International IT, P.A. to Kevin Holian (SVP of Int’l IT)
NBCUniversal, London, England
Across the pond, in the country that gave us Harry Potter, NBCUniversal has a wonderful team dedicated to the causes of sustainability.
Denise Wise is an integral part of this team. She keeps her ear to the ground and her hands on the many green projects, big and small, that NBCUniversal is working on in the United Kingdom.
She’s particularly excited about the new office building at Central St. Giles that she and her coworkers will be moving into next spring. “The building is new [so] it will be very energy efficient,” she says. Many of the green initiatives she had put into practice at the current office building, Prospect House, will carry over to Central St. Giles.
“We did a big push over the last few years, collaborating with the landlords to put sprinkler taps in the bathrooms, which saves lots of water, as well as alterations to the boiler to save on heating,” she says. These eco-friendly changes resulted in a green award to Jones Lang LaSalle, the building owner, and NBCUniversal from their landlord.
When she’s not busy greening things, Denise is also… a wizard?
“The Eco leaders were known as Green Wizards,” says Denise. “The first year I got this green witch’s hat, and I was wearing it all week, just to raise awareness for Green Week.”
She’s hung up the hat and retired the title, but she and her team still conduct magical feats around the office every now and then. One of these is the Mystery Desk Drop.
Denise explains: “A team will roam the floors out of office hours checking to see who has powered off their monitor/PC overnight, and those that have will be rewarded with a chocolate on their desk.” The response to this program has been noteworthy. “There was definitely a marked improvement the second time, people were more aware.”
Another member on Denise’s team, Sylvio Di Carlo, has come up with a way to help make powering down even easier. The office has implemented power strips to help reduce the vampire energy caused by electronics that are powered down but not unplugged from the outlet.
Denise also organizes the volunteering for all of NBCUniversal’s London-based employees, and assembles events which she and the rest of the NBCUniversal London team can help improve the environment and the community.
“I’ve built it up over the last four or five years, so I’ve got a lot of people on board now,” she says.
One of these is the FareShare Food Drop, which is a collection of foods like pasta, coffee, cereal, and tinned meats at the office. The second is the FareShare Depot Days, for which employees will re-pack food at the depot and then jump on a van to distribute it to hostels in the city. Additionally, there is the Wetlands Wildfowl Trust where employees spend the day helping beautify the grounds.
Denise also has organized the Green Swap and Drop, an event that has run every six months for the past four years.
“This event doesn’t cost anything. People just bring in their unwanted clothes, bric-a-brac (jewelry and trinkets), books, CDs, and DVDs. The staff can come to the room and pick up anything they fancy, leave their stuff there, and that’s why it’s called a Swap and Drop.”
The surplus that always results at the end of the event is donated to a number of relevant charities, including the YMCA, The Passage (a homeless shelter), and Dress for Success.
“It makes a difference to my working week to be involved,” says Denise. “It’s good to be able to give back to the community in a fun way.”
Denise is also working on some things of her own at home. “I would like to collect rainwater in a barrel for my garden, build a perch for robins to roost in the winter, providing them food and shelter, and maybe even keep bees, which are great for cross pollinating and greening in London.”
by Frederick Awich