Sustainable operations and green transport with Ingrid Van Veen.

At Guild Living, we are committed to simple, thoughtful ideas that have a big impact on the future of our planet, like eliminating food waste and single-use plastics. You might be thinking this sounds great but, how will Guild Living make this happen?

To discover more about how our day-to-day running of the communities can help to achieve our goals, we spoke to Ingrid Van Veen, Community Operations Director at Guild Living.

How can we ensure Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a part of everything we do at Guild Living?

It really starts with creating a culture. As a new company, we have a great opportunity to embed sustainability in all aspects from the very beginning. For instance, it should be integrated into employment, so people are aware of our values and have this as a focus when joining the team. During recruitment, CSR must be shown as important through job descriptions, training and onboarding. It is also important that we engage with our Members before they move in, to understand their personal motivations for contributing to the environment and make our goals relevant to them. After all, this generation can really help look out for the planet for the next generation.

Tell us a little bit about Guild Living’s goals for reducing waste within its communities.

When we open, our goal will be to keep waste to a minimum – and to create a culture that encourages this within our team. This will be a challenge, as we will be working with people who live with us, who have their own households and will make their own choices. What we can do, as we do with staff, is to explain our aims to people and make reducing waste fun and easy.

How will we make sustainable operations simple?

By providing simple waste separation and recycling as much as we can and supporting Members with waste collection. Also, by organising quarterly clean up days, where we help Members to organise and manage what they no longer want by recycling, reusing, or donating to charity. We can also celebrate those who have gone that extra mile to reduce waste, put on events or courses on environmental impact, and run workshops with local organisations on creating new items from waste. We will also choose our private waste collectors based on whether they will help us positively manage waste. we help manage the waste of members by supporting them with the collection.

From disposable knives and forks to everyday cups, single-use plastic is a huge problem. What other things will we be doing at Guild Living to reduce single-use materials?

We will ensure we do as much as possible to reduce, reuse and recycle – and make sure everyone is well informed from the start. We will also operate with a ‘no single-use plastic’ policy within all of our Guild Living communities. Other ideas we have are to provide water fountains and reusable water bottles. Choosing suppliers that use the least amount of packaging will also be a great way to reduce waste.

Nothing is more important than doing our part and making a difference. What is the key focus for Guild Living’s waste management plan and how do you plan to achieve this?

We will make every effort to reduce waste through food and beverage. Members will have an exciting option to either order fresh produce from the kitchen to cook themselves through Guild Fresh, or to order off the menu to eat in their apartment through Guild Home. To avoid increasing waste in the home, we will serve food on reusable, environmentally-friendly crockery (or even the Member’s own if they prefer!).

Food waste is a huge problem, but one that can be solved with a little planning. How can we ensure food doesn’t go to waste?

Food waste is all about portion management. Having a chef who works with fresh food, who carefully plans the menu, and is well-organised so that ingredients are all used up, is essential. Choosing suppliers located close by allows you to order by the day, which avoids over ordering. We will also offer the menu in different portion sizes, so diners can choose depending on their appetite that day. This will reduce the cost for the diner, encourages a sharing social dining experience and reduces waste.

Talk to us about transport at Guild Living.

We will be doing absolutely everything possible to make sure our transportation at Guild Living is as green as possible. Everything from choosing suppliers that use electric vehicles, to offering electric car sharing schemes and charging points on site. Living in a city centre location, Members will also have the benefit of easily accessing to public transport and could walk to shops and other amenities.

A car sharing scheme? Tell us more!

We will have electric cars on site readily available for Members to hire hassle-free. Not only will the scheme reduce our carbon emissions, but it will also provide members with flexibility and opportunity to go on day trips. It will also remove any maintenance worries of owning and parking a vehicle. Through our community services, we will also run a timetabled mini-shuttle service, that would also be available to hire privately.

Walking and cycling are some of the purest forms of transportation when it comes to saving the planet. How will Guild Living support Members who are able to, and would prefer to do this?

Our communities will organise walking tours and nature walks, great for overall wellbeing and encourage an active lifestyle and environmental-friendly thinking.


To find out more about Guild Living’s commitments to Sustainable Operations and Green Transport click here