HartDixon takes part in Thames21 Clean Up! An interview with Jackie Buckley and Emma Halliday

News | February 14, 2023

5 min read

hart dixon london
thames21 london
london waterways
river thames london

Thames21 is the voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife.

Q1: Putting Healthy Rivers at the Heart of the Community is the mission statement for Thames21, what motivated HartDixon to undertake a volunteering project like this one?

Since undertaking and achieving ISO 14001, we’ve been motivated to get involved in a community activity that would positively impact the city and the environment. As so much of our work is based in London, it made sense to us to do a group activity here. It gives staff a sense of achievement and with this specific volunteering activity, a wider idea of what goes on in our waterways.

Q2: What makes this a good fit for the HartDixon brand and its team?

In an industry that makes up around 70% of the global wealth, we recognise our role in helping to correct and balance negative impacts on the environment through taking positive action ourselves. Our clients are active in the environmental, social and governance agenda to ensure their impacts are addressed and by undertaking volunteering activities like this, we can play our part in helping them achieve their goals too.

Q3: How much did you know about the organisation before you took part?

Thames21 was recommended to us as an organisation, so we didn’t know huge amounts but having got to know them better and subsequently going on our volunteering day, we’re impressed with the work they do and the changes they’re making to the river. It takes dedication to spend the day cleaning up dirty wet wipes and other types of detritus found along the river bank!

Q4: How would you describe the day and the project, now that you have been part of it?

It was interesting. The Thames21 team joined us while we collected trash and explained exactly why there’s so much rubbish in the river at the moment – wet wipes being the worst offenders! You truly wouldn’t believe the amount we disposed of! They shared anecdotes about some of the most interesting finds to date, including the Battersea Shield dating back to the Iron Age.

As a team we collected roughly 80 black bags of rubbish, walking up and down a short stretch of the River Thames in Battersea.  We were shocked at how much litter was actually in the Thames that had either been dumped or flushed into the waterways. 

As a group activity, it was a brilliant way for the team to bond and share a volunteering experience.

Q5: How many of the team members took part? What was their experience of the day?

There were 17 of us in total, everyone enjoyed it. Some of the team found intact pieces of an old ceramic smoking pipe.

Q6: HartDixon has an environmental policy with admirable objectives aligned with the UN SDGs. How does this specific initiative tie in? Has this project helped you worked towards achieving your goals?

This year we have finalised our carbon reduction plan and it will be launched in the summer 2023. Driven by undertaking our ISO4001 certification only a few years ago, we signed up for a number of UN Sustainable Development Goals, one of them being Goal 15 ‘Life on Land’. Whilst the Thames21 volunteering day was just one small step, we know that every little helps!

Q7: Looking to the future do you think you will do many more like this? Will you do the Thames21 initiative again – if so why?

We will do one of Thames21 events in the future. They offer some great sustainable events that are in line with our UN sustainable development goals, and as a team, we all thoroughly enjoyed doing a group activity which felt like we were giving something back. 

We spoke with David Courtneidge from Thames21 about the day.

“The HartDixon crew were a great team, excited to engage on environmental issues affecting the Thames and London’s rivers more broadly. They spent a half day on the foreshore at Battersea Bridge collecting litter comprising mainly of wet wipes, collecting over 80 bags in total. Many were understandably shocked by the number of wet wipes and other litter items on the foreshore, and saw it as an eye-opening event. 

This site collects thousands of wet wipes on an almost daily basis, and we at Thames21 have been working for a long time to mitigate the harmful effects of these plastics entering the river ecosystem. With teams like Hart Dixon, we can engage with passionate people and get important messages out about the need to improve the state of our rivers! 

We really enjoyed this event, and Thames21 will be looking forward to engaging with the staff at Hart Dixon again in the future.”