Is climate change something you’re passionate about or do you wonder ‘I’m only 1 person, what difference can I make?’. Don’t be ashamed if it’s the latter, I know I’ve said this to myself on many occasions but the reality is if everyone who said that to themselves acted, then combined we could make a noticeable difference.
We as individuals and the organisations we work for could be doing very much more. The return to offices and ‘normal’ life is on the horizon so why don’t we choose now to start thinking about what we can change.
If like us you are part of the tech industry, you may feel like this is an impossible task, seeing as this industry alone contributes to 2% of the global CO2 emissions. Did you know that is the same as the aviation industry? Shocking huh! When I heard this statistic I thought ‘how can tech contribute that much??’. The thing is, when I thought of our industry I hadn’t considered the embedded emissions - these are the emissions being emitted during the manufacture of devices/hardware. I would make a point of saying that if you included the embedded emissions of the aviation industry in their total emissions then the figure for aviation would be much higher but still, I think it’s food for thought.
Another staggering statistic is that the tech industry is on track to be responsible for consuming 20% of the world’s electricity by 2030. And if you’re into Cryptocurrency, did you know that Bitcoin mining in China will exceed energy consumption of 181 countries by 2024? We can’t shy away from it anymore, we have to make a change, in every industry but particularly in tech, and we have to make it now!
The Coronavirus pandemic forced many organisations to re-considering how they operated in order to survive through an extremely tough and unprecedented time, and that goes to show we can adapt (and very quickly for that matter) when necessary. The misconception about climate change is that we need to make drastic changes to our lives and these drastic changes will cost us greatly financially, but that simply isn’t true. Don’t get me wrong there are more drastic changes that NEED to be made but the small changes are just as important and most of the small changes you won’t even notice! Here’s a few of those minor changes for you to consider:
1. Talk about it
A conversation is all it takes, it’s as simple as that. If you are concerned about climate change and feel that you or your organisation could make some changes then have a chat about it. Find out if there are other like minded people around you, offer to do some research. It has to start with someone and that someone could be you.
2. Appoint someone to lead the revolution!
Encourage your organisation to appoint a ‘Sustainability Chief’. We all quickly appointed someone to lead GDPR compliance in our businesses so why not this?
3. Calculate your organisation's carbon footprint
The B Impact Assessment Tool can help you calculate an organisation's impact on its workers, community, environment and customers. Use this data to realistically decide what you need to do to change your impact.
You can also check how your website is impacting the planet….did you even consider your website was a problem? Use the Website Carbon Calculator now and see how yours fairs.
4. Create an internal policy
This will keep you and the company focused on the end goal and will stop you just having ‘another meeting’! The policy could include:
- Recycling, and even composting. Does the office split the waste into recyclable and non recyclable, do you use a waste service that takes it all and splits it for you? Composting is generally associated with your garden or outdoor spaces but you can compost in the office or at home even if you don’t have an outdoor space. Get a compost bin in the office or your house - they seal, they don’t smell and even if your council doesn’t provide a collection service you can find someone who will want its contents. There is an app called Share Waste which will put you in touch with people locally.
- A water dispenser over plastic bottled water. If your organization likes to provide bottled water for staff or clients then why not change to a dispenser? Or encourage the use of reusable water bottles that can be filled from the tap. In the UK clean running water is readily available to us so take advantage of it.
- Choose low carbon travel options. The obvious choice is to use a bike if you are travelling locally but trains are a great option for longer journeys. This option can be slightly more expensive than the traditional methods of driving or flying and yes, they do generally take longer, but imagine how much work you can achieve while on route. You’ll also feel great knowing you’re helping the environment.
- Try plant based catering for office meetings. We know plant based options are better for the environment so why not introduce something new to everyone, you never know, it may even convert a few non-believers!
- Don’t stream your music. Streaming music into the office or home for 8 hours per day, over the 21 working days of an average month equates to the same amount of CO2 per month as driving 19.6 miles in an average passenger vehicle! Just download it, it’s quick and easy.
Nothing happens overnight but as I said at the start, we only have 10 years until the changes to the climate are irreversible, so the changes need to start now to give them time to work.
The things we have highlighted today are easily implemented and are a great start towards us all making the bigger changes needed. Once you start being more environmentally aware you’ll be driven to make more changes, and who can fault you for that?!
Thanks for taking the time to read this and if you have an idea you want to discuss with us then don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’re always here to help.
Special thanks to former team member Natalia Waniczek who inspired the post through her talk at the virtual 'MKGN #36 - The Sustainability Special' conference.
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