#WaterWise: CT agencies focused on changing behaviour — part 3
by MarkLives (@marklives) We’ve emailed a panel of key industry executives for their take on the business impact of Cape Town’s water crisis, and their contribution towards avoiding it. Next up is Andrew Hall of Hero.
• #WaterWise: CT agencies focused on changing behaviour — part 4 — King James & 99c
• #WaterWise: CT agencies focused on changing behaviour — part 2 — FCB & VML
• #WaterWise: Cape Town agencies focused on changing behaviour — M&C Saatchi Abel & John Brown Media SA
While Day Zero — the day water runs out in Cape Town and residents are expected to queue for water at water collection posts — has been pushed back several times, Cape Town still faces a water crisis. This has numerous implications for agencies and the people in their employ. We asked a number of organisations how they are planning for any possible business disruptions and how they are assisting in saving water.
Currently the managing director of Hero Strategic Marketing, Andrew Hall (@AndrewHa1l) believes in people and in this country and that, if we harness the power of our diversity and create a company that is as complex as the country we live in, we can change behaviour and shape culture.
At Hero, we believe we are communication activists. Becoming environmentally conscious is part of our DNA, thus the company initiated recycling and water-saving initiatives back in 2016. With the increasing scarcity of water, Hero has further reduced our water consumption over the last year by:
- Educating staff on water-saving methods and placing water-education posters at all key use areas
- Investing in waterless urinal conversions for the men’s bathroom
- “Mellow yellow” campaigns in all the toilets
- Installing hand-sanitiser dispensers in the kitchen and bathrooms
- Asking staff to not pre-rinse dishes and limiting the usage of crockery and cutlery
- Limiting the amount of water used to clean the floors and surfaces
- Engaged in formal brainstorm of how we could use creative ideas to save as much water as possible.
As key tenants in our building, we’ve also engaged heavily with the building’s management to ensure that they have sustainable water solutions in place. The building now catches all rainwater and has been equipped with a number of large water-storage tanks. which are being plumbed in to provide water to run essential functions like toilets. The building management is currently investigating the feasibility of pumping up groundwater from the basement into the reticulation system so that we save municipal water even further.
Hero has managed to secure commitments for the continued supply of office drinking water from trusted vendors (using non-municipal water sources) for staff in anticipation of demand shortages, come Day Zero.
Staff members who’ve had the means have had rainwater-harvesting solutions installed at their houses and all staff agree that the days of abundant water supply and no consequences to water wastage are long behind them.
The future depends on us responsibly using the natural resources we have.
Between the building management and the company’s efforts, we’re hopeful that, even if Day Zero should occur, it will be business as usual inside the office itself. That doesn’t, however escape from the reality on the ground and management is putting plans in place to ensure that the staff is able to work as flexibly and remotely as possible to allow for any eventuality.
Hero moved to a far-more-flexible and staff-friendly operating model a number of years ago, whereby staff work off a flexi-time schedule. This concept of work will be used in figuring out how staff members are given the time to collect water and how Hero will be able to continue doing work. All of Hero’s IT systems are cloud-based, so staff may work from anywhere.
The company will work with staff to ensure that they are able to provide for their families while the company continues to deliver for its clients. As a born optimist, I’m hopeful that the city will avert disaster but admit that this requires the gift of rain and big business involvement plus a massive effort from all the city’s citizens. We’re seeing incredible efforts by many residents across the city who’ve heeded the Day Zero message but, ultimately, everyone needs to come together for Cape Town to stand a chance.
At the coal face
From a campaign point of view, we’ve worked very closely with the City of Cape Town and have been involved in water-saving campaigns dating back to 2016. This has obviously been increased substantially over the last six months or so and, through our collective efforts, we’ve managed to drive consumption down from 1.2bn litres a day to 547m litres in January 2018.
It’s both exciting and scary at the same time but being at the coal face of the crisis has been an incredible experience.
— One subscription form, three newsletters: sign up now for the twice-weekly MarkLives newsletter, including Ramify headlines; The Interlocker, our new monthly comms-focused mailer; and/or MarkLives Zambia!