Style Observer

Cocktails With... Leanne Spence

Sunday, September 15, 2019

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Leanne Spence Co-principal of Instant-Save Conservation

“Water Warrior” Leanne Spence is the co-principal of Instant-Save Conservation. It's an environmental business that provides water efficiency solutions that help people reduce their water, sewerage and energy use by assessing and retrofitting properties with high-efficiency plumbing fixtures and systems. These result in lower utility bills and improved resource management. The Holy Childhood High School alumna and her business partner/father Richard Spence are in their fifth year of operation and are continuing to make impressive strides.

SO catches up with Spence at The Deck over glasses of Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum with tonic and fresh lime juice.

How do you respond to being called a “Water Warrior”?

With a big smile! We should all be water warriors.

Describe what it's like working with your dad, Richard.

Instant-Save is the brainchild of my dad. Working with him has been extremely rewarding; he is one of my mentors and biggest cheerleader.

What did you do before?

I was in the MBA programme at the Mona School of Business and Management at The University of the West Indies, Mona studying International Business. Before business school, I was a product development and training manager at Coldax Mart Limited — a supplier of educational equipment and technology solutions that help teachers to enrich the learning experience.

What have been some of the best experiences of being an entrepreneur?

Learning from our clients how our solutions have impacted their organisations and lives, then translating this to the impact we are having on the environment ie millions of gallons of water saved.

Accessing a grant from the Development Bank of Jamaica supported by the Caribbean Climate Innovation Centre of the Caribbean was definitely validation. Most recently, being asked to share our approach to improving water management at the water forum amongst an esteemed panel including Minister Pearnel Charles Jnr, Senator Aubyn Hill, Professor Michael Taylor and Stephen Edwards.

What are some of your environmental pet peeves?

When persons take natural resources for granted or make themselves feel that their individual actions to prevent water wastage or other environmental challenges don't matter in the bigger picture. There is power in each of us to affect positive environmental change.

Conservation has become quite the buzzword lately. But for those who don't know, how would you describe the term?

As it relates to the environment, it refers to efforts towards protection and preservation of our natural resources such as developing good habits and behaviours which prevent wasteful use of natural resources.

It's important that we make a distinction between conservation and efficiency. We strongly encourage conservation and changing mindsets but advocate for efficiency, which refers to using technologies, improved processes and systems to achieve conservation outcomes without depending on changing behaviour, which can be very difficult to do.

Do you believe that environmental businesses are a necessity?

Absolutely! We have entered what Professor Michael Taylor calls the “New Climate Era,” one that is unpredictable and extreme. The problems we seek to solve are complex, they need foresight, innovation, new thinking and dynamism and require multiple approaches from all sectors in Jamaica.

In the same light, every business should be environmental; that is, ensuring their decisions and behaviours are developed with sustainability at the forefront.

What three simple steps could our readers take to be more environmentally conscious?

1. Build your understanding of the environmental issues that exist by keeping in the know, doing research, staying current on environmental news, and attending seminars.

2. Examine your current behaviours and lifestyle: are there areas you can improve in, such as reducing your water and energy use, recycling, etc? Once you are informed, start taking action.

3. Share this urgency with your family, friends, community to create projects that tackle environmental issues you are facing.

In your estimation, how long should our showers last?

What's important is that you are using an efficient showerhead. Showerheads that use between 1.25 and less than two gallons per minute are considered efficient, eg a 10-minute shower with a flow rate of 3 gallons per minute uses 30 gallons of water. With an efficient fixture, the same 10-minute shower with a flow rate of 1.25 gallons per minute will use 12.5 gallons (less than half the amount) without compromising comfort or water pressure.

How do you stay motivated?

By keeping the bigger picture in mind. The day-to-day operations can often be tough, but I constantly remind myself of what we are trying to achieve. I also surround myself with people who are big thinkers like my family and close friends without whom my success would not be possible.


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