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Cape Town Works to Reduce Global Carbon Footprint 

09-19-2017 10:29 AM

It started with a mug. The Cape Town, South Africa office connected with Symantec’s Green Team in 2015 when Symantec launched the "One Mug, One Planet" campaign to help reduce paper cup usage across operations by 15 percent. Inspired to minimize their impacts both inside and outside the office, the Cape Town office joined the campaign, making a commitment to use a reusable mug every day.

Two years later, Cape Town has it’s own four-person Green Team, including Wade Corin, Director, Inside Sales; Shieraaz Williams, Facilities Manager; Pia De Freitas, Associate Manager, Inside Sales; and Clarissa De Agrela, Inside Sales / Site Coordinator. Working hand-in-hand with the Employee Resource Groups (ERG), including Community Relations (CR) Committee, Events Committee, Intramural Sports Committee, and Symantec Women’s Action Network (SWAN) they support one another and help drive a certain culture within their location.

Cape Town’s Green Team is focused on making a difference both in the office and within their local communities. With events held at least quarterly ranging from beach clean-ups to building vegetable gardens in low-income communities, the Cape Town Green Team is quite active. The group also organizes events to educate local youths on topics like Cyber Security and Greenhouse Gases and works to inspire these children and teenagers, showing them how they can make a difference in their own communities.

The CR and SWAN committees drove the Veggie Garden Initiative in two of Cape Town’s in-need communities to support the local people living there and help teach them how to grow crops. The volunteer team, led by Natalie George, Yondela Nyongo, and Leeanne De Wit, cleaned up lots, built greenhouses, and planted vegetables, including spinach at three different garden events.

For Shieraaz and Clarissa, joining the Green Team was a chance to not only make a difference in their communities, but to reduce our global carbon footprint. “I chose to join the Green Team as I feel that it is important to understand not only the Greenhouse gas (GHG) effect, but also how we as a Company can make changes, whether they be large or small, to have a positive effect and contribute to the survival of life on earth,” said Clarissa.

In addition to working to help underprivileged communities, Symantec’s Green Team helps support our goal to reduce GHG emissions by thirty percent in ten years (FY15-FY25). In the office, the Green Team supports the local facilities team with identifying cost-cutting and energy reduction initiatives, using lasted technologies to help reduce the energy and carbon footprint. Due to these efforts, over the last two years, the Cape Town office has introduced energy-saving controlled lighting, and is now going a step further with LED lighting solutions to reduce energy even further. The team has also adjusted the HVAC to switch off during none office hours and weekends, and all water coolers are now timer controlled.

On Mandela Day, Symantec’s Cape Town office volunteered with animal welfare charity, FALLEN ANGELS, and spent time caring for dogs at the rescue center.

If you’re wondering about the first mug that started it all, after the success of "One Mug, One Planet", the Cape Town office has stopped using foam cups entirely. Symantec mugs and glassware are offered throughout the office helping the team reduce their waste and carbon footprint.

Cape Town’s Green Team and ERGs will continue to work together to educate and bring awareness to the importance of reducing GHGs and making a difference in the world we live in today. Green Team member Wade Corin knows the importance of leading by example, saying, “Being socially responsible is everyone’s responsibility – If you are not willing to do it, how can you ask others?” As such, the office looks forward to participating in the second annual Global Service Week (GSW), October 9–15, 2017 and hopes you will too. In Cape Town, GSW will include volunteering with SolarBuddy, whose goal is to end the devastating cycle of energy poverty for marginalized communities across the world. Cape Town’s volunteers will build solar light bulbs, giving the gift of light to dozens of children living in energy poverty. They hope you will be inspired to share your gifts in-person or virtually this GSW.

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