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Five things we’ve done to get started on our net zero journey

Working towards net zero isn’t an easy task – there’s a lot to learn and loads to do. 

We’ve found that the best way to make progress is to split tasks into really manageable chunks and to be transparent about our successes, challenges and lessons learned.

So, we thought we’d write a blog post doing just that: breaking down our net zero journey to date into five steps that any company can replicate.

We know that we’ve got a long way to go, but we’re on a mission to make every aspect of our company more sustainable, and hopefully encourage other companies to do the same.

1. Joining Tech Zero 

One of our very first steps was joining Tech Zero, a group co-founded by Tech Nation and Bulb. This was really helpful as they have loads of great resources, including a Tech Zero Toolkit that demystifies climate jargon and makes getting started feel much less daunting. 

The group is really collaborative: we’ve learnt from other tech companies who are slightly further in their journey, and taken part in a Climate Action Workshop where a range of businesses shared their strategies and recommendations.

We’d really recommend joining Tech Zero if you haven’t already – they recently hit 275 members which is an exciting milestone.

2. Starting a sustainability committee

Inspired by being a part of the Tech Zero taskforce, we started a sustainability committee to get cracking with setting and reaching our targets. We now have 10 members and hold meetings every other week to keep things on track. 

We’ve found it really useful having members in each team, as it makes sure we get insights from different departments and can embed a sustainability mindset across the entire business.

You don’t need to have a team of sustainability experts, you just need a group of people at your company who want to make a difference.

3. Calculating our base year footprint 

The next big thing to do was to calculate our base year footprint: the total CO2 emissions we released as a company over 2021. We have to admit this seemed overwhelming at first, but with the help of Future Learn’s carbon calculator and a big team effort, we worked out our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions.

When we calculate our emissions for the coming year, we’re going to take a look at our method and see if we can increase our accuracy, but it was great to see our estimated emissions and find out our biggest areas of impact.  

Our main piece of advice to other companies would be to get started on this as soon as you can. As we always say, you can’t reduce or offset emissions until you’ve measured what’s actually being used!

4. Reducing our footprint

We’ve taken some simple steps to make sustainability a day-to-day priority for everyone in our team.

  • Offering a cycle to work scheme with the Green Commute Initiative (GCI)
  • Creating a more efficient recycling scheme in the office and encouraging employees to go paperless where possible
  • Switching off appliances when they’re not in use and asking employees to clean out their inbox 

We’ve also built the next-generation version of our platform on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform – a much more sustainable alternative to our previous hosting provider. Microsoft has committed to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025, which means that our future work will have a way smaller carbon footprint.

5. Creating a sustainability report 

One of our main goals from the start was to prove that any company can take steps to become more sustainable. We decided that creating a sustainability report would be a great way to be transparent about our net zero journey.

It has also helped us to focus on what we’ve achieved so far, and what we want to do next. With a clearer picture of our overall impact, we can now set more detailed reduction strategies and have them validated by a third party such as the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi).

We’re also going to be offsetting our 2021 emissions and looking more closely at how we can optimize our supply chain.

Creating the report was a big step in the right direction, and we’re excited to keep you updated with our progress!

How to get started on your net zero journey?

Working towards net zero is going to be slightly different for every company, but we hope that this blog post gives you some ideas for getting started.

If you’d like to find out how you could reduce your office emissions, get in touch with one of our experts today.

 

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