The BMA's Green Secrets

Frances Mortimer
Frances Mortimer • 17 April 2009

For a few months now, I've been hearing reports of green activity inside the British Medical Association. They are certainly not blowing their own trumpet, and a thorough scan of their website turned up no details. After an impressive experience with their events department at the Climate Connection launch (which managed an almost entirely locally sourced vegetarian menu - in December), I decided to find out more.

Speaking to the founder of the BMA's green committee, Human Resources Director, Kevin McMahon, I learned that the committee has evolved, as it were, organically.

"We got together as an informal group. I think this has actually been much more successful than if we'd had a formal process, because everyone is there because they want to be. In fact, I was quickly bombarded by enthusiastic staff asking to join, and had to decide consciously to keep to 7-8 people so as not to end up as a talking shop."

Among the successes to date, Kevin counts the switch throughout the building from bottled to mains-cooled tap water, along with green contracts with stationary suppliers and taxi companies (BMA staff can now choose to ride in hybrid cars).

Recycling has been a major focus, with segregated bins in all departments, and adoption of recyclable food containers and cutlery in the staff restaurant.

Meanwhile the IT department have been enthusiastic contributors, substituting energy-efficient flat-screen monitors, using server virtualisation to cut down on hardware and shifting default settings to duplex printing.

Estates Manager, Nick Sewell, told me how they have taken advantage of the recent two-year building refurbishment to install low energy fittings and infrared-sensor light switches wherever possible. Further energy saving has resulted from a new building management system, which allows him to turn off heating in areas of the building when not in use.

You can read more about the BMA's green activities in the green edition of the' staff magazine, "Snakebytes", published in November 2008 (download link below).  To find out specific details, please contact Afi Rahman: .

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