An Introduction to Corporate Responsibility and Climate Change
In 1994, John Elkington identified the three main areas of corporate responsibility: people, planet and profit. Since then, the planet part of the equation has gradually become more important, as individuals and businesses alike recognise the very real problem of climate change and our impact on the environment.
What is Reddico doing?
Environmental concerns were first raised with the team during a Reddicon event in January 2020. Everyone discussed ways we could reduce our impact on the environment and we went away feeling inspired. Then the pandemic happened...
Once we’d adjusted to life in lockdown, we were able to turn our attention back to all things eco. Beth Tolson (Midweight Content Writer) and Emily Barrington (SEO Executive) both suggested setting up something similar to our charity committee, and the eco committee was created.
Meeting once a fortnight, the committee initially looked at ways office life could be more sustainable, before shifting focus to helping the team make gradual, eco-friendly changes in their own daily lives as everyone continues to work from home.
Formerly known as Offset Earth, Ecologi is a carbon offsetting scheme. You compensate your carbon footprint, which funds climate projects such as planting trees (including reforestation) and carbon reduction schemes, such as providing renewable energy and preserving biological corridors.
Carbon offsets aim to minimise greenhouse gas emissions in order to compensate for excess greenhouse gas emissions generated elsewhere.
At the time of writing, we’ve planted 4,961 trees and contributed towards 449.18 tonnes of carbon reduction. According to Ecologi’s calculation, this is equivalent to any one of the following:
345 long haul flights
1,348 metres squared of sea ice saved
1,114,416 miles driven in a car
We know carbon offsetting isn’t perfect. The trees we’ve paid to plant will take a long time to grow, but we’d like to think we’re contributing towards something the planet will benefit from in future. And it frees us up to make changes with a more immediate impact.
In January 2021, we decided to double our contribution, taking us from being carbon positive to carbon negative. For every person who works here and joins in the future, we’re supporting a program that removes twice the amount of carbon we produce.
Our People and Culture circle recently introduced the rewards program Perkpal, which includes the Cycle Scheme.
The cycle-to-work scheme will allow the team to get bikes and cycling accessories through us, hiring them for an agreed length of time and then buying them for a fraction of their original value. We’ll recover our costs after 12 months and save up to 13.8%, while team members who participate will have an eco-friendly way to commute once it’s safe for our offices to open again.
Last year we conducted a travel survey to calculate our collective carbon savings since Reddico moved to a remote-first working culture. (This shift was prompted by the pandemic, but is something we were moving towards regardless, as it allows us to hire from a wider pool of candidates.)
Everyone was asked how far their commute to the office was, how many days they worked in the office pre-pandemic, and how many days they worked in the office at that time. The survey was sent out in early autumn last year, when it was still possible for the office to be open at a reduced capacity.
At first we were merely curious, but as the responses came in, we realised the results could act as a real motivator for the team.
Remote working figures
We were saving approximately 641KG per week. This equates to 2.5 tonnes a month and 30 tonnes a year!
To calculate these figures, eco committee member Toby Neilson took everybody’s weekly saved mileage (their previous mileage minus their current mileage) and multiplied this by the average Co2 emissions from a standard passenger vehicle, which is 411 grams per mile*. This gave us a rough figure for each team member’s weekly carbon savings.
Of course, this is not scientifically rigorous, as every car pollutes in different manners and at different levels, but it does give us a nice estimate to work with.
For those whose commutes included train travel, Toby calculated the train mileage as producing 14 grams of Co2 per passenger mile** and multiplied this by the weekly mileage difference.
We’re thrilled to see how much of a tangible environmental difference this shift in policy has made.
Our next steps
We’re currently researching how other businesses are doing their bit to become more environmentally friendly, looking into local schemes we could potentially get involved with, and sharing advice with the team about how to be more sustainable day-to-day.
Do you have any policies in place that are relevant to creating a more sustainable work culture? Please get in touch! We’d love to hear your insights.
*This figure is taken from the USA Environmental Protection Agency’s research
**Figures taken from Wired article: “Is holidaying by train really that much better for the environment?