As we shake off the dust from 2021 and dig in for what the next year has in store, we sit down with Abbey Petkar, Managing Director of Magenta Security, to reflect on the ups, downs and lessons learned from running a security company during yet another historic year.
It’s been a busy year and a difficult year due to COVID, but it hasn’t stopped us achieving the goals we had set out for the business. We achieved Carbon Neutral+ status, expanded our operations in the West Midlands and we launched Threat Evolution, our new division offering cyber security training.
Our first objective was to get the message out that if we can reduce our carbon footprint, other businesses can as well. We’ve been sending out tens of thousands of emails every month to our network sharing the steps our organisation has taken to achieve carbon neutrality and how they can do the same.
As for what we did, earlier in the year we switched to an electric fleet of vehicles – charged by the solar panels on the roof of our offices – allowing us to be entirely self-sufficient while using a renewable energy source. This wasn’t just good for the environment, it was good for our continuity of service, as we were unaffected by the fuel shortages earlier in the year and the ongoing high fuel prices.
Finally, we were audited by Carbon Footprint and achieved Carbon Neutral+ certification through offsetting the eight tons of carbon that our organisation still produces. Our goal is to continue to bring that number down as new technology allows so that we can be truly net zero without any offsetting.
We can all agree COP26 – as with all COPs before it – didn’t go far enough. Fossil fuels aren’t being phased out as quickly as we need them to be and many countries are still pushing back against climate commitments because of the influence of their coal industries.
However, the publicity around COP26 meant that the urgency of the climate emergency is really resonating with businesses and the wider public. I’ve noticed more dialogue around how we can make positive changes as individuals and a much greater number of businesses making an effort to improve their carbon footprint within their operations and their supply chain.
Every year’s a little better than the last but ultimately the change will come when customers insist on working with carbon neutral security companies. At the moment, too many security companies see green initiatives as a burden. But they shouldn’t; none of the changes we made were overly costly and many, such as our solar panels and electric cars, are already providing value.
What’s encouraging is that we are starting to see carbon neutral status as a requirement in the tender process, particularly with government contracts. If their carbon footprint starts losing them work, security companies will quickly start taking it seriously.
From day one of the pandemic we put in place COVID risk assessments for all sites we manage, ordered plenty of PPE and implemented a rota and social distancing for office staff. We constantly reviewed our policies and protections as new variants arose and government advice changed. Given the circumstances, I think we did very well, and that’s thanks to combined effort at every level of the organisation.
We were running a 24/7 operation of key workers protecting vital NHS sites and national infrastructure – we couldn’t shut up shop and work from home. On top of that, our COVID risk assessments provided tremendous value and peace of mind to all our customers through our reassurance that they were operating as safely as possible. That’s not a service many of our competitors were providing.
I’ve always tried to find ways to introduce compassion into the heart of Magenta Security through our charitable work – and I want to continue to push for an industry-wide charity – but now I’m also focusing on compassion within the business as well.
Since the pandemic started I’ve learned to take a step back and listen to what people are saying, encourage honesty about the ways they are struggling and see what we, as a business and as a community, can do to help. Because everyone’s been struggling this past year, particularly from a mental perspective.
I want that compassion to continue when the pandemic is over so we can emerge from it stronger and more supportive to one another, both inside and outside the business.
Magenta Security provide award winning security services throughout the UK. We are in the top 5% of ACS approved contractors and were the first security company in Europe to be awarded ISO 14001 for our environmental management systems.
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