Today is World Environment Day, and as the campaign celebrates its 50th anniversary this year’s day is themed around solutions for fighting an increasing amount of plastic pollution.

Ailsa Exley recently joined Magna as our Sustainability Business Partner, a new role which sees her shaping and developing our approach to sustainability. She said:

“I became interested in sustainability whilst working on an MBA at Exeter University, where there was a strong focus on sustainable business and the circular economy. I had some amazing mentors who were passionate about creating a change to embed sustainability whilst maximising business opportunities, rather than sacrificing one at the expense of the other.”

Ailsa’s focus is on sustainability as an area with social, environmental, and financial benefits and responsibilities, especially within the housing sector. She continued:

“The sector has a responsibility to the communities that it operates in, and we are often under scrutiny from the wider community to do the right thing. Construction is one of the largest emitters of carbon emissions worldwide, and we can expect further and faster regulation in the future, meaning that we must recognise the challenges we’re likely to face and be proactive, rather than reactive.”

At Magna, we work hard to ensure that we recycle as much waste as possible from the materials that we use in building and maintaining our homes. We have a comprehensive waste management plan which splits out our waste into categories, allowing it to be managed in a sustainable way. Out of the 22 categories, 20 of them are managed with avenues to reuse or recycle waste instead of putting it in landfill, and we try our best to make sure that we exhaust every sustainable option first. From January to March this year alone, working with our suppliers, we recycled nearly 410 tonnes of materials.

Focusing more specifically on this year’s theme, we managed to recycle up to 95% of our plastic waste with some of our suppliers. Plastic pollution is an increasing problem worldwide, and Ailsa shared her tips on how we can all make a difference:

“Mixed material plastics, such as hand wash bottles with pumps that can’t be recycled, are often put into recycling together, meaning that the whole lot often ends up in landfill. Checking the labels and making sure these parts are separated means that so much more can be recycled. Even better, reuse or refill things when you can rather than getting rid of them.”

Tackling sustainability challenges can feel overwhelming at times, and the objectives are often misunderstood. Ailsa continued: “One of the most common misunderstandings is that sustainability is all about being green, but that’s not true. Sustainability is partly about the environment, but it’s also about people and business, and changing how we do things to bring benefits across the board.”

“We’re in a fantastic position to drive positive change. From improving the lives of customers through a challenging economic period, to making communities better for the future. Developing effective sustainability strategies now will help us future-proof our homes against change to come, meaning we can continue to be a positive force in our communities and in the sector.”

We’re proud to have passionate colleagues like Ailsa who are driven to push for positive changes in our communities that not only benefit the environment, but work towards the bigger picture of a sustainable future.

As part of our initiatives to support our communities, we have a community improvement fund which anyone can apply for to help fund groups, events, or improvements in their area. If you’ve got a sustainable initiative that needs support, we’d love to help.

Learn more about the community improvement fund by clicking here.