How to make ‘sustainability’ part of your job description
Meet LM Wind Power it intern in Denmark, jeppe kristensen, who is taking the initiative to look beyond his job description, to find tangible, valuable ways to make our company and our planet greener.
In 2019 Jeppe Kristensen joined LM Wind Power in Denmark as an intern, working on finance and budgeting within IT. Like all new employees in a global function, he attended an induction program for newcomers where he learned about the role and priorities of each department, including the Sustainability department.
“I played the ‘Go Carbon Neutral’ game, and it really got me thinking about how I could help make the company more sustainable through my role in IT,” Jeppe said. “That’s why I joined GE in the first place instead of another company; I knew it was a company innovating within sustainability, wind power and other forms of renewable energy – a place where I can make a difference.”
Back at his desk after the induction program ended, Jeppe immediately reached out to the Sustainability team and spoke to his manager to ask how he could contribute, and quickly he became an honorary member of the ‘Green Team’!
Read on for an interview with Jeppe and watch the #WeReduce video below, to hear what Jeppe has been up to during the past year. Then, take the chance to reflect on how, like Jeppe, you can take the initiative to look beyond your job description, to find tangible, valuable ways to make your home, your company and your planet greener.
#WeReduce: Interview with Jeppe Kristensen, IT Intern at LM Wind Power
Why did you decide to join the renewable energy industry?
Working in IT there are many job opportunities and many companies I could work for, but not all companies are directly doing the work to make the world a better place that we do as a renewable energy business. Renewable energy is helping to cut CO2 emissions – that was my main target in terms of choosing a company for my internship. I would like to make an impact and live in a sustainable way at home and at work, to try to make the world a better place for future generations.
What sustainability projects are you working on?
I have two main focus areas to help LM Wind Power and GE Renewable Energy go carbon neutral: food emissions and Green IT.
Let’s start with food. Why should we think about food emissions?
For the past few months, many of us have been working from home due to COVID-19. Now that people are returning to the office here in Denmark, I’d like to inspire colleagues to consider their food choices in the canteen and the impact they have on the environment.
Food production is responsible for one quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and the biggest portion of that come from land use for livestock (such as cattle). On a personal level, food accounts for 10-30% of a household’s carbon footprint, and cattle (beef) accounts for 10% of human made greenhouse gas emissions.
There's big difference in the amount of emissions from types different type of meat. For instance, chicken or fish meals produce 80% less CO2 emissions than beef or lamb meals.
How can we reduce our food emissions?
I started doing some research and watched videos and documentaries that made me aware of the problem, and then I thought about how to relate the global numbers to our actual canteen in Kolding, Denmark.
When I looked at an actual menu for Monday-Friday at the canteen in Kolding, I saw that every day, or at least four out of five days, cattle was on the menu.
Then I made a spreadsheet, where I included emission factors for different types of meat. I was curious to see how much of an impact we could make by reducing the number of days we eat cattle each week.
The results are really encouraging: If every one of us make an individual choice to cut cattle or lamb out of our lunch twice a week (replacing it with chicken or fish), it would cut the emissions from our canteen by 35%!
I hope this analysis will help make people aware of their actions in terms of dining in the canteen. Everyone can help make a better world by taking a stand and making a choice. Even if you choose not to go completely vegan, having a “meat” free day can make such a huge impact.
Now let’s talk about Green IT. How are you working to make IT more sustainable?
It started with speaking to two colleagues who also wanted to take on the question: how can we make our IT equipment greener? We created a mini team called ‘Green IT’ with myself, Sustainability Specialist Chris Berkhout and Senior IT Manager Erik Burghard.
The most promising idea we’ve worked on is about making our desks more sustainable. We bought an electricity meter and hooked it up to my desk, to test how much electricity my desk consumes if the screen brightness is at 100%, 75% and 50%. According to a useful list of energy efficiency measures compiled by Cambridge University, reducing your PC monitor brightness from 100% to 70% can save up to 20% of the energy the monitor uses. Likewise, at my desk we found that decreasing the screen brightness to 75% would deliver significant savings on energy consumption, resulting in decreased CO2 emissions and electricity costs.
This initial success motivated us to keep going. We presented the screen brightness project to the CIOs in GE Renewable Energy and they gave us the go-ahead to move forward, to propose a standard screen brightness across GE Renewable Energy.
What’s up next for the Green IT team?
Another exciting project we’re working on is how we can be better about switching off our workstations at night and over the weekends. We found that at a site in Denmark with 250 desks, if we turn off the electricity on the desks over the weekend, we could save approximately 800 DKK (124 USD) every weekend! Imagine how much we could save across GE in terms of both cost and CO2 emissions, if every site ensures their desks are switched off over the weekend.
Another savings opportunity we’re looking at are office printers, which run all day. We’re looking whether we could have a setting that makes it go to sleep or turn off, to save energy.
What advice would you give to other colleagues who would like to make sustainability part of their job description?
Everyone has a role to play in making our company and our world a greener place.
You come into a job and you think, “This is my job description.” But often there is room within your role to think beyond it, about ways to help the company become more sustainable.
My role as an intern in IT was to focus on the budget in IT, to try to have an overview of the spending. But that internship and my manager allowed me to also think out of the box to pursue how finance and economics are linked to my passion for the environment. Your job description doesn’t have to be static – you have the room to evolve, if there is something that your competences and desire can fulfill that will help the company achieve its goals.
Meet Jeppe Kristensen, IT Intern in Denmark
"Everyone has a role to play in making our company and our world a greener place."