Ross Muir, Jersey Electricity’s head of health, safety and the environment, reflects on a busy year championing the environment
OUR impact on the local environment is a central consideration for JE. From the energy network that serves homes, businesses and other essential services with lowcarbon energy, to the footprint of our business and the tangible difference we can make as a team of employees supporting our community, the environment is a lifeblood running through all of our activities.
POWERING POSITIVE PARTNERSHIPS
This has been a noteworthy year locally with the government launching several incentive schemes to remove carbon from some of our highest emitting sectors – in particular heating and transport – in support of the Carbon Neutral Roadmap.
Both of these sectors are ones where JE can play a pivotal role in reducing our Island’s emissions. Providing a low-carbon, efficient and reliable energy source to power our Island, and supporting the adoption of electric vehicles by ensuring we are providing EV charging options for all drivers, are two ways we are supporting the transition to the zero-carbon future.
For the team at JE, it has been a busy year on the environmental front. We have continued to support several environmental initiatives, which is a core focus of our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.
GROWING HEDGEROWS AND HABITATS
Our Green Grid initiative – working with fellow utility providers JT and Jersey Water – saw teams from the three companies joining together to support the National Trust for Jersey’s campaign to plant and restore the Island’s hedgerows.
The collective group funded and volunteered their time to enhance the existing grid of over 37 miles of hedgerows which will greatly assist Jersey’s wildlife, landscape and natural resources to flourish. As the whips grow, they will provide much-needed corridors for local habitats.
Over eight sessions in winter, 122 employees from the utilities planted 1,788 hedging whips across nine fields and covering 21 field boundaries. Nine further sessions were then held over the summer, with 77 employees clearing away vegetation around the whips to give them the best chance of survival.
This collaboration created a great sense of camaraderie between the three utilities and the project gained a great momentum within JE, with colleagues really enjoying the sessions in St John.
INSPIRING THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS OF THE FUTURE
Learning how we can fight climate change and protect habitats are important lessons for us all, but the value of teaching this to Jersey’s youngsters is huge.
The National Trust for Jersey’s education officer meets thousands of children every year and teaches them about how important our natural environment is through a series of exciting and inspiring events.
We are in our fourth year of supporting the education officer role and are so proud of how the programme has developed.
The trust and JE share a vision to educate Jersey’s children and young people on key environmental issues and empower them to become agents of change. The new bespoke school workshops, which are free of charge, cover five themes: biodiversity, seas, pollinators, woodlands and climate change.
Through these workshops, the students undertake activities which encourage them to learn about the threats to these areas, explore them and take action to help.
Durrell’s Tortoise Takeover captured the imaginations of locals and tourists alike this summer. The public art trail created a true sense of community all around the Island, with the important message of supporting Durrell’s efforts to protect some of the most threatened species on the planet.
JE’s tortoise – Take Your Tern – celebrated the flights of the terns over the ocean and the beauty that birds bring to the world. The artist’s call to action to take better care of our planet, our ocean and our birds resonates with JE’s stance on protecting our environment.
PRIDE OF JERSEY
The annual Pride of Jersey Awards are a celebration of the groups and individuals that make a positive impact in our Island. JE sponsors the Environmentalist of the Year category and, once again, the entries and final three that made the shortlist were fine examples of championing the local environment.
The passion and enthusiasm that came across from the shortlisted entries was phenomenal and illustrates how we are a community that really punches above its weight when it comes to putting our Island and environment first. The winner – Alastair Christie and the Jersey Asian Hornet Group – showcased community involvement, education and awareness, and positive action.
INSPIRING THE ENGINEERS OF THE FUTURE
JE is the local partner for the Primary Engineer initiative, encouraging students to consider what problem they see in the world and how they would fix it through engineering. The competition this year attracted over 900 entries and colleagues played a role in reviewing these entries, visiting schools to talk to students about their ideas, and celebrating the pupils’ creative and open-minded approach to problem solving. This competition helps to bring Science Technology Engineering and Maths to the forefront of education, and we hope it will inspire more pupils to follow engineering and related career paths.
SHAPING THE NEXT 100 YEARS
While we are living in what has been declared a climate emergency, as an Island – from a collective and individual perspective – we are already making important changes to help protect and preserve our environment for future generations.
From the initiatives mentioned above to the beach cleans and other environmental causes we champion through the year, we are dedicated to our Island.
From an individual level, where JE colleagues embrace environmental initiatives, to the company’s commitment to supplying low-carbon energy and increasing Islanders’ access to on-Island renewable energy exported directly back to the grid, JE has a steadfast commitment to helping our local community and the environment.
This is something which we will develop further in our 100th anniversary year in 2024, ensuring we continue to play a pivotal role in supporting our Island, our company and employees by further defining our own environmental commitments.