Talking sustainability with Kirsty McCormack
Kirsty has been with CPI for three months and is part of the accounts team in Bellshill.
Having graduated in July from the University of Scotland with a 1st class honours degree in accounting, Kirsty is currently undertaking professional exams with CIMA to become a Chartered Management Accountant. Before that she was a client services team leader for nearly 18 years.
Now accounting and sustainability don’t sound like they go hand in hand! But can you tell us how they fit together?
“That is exactly what I thought when in 3rd year and was handed a project by Management Accountant lecturer on biodiversity in business. I did not even really understand what biodiversity was and said I want to be an accountant, not save the world!
Little did I know then how much the two are linked. That week I found two documentaries on Netflix: David Attenborough – A Life on our planet and Seaspiracy. They are worth a watch.
In terms of biodiversity, there is a connection between business and biodiversity, and it has been argued that business survival is dependent on healthy ecosystems. Businesses rely on natural resources to enable them to carry out their everyday business operations for example CPI rely on aggregates, like sand and cement, they rely on fuel for their distribution and their long-term survival and growth is dependent on it.
Companies need to recognise their reliance on natural resources and recognise the tremendous value that nature and ecosystems have in their operations. With increased consumer awareness and placing more importance on environmental issues, businesses have to make changes to the way they operate in order to keep a competitive edge against their competitors.”
How does sustainability link to climate change?
“Climate change in terms of sustainability, is more than likely linked to a ‘sustainable energy system’ – which means that changes must be made to transportation, energy usage, etc so that they do not contribute to further warming of the planet. Meaning that we must try to reduce our greenhouse gases to help combat climate change.
Climate change is a deep concern, and the world is already seeing the side effects of climate change. The earth is warming at an alarming rate which is causing sea levels to rise and altering patterns of rainfall which is causing heat waves, floods, droughts, and fires.
Crop growth and human health are both impacted by climate change, and it also increases the threat of extinction to some species.”
From what you have learned so far on your courses, can you give us some advice on what we can all be doing to reduce the effects of climate change?
“The main thing I have learned is that little differences that we make in our day to day lives can bring about big impacts. We cannot all afford to go out and purchases expensive electric cars, or fit solar panels on our property but what we can do is make small choices each day that will have a less harmful impact on the environment. Talking to our friends and family can also bring positive change.
By being more conscious on what is going on around us and making smart environmental choices can then become a habit and can influence others and in return can help to slow down climate change.”
What is CPI currently doing, or looking into to help the UK reach net zero?
“It was very important for me, when looking for a Job after graduating, that I found a company that was Environmentally aware and putting sustainability in their business’s strategies.
Since being at CPI I am impressed with their current initiatives and their future ambitions. There are lots of things going on throughout the business showing positive steps and that there is substance behind their environmental policy and that it is not just seeing as a tick exercise.
CPI has a forest where we have planted trees to offset their carbon emissions, and a second forest is coming soon. Solar panels are being fitted at most our sites. We have electric forklifts and will be testing vegetable fuelled trucks in the near future. The electricity that CPI uses is purchased through renewable sources.
Also like the fruit boxes supplied on a weekly basis at each site and for every box purchased a fruit tree is planted in Africa, so not only is the employees of CPI having increased health and wellbeing from healthy fruit, but they are also helping to support communities. Some sites also have their own bee gardens and bee bombs which help biodiversity.
CPI are also working in the local community providing road safety and allowing all employees one charitable day per year. All these are positive steps to create a sustainable future.”
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