Taking care of business
Quiet PC Ethics and Eco
There’s more to life than buying and selling, and it’s important to feel right about the things we do and how we live and work on an everyday basis. As with any debate, there are always two sides to the story, and contentious issues are never black and white.
Quiet PC doesn’t claim to have the answers to all mankind’s problems or a foolproof plan for preservation of our fragile planet or its economy. All we can do to try to ensure a bright future for our children and our children’s children is to do what we think is right, even though like everyone else, we are a small fish in a big sea. At the end of the day, our decisions are ruled by our conscience and it’s important to remember that many small positive acts can make big things happen.
Reducing the load
Making use of clean, renewable energy
We employ the best available technology to reduce our impact on the environment. In 2011 we installed a 26kW photo-voltaic solar array to reduce our energy consumption. On a bright or sunny day, this serves to minimise or eliminate our use of grid electricity which is generated in the UK from gas (30%), coal (25%) and nuclear fission (20%).
In contrast with these non-renewable fuel sources, solar power is considered to be a more environmentally-friendly alternative. It isn’t much use at night, but our offices are generally open only during daylight hours! And by reducing our overheads through smaller electricity bills, we can become more competitive in the marketplace.
That warm fuzzy feeling
Striving for carbon neutrality
Our IT equipment isn’t the primary consumer of power; for optimal performance, our staff need to keep warm! In 2013 we installed two wood-burning stoves and eliminated the use of our oil-fired hot air heating system.
Although burning wood creates smoke, (primarily when the fires are first lit) the environmental impact is thought to be approximately carbon neutral because wood isn’t a fossil fuel. In other words, the amount of carbon dioxide created during the burning process is similar in magnitude to that which was absorbed by the tree whilst it was growing. The addition of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere which was previously locked underground is suspected to be partly responsible for man-made climate change.
We aim to draw from a localised pool of talent
Our recruitment policy serves to boost the local economy and minimise commute times and the environmental impact of longer regular car journeys. Several of our employees car-share, which makes their journey into work cheaper and more fun!
In 2014 we installed a 7kW electric car charging point for the two people in the office who own electric vehicles. The use of the charger is free for visitors or staff and the cost to the company is minimal given that charging is done during the day when there is often a surplus of solar-generated electricity.
Through the use of secure computer networking systems, some of our staff regularly telework where practical.
We aim to use banks which share our values
Financial institutions have not been painted in a favourable light by the media in recent years and many people are of the opinion that the reputation of the big banks for relentless greed, malpractice and underhand dealings is well-deserved. Recently it came to light that Barclays Natural Resource Investment is a 97% stakeholder in a shale gas exploration company called Third Energy Ltd. It is expected that Third Energy will soon engage in large-scale hydraulic fracturing operations (‘fracking’) in many British locations including the North York Moors which is the beautiful part of England in which Quiet PC is based.
Many people believe that fracking is a high impact type of mining activity from an environmental point of view, given its potential for the contamination of underground watercourses, localised air pollution, night-sky light pollution and the creation of earth tremors, noise and high volumes of heavy traffic. Such effects have already been seen in countries such as America and Australia. As a result, in 2014 Quiet PC changed the provider of its primary banking services to Triodos, which has a policy of ethical investment and one which avoids fossil fuels.
Reducing the miles
E-commerce reduces congestion and pollution
The concept of Internet-based shopping being compatible with an eco-friendly ethos is somewhat arguable. On a small scale, the use of many hundreds of fossil-fuel powered vans delivering parcels to individual premises every day is not going to do much for the atmosphere or road congestion.
But the recent amalgamation of many smaller delivery companies into several larger ones has created economies of scale and their resultant efficient route-planning systems seek to minimise time, expense and environmental impact. Proponents of online shopping argue that one van delivering purchased items to many houses is better than many home-owners making individual trips to the shops and back.
Choosing our partners
We select our suppliers with care
It makes little sense to try to run a business ethically if our suppliers don’t subscribe to the same values. In the PC components market, there are many specialist suppliers and sometimes if you need to source a specific product or technology, choice can be surprisingly limited. Before a supplier can be contracted to Quiet PC, we undergo a process of evaluation to determine how much of an asset the supplier will be to our brand, reputation and product portfolio.
Since Quiet PC was founded in 2000, we have sourced products from companies varying in size from one-man bands to instantly-recognisable household names. Morals and ethics affect everyone, and even the big boys can care more than you might think about these issues. For example, for the last five years Intel have been engaged in a programme to reduce their reliance on precious minerals which are controlled by warlords in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Feel free to watch their video.