Colmar Brunton replaced its bins with small desk cubes.
Chief executive Jacqueline Ireland says it gave staff the message they had to take responsibility for their own waste.
It’s part of a raft of measures the market research firm has adopted over the past couple of years to model and understand sustainability – from encouraging video conferencing rather than travel, to putting a worm farm in the office.
Colmar Brunton produces the annual Better Business, Better World report that tracks how perceptions of sustainability affect choices customers make and the bands they support.
“When we do word testing, people associate sustainability with positive words, but they don’t want to connect negative words like ‘toxin’ or ‘poison’ with ‘unsustainable’. That indicates positively-worded messaging has more impact,” says Ireland.
She says while many organisations consider sustainability being about the corporate reputation side of the business, it’s better placed in marketing.
“We believe marketing around sustainability is poor, and customers are confused on how to make the best choice.
“Everything counts. If you care enough to support social initiatives, environmental initiatives, or even to run a well-managed business, that is what consumers look for.”
Thomson’s office now produces a third less waste, as people think more about what they consume.
“It saves money but one of the benefits to the organisation is the impact on staff. Two thirds of people say they want to work in a business that is sustainable. There is a shortage of talent and we want to stand out as an organisation that cares,” she says.