In the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic, we have taken two big steps forward in line with our strategy for corporate environmental sustainability.
Firstly, we are now a carbon neutral company, thanks to the analysis and offsetting that we have done via Carbon Neutral. This means that the carbon emissions that we produced as a byproduct of our operations is being offset through the use of Gold Standard certified offsets – which in our case means biodiverse planting in the Yarra Yarra Biodiversity Corridor in Western Australia (around 400km north of Perth).
As you can see from our summary graph from the assessment report (shown on the right), our carbon dioxide emissions totalled up to 38.03 tonnes, across a range of different areas, but primarily from our commutes to work and our air travel (which we offset through the airlines own carbon offset approaches).
This whole “commuting” part made us think more broadly around our emissions, and especially so in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had our teams working primarily from home. When thinking about carbon emissions under this new way of working, we realised that there was a positive to this – this means that our “staff commuting” total has certainly reduced. However, at the same time, our staff are actually at home more than they are usually, so there must also be some more emissions produced there that we also are at least partially responsible for.
Hence our second initiative – we became a partner with ClimateClever, in order to assist our staff in managing their own home emissions – and through this we have purchased each of our staff a membership to the Home version of the app. We discuss a bit more of the detail behind the reasons why we went down this path with the ClimateClever team in an article that you can find over on their LinkedIn page.
ClimateClever’s approach is a three-step process – Measure, Examine and Action. Through this approach, our team can first Measure what their carbon footprint is (and compare it with others, including amongst our team), then undertake an Audit in their own homes to see what they have in place, and finally, take real and positive Action to systematically reduce their carbon footprint. You can see how this works in the ClimateClever introduction video, embedded below.
Our team are steadily working through their Measure stage of the process, working through their home bills and finding ways to reduce their carbon footprint, and to make the world just a little bit better.
These are just the first two new initiatives that you will see coming from us over the 2020-21 Financial year that relate to our environmental sustainability. For example, we are working on new policies – for example, to reduce that air travel component as much as possible through virtual meetings – and we have several new initiatives to get our clients involved in this journey towards carbon neutrality.
Of course, our existing policies don’t change – including small actions such as purchasing sustainable office products (like our new pens, which are primarily made from wheat waste), to much larger ones, like choosing Amazon Web Services as our cloud provider because of their commitment to achieving 100% renewable energy.
In summing up, I think I said it best in the ClimateClever piece:
Making these changes is important to me, it’s important for our staff, it’s important for their children – and it’s important for our planet. Without those things, we don’t have a company. So it is obvious for me personally, and for our company collectively, that action needs to be taken.
These sorts of approaches are all why I used the word “Gaia” in our business name – to remind us that we’re all part of the same complex system that is this planet and we need to think holistically about how we improve our part in that system.
Throughout the rest of this financial year, we will be implementing more ways to make the world a better place through our sustainability strategy, and we will be inviting our clients and suppliers to come on this journey with us. If you’d like to know more, then get in touch with me directly, and let’s make a difference together.