AES Solar has been embracing the government’s Scottish Climate Week, set up to raise awareness of climate change. Here, the team have put together a blog on the company’s thoughts on the matter.
The fact that the “Think Global, Act Local” principle is originally attributed to a Scot is of no surprise to us here at AES Solar.
Patrick Geddes, a town planner from Ballater, wrote in his 1915 book that “local character” is only attainable through how we treat our environment as a whole.
These bold ideas for society’s future had many detractors, finding Geddes’ observations to be irrational and far-flung. How could what happens environmentally in Aberdeen affect the conditions across the world in Hong Kong? How could the way we treat the local environment affect humanity’s global character?
Climate change in the beginning
AES Solar started trading in 1979 as Weatherwise. Then the idea of climate change (or global warming, as it was known) was met with smirks of doubt. Though Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first published his hypothesis of “greenhouse gases” in 1896, the general public had a difficult time wrapping their minds around this concept. The outlook had not changed much by the 1970s. People were unfamiliar with solar technology. The costs outweighed what little benefit the customer was able to observe in the short-term, and the idea of Earth’s climate dramatically altering the existence of all living things was just too far-fetched. It was a Hollywood ploy to sell Mad Max cinema tickets. Something this extreme could not realistically happen!
Our work on climate change
Weatherwise recognised the conflict between what people thought and what scientists knew and addressed the potential for more sustainable technologies to combat environmental issues.
With absolute conviction, Weatherwise grew and streamlined its expertise in solar technologies guiding customers worldwide to more sustainable ways of life.
Now after nearly 40 years of operating as AES Solar, we continue to use our solar knowledge to promote a global call to action on climate change. We are as passionate today about solar technology as our predecessors were in 1979. We continue to lead our own small corner of the world into energy independence while improving our company’s performance as an international member of society.
Thinking Globally, Acting Locally
Once again, Scotland is leading the initiative of working towards local sustainability for the betterment of our environment as a whole. The Scottish Climate Week campaign, put on by the Scottish government, has given many individuals and companies a mode to show their personal and corporate climate responsibilities.
Keep Scotland Beautiful promoted their All Climate Challenge Fund (CCF) whilst Edinburgh University committed to becoming a Zero Carbon producer by 2040 through their Climate Strategy 2016.
Even farming is becoming a sustainable business; Scottish farmers Jason and Victoria Ballantyne are volunteering to work with Scotland’s Rural College to research practical ways for farming to reduce its carbon footprint while still remaining effective and efficient. The list of active participants is vast. You only have to search #ScotClimateWeek to see the range of good works being done in the name of sustainability.
Climate change action at AES
At AES Solar, we have made a concerted efforts to sell and manufacture ethical goods. We are also actively creating an organisational culture of environmentally responsible behaviour. Some of our most recent actions and future commitments include:
- Decreased paper usage by 80% from 2015
- 60% of employees either walk or cycle to work
- 5 members of staff are being supported by AES Solar for the CycleScheme
- Increased recycling of paper, plastic and glass by 62%
- Prompted composting program into effect, decreasing daily rubbish volume by 15%
- Introduced company on-site garden, with a completion date in 2017, including a vegetable patch (using company compost)
- Actively trained new engineering partners to bring ethical solar technology installations to Nigeria
- Initiated installation of photovoltaic modules and solar thermal collectors on our own roof to offset daytime energy use
- Committed to annual external auditing of our Environmental Management Systems by 2018
- Committed to creation of a circular business model in terms of manufacturing waste by 2019
Ultimately, AES Solar is propelled forward by knowledge and optimism. We have been hearing the dire statistics and timelines of climate change for nearly four decades, nonetheless we remain committed to being a source of positive change. And we welcome our community to do the same. Climate change has connected our planet like never before, so it seems there has never been a better time to grow “local character” on the grandest of scale.