.

B Corp Status:
Mills has been a certified B Corp since 2012. Being a B Corp has given Mills a sustainability road map – highlighting areas that require improvement. Mills uses this road map, along with Climate Smart certification, to determine the goals for the next two to three year period. As part of the B Corp community and as a supplier of various goods, Mills has also started the process of examining its supply chain. While there is no national supplier code of conduct, Mills has taken the opportunity to engage its major suppliers and have them undergo the B Lab Assessment. Mills was the only Canadian company that participated in the B Lab Supply Chain Cohort, which included industry greats Seventh Generation and Ben & Jerry’s. The purpose of this cohort was to create better relationships with vendors and to use business practices to inspire/guide them into taking action in their own sustainability journeys. In 2017, Mills was named Best for the World – Communities by B Lab for its work in the local community and for Mills’ support of local suppliers and services. Mills believes in supporting local businesses as a way to give back to the community and to reduce transportation-related emissions that are associated with our products.

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