ZX Security has established the Green Team to look at making ZX a more environmentally responsible and sustainable business. In addition to the Green Team, ZX Security runs the Hacking for Heroes program which provides pro-bono security consultancy for charities and not for profits who are doing great work in Aotearoa.

Background

The Green Team project started in 2020. The form which we are currently taking is to set up requirements and measurements to go with them. We have found that getting traction when ideas are not tied back to a requirement with a quantitative way of measuring it, was difficult. This being the case, when we are planning things to do, we are also looking for a way that we can quantitatively measure what we are doing. For example, adding plants to an office has qualitative benefits, but can also incorporate quantitative aspects such as measuring CO₂ quantities in the office.

Some of these may seem small and trivial, but we figured we have to start somewhere to get some traction. Also, we think that changing people’s mindsets around sustainability and care for the environment that is done by making small steps is more likely going to stick in the long run. Hopefully, over time things can get more ambitious and others will also join us in this journey.

Blog Posts

ZX Security sees two things from these blog posts, firstly we will try and publish a regular update on overall progress and also additional blog posts on particular topics (one that is currently coming to mind is: How do you get the power usage for all the cloud services you use and the breakdown of generation type).

Everything we have set out here will not be completed by the next update, but hopefully, we will have some progress and also a way to measure of our progress.

What are we already doing?

ZX Security is committed to making conscious choices that will positively affect environmental sustainability. We always try to consider our environmental impact and make a concerted effort to purchase, educate and inspire our team members to do the same. We do this through a number of ways as listed below:

  • Eco Store Products used in the kitchen area.
  • Microfibre cloths used for cleaning and floor washing.
  • Recycling in the kitchen area, including paper, glass, aluminium, cardboard, tin cans and hard plastic.
  • Purchasing Certified Carbon Neutral paper.
  • We purchased all our office desks from Office Max who produce eco friendly furniture.
  • When we were fitting out the office we made an effort to buy re-purposed furniture and kitchen items e.g. plates, glassware and utensils instead of purchasing new items.
  • We encourage our staff to take alternative modes of transport where possible, such as walking and e-scooters when going to meetings instead of taxi’s or Ubers.
  • We provide secure bike parking and showers to support alternative modes of transport to work.
  • We pay the carbon emission offset when staff members are booking flights for work or professional development.
  • We up-recycle expired IT equipment (printers, screens etc) where possible.
  • We have asked our printing supplier to send us our t-shirts in bulk without the use of individual plastic bags.
  • We have had people come in and give presentations to the entire team on topics such as waste management and waste minimisation.

Requirements

ZX Security has set out some initial requirements for what we would like to achieve. These will change and be refined over time:

  • Reduce ZX Security’s negative environmental footprint
  • Leave the planet in a better place
  • Operate a healthy office
  • Provide a summary of our achievements in a semi-regular blog post on the ZX Security website
  • Make sure new staff members know about the Green Team

Reduce ZX Security’s negative environmental footprint

We want to focus on minimising ZX Security’s waste and where there is waste, making sure we have a process in place to dispose of it responsibly.

As mentioned earlier, electricity usage is a big component here. The complicated part is quantifying the energy usage particularly when it comes to cloud services and SaaS.

Alongside this where possible we follow the 3Rs - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

Leave the planet in a better place

This will include how we are ensuring ZX is trying to help make the environment a better place. Currently in this space when we book flights for ZX related travel we are buying the Carbon Offset option.

In the future, we would like to get a group together who can go to tree plantings, do beach clean-ups and similar.

Healthy Office

The initial thought here was to get some plants and greenery into the office.

Yes, a lot of qualitative benefits are hard to measure for a healthy office, but a measure we have in this space is carbon dioxide (CO₂). Swift on Security did have a thread on CO₂ in the office. We got to wondering if plants in the office could make us smarter by removing the CO₂ from the office

Alongside this, is the Green Star ratings for buildings. Recently the Government when setting out the Climate Emergency that Government Departments can only use buildings with particular Green Star ratings, so if future new offices are required ZX will get offices meeting the same standard or better.

What are others up to?

What are the other hacker companies and IT places up to in this space? Is there stuff we could share and leverage?

Hopefully, this will help inspire and get other companies to do something similar. Additionally, we look forward to reading what others are up to, so we can learn and extend what we are doing as well.