BWT Case Study : The Highcrest Academy
What is the difference between BWT and other similar companies? A recent joint venture with The Highcrest Academy in High Wycombe serves to highlight that they are more than just a .They may be part of an international group that delivers world class patented organisations across the globe. Yet to Highcrest they are a partner, someone that the school can work with to ensure they have the right products and services across the school site. “Working together is so important” states Gary Garland, the National sales Manager at BWT. “There is no point trying to force a solution on to a school that they can ill afford with the likely result it ends up depriving the school of valuable resources in the classroom or one that fails to meet their needs.”
Understanding the needs of the school, its students, and staff, can only be achieved by listening and learning from the previous experience of both parties. “Products need to be suited to the environment and still be affordable or there is no point” adds Nigel Walker, Highcrest’s Business Manager. “Of course, we like to buy cost effectively, in fact, it’s essential but this can’t be at the cost of living with substandard goods or services. After working alongside Gary and his team, I am happy to say that we were able to agree on a solution that is tailored to our needs, including that all important bottom line.”
It is one thing deciding on a solution but ensuring it works and remains relevant is another and one, many companies simply forget but BWT’s close working relationship with the school ensured this did not happen. Which is why in 2019, BWT and the Highcrest Academy launched a new initiative, the ‘Staff and Student Drinking Water Survey’ with the idea of asking students and staff what they thought. The survey was designed in such a way that would not only allow a better understanding of the needs of the school and its people, but also their attitudes towards drinking habits in general and the environment.
Created by BWT’s marketing team, with input from school staff, the survey was made available on-line and in paper form to students in Years 7, 8, and 9 as well as staff themselves. With the results in: there was good news for the school. Students, by their actions, chose water as their favourite drink, pushing Cola into second place, with sugary drinks being a major concern and a contributory factor in the growing trend towards obesity in young people, this simple choice is a major and a welcome step towards student welfare. Further results showed that not only did students understand the problems that plastic waste brings to the environment but the fact they were willing to do something about it; by refilling plastic bottles whilst at school, which to a large part was all made possible by the BWT water coolers installed at the school. It helped the school in creating their own Bottle Free Zone and every refill is potentially one less plastic bottle making its way into a bin and an uncertain recycling future.
Over 73% of respondents said they refill at least once a day, which is 280 refills from the respondents alone. With typically 39 weeks in a school year, you would have an approximate figure in excess of 41,000 potential bottles saved from going to landfill. A government report from 2016 stated that, an estimated 1.53 million tonnes of plastic waste was reported. This was up by 24% since 2010 and 13% since 2014! (1) As shocking as those figures may be, they only further emphasise why reducing the amount of single use plastic is imperative.
The survey highlighted that the school and its students are already aware of this and are working towards making a difference. “As a school and community, we are extremely encouraged by the attitude of our students to recycling and the environment in general. The challenge now is to improve on that and who knows maybe even achieve the accolade of a plastic bottle free zone in the not too distant future” said Nigel.
With the results in both parties were keen to see how the solution they had agreed on was fairing in the minds of a naturally tough audience. A majority of students and staff alike loved the fact that they did not need to top up water bottles in the washrooms. Stressed that they would like additional cooler locations. Whilst some were disappointed that their peers did not always treat the coolers with respect. Crucially, the report meant that the good and not so good could be considered and discussed openly by the school and BWT. This teamwork approach has already shown results as Nigel and Gary plan for the future. By looking at the issues together, means that any ideas and eventual solutions are discussed openly and costed from the beginning, saving unnecessary toing and froing and reducing frustration as ideas are developed.