Saving The Planet?….its mostly good news!

Some years back I attended some seminars about the environment and how as business owners we could do more to help safeguard the planet and the future for our descendants. Back in 2014, it was a topic of increasing concern, as it is today, and needless to say, I was excited to be learning new things.
Imagine my surprise when in the Q&A sessions afterwards, with little prior knowledge, I was able to ask a couple of seemingly logical questions that would be of relevance to businesses, neither of which were capable of being answered by the so-called experts. I left both disappointed and hopping mad that people were presumably being paid to lecture others when they hadn’t even bothered to think a little outside the box of their own specialism.
So I vowed then that by the time of the next seminar I would have researched the topic thoroughly and my company would not only have launched a carbon offset mechanism for ourselves, but we would have implemented it and be better than carbon neutral from that date. So April 2014 was our target Save The Planet date.
To say I took matters seriously, and to heart, would be no false claim. I stopped most of my normal strategic activities on SEO and for that month energy was the topic I lived, slept and breathed for several weeks. In the end, out popped a mechanism whereby we could assess our energy consumption, factor in additional elements like staff commuting, plus we added in an extra 5% so we were more than offsetting ongoing consumption. We also factored in the carbon created in manufacturing everything we were using.
From that date, in 2014 our small Online Marketing agency has been carbon neutral. I’d like to think we were amongst the first in the UK, if not the first carbon-neutral marketing agency.

The facts

• The first bit of good news – Its only cost us around £25 per employee per month to achieve this.

• Better still, I’ve totted up the savings made over the last six years and it appears that because when we’ve taken on new staff or acquired businesses we’ve added to our offset, and when people have moved on we haven’t repurposed said investment, we’ve actually over-delivered. Add on the 5% extra we intentionally allowed for plus the savings due to Covid-19 home-working and it turns out we estimate our offsetting has hit 195%. In short, we’ve almost offset employees home usage too. An unexpected bonus.

• In total I estimate we have offset about as much CO2 as 40 homes generate.

• The other good news was that once we’d worked out a plan we were able to switch it on and forget it – as we were intentionally over-delivering we didn’t feel the need to burden the company with a continual overhead of monitoring and reporting.

So that’s the good news, once we’d worked out a system it was easy, quick and inexpensive and even more effective at helping the planet than we could have imagined

So what was the less good news?

• At the time we were in rented accommodation. Accordingly, we had very little say on where or how utility supplies were procured. And as we didn’t own the fabric of the building we had minimal impact on physical energy-saving mechanisms beyond the unpopular “turning the heating down” or shutting windows, or buying the best energy rated appliances etc.

• The other strange factor is that it would appear that all the CO2 we have saved would fit into a space only about half the size of our main office and 15% of our whole building…..or put another way, it would take each member of staff about 50 years to create as much carbon as the space they occupy at work.

This last point was a particular shock as I’d assumed the carbon we’d offset would fill Wembley Stadium!
Overall then we are very pleased with our efforts to Go Green, we’d have liked to offset something we could brag about in terms of size but I guess it just goes to show the importance of us all making just a small difference, as that will over time add up to the big changes needed to Save The Planet.

Stuart Haining
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