Digital marketing is almost entirely delivered through the internet, which means that, as an industry, even though individual end users might only be creating a small carbon footprint with a laptop and a space to sit, we’re in a high carbon footprint industry. It’s important then to do all we can to improve on the sustainability of our business, in terms of carbon footprint, impact on the local economy and remaining on the comfortable side of the line when it comes to making ethical and environmentally sympathetic decisions for the business.
We signed up with Zellar in 2022 to help us audit our current levels of sustainability, so were delighted when they said they’d love to talk to us about the measures we’d already taken to improve our carbon footprint as we do business.
Zellar is an organisation that provides software to help businesses calculate their emissions and claim a sustainability score and profile, helping businesses to tackle the ‘cost of doing business’ crisis.
We were introduced to Zellar by our CRF grant officer and took advantage of a subsidised account through a scheme offered by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. Inputting our details to start the account was a really useful and enlightening experience. It made us mindfully look at how we address sustainability in our business, and where we have areas of improvement to make.
Zellar sent a team out to meet us in our Bakewell offices to interview us. This fab film is one of the results of this interview, and we have also been featured as a case study on their website, which you can read more of here.
Consumers are increasingly demanding much more of brands in terms of sustainability. So it’s been very much a part of our professional lives for many years as we steer our clients through this journey. As a supplier into these businesses, we thought that this notion of doing business that is sustainable, ethical and environmentally sympathetic should apply to us too.
We’ve been involved in volunteering on local projects in the community such as getting involved in a local allotment clear up to provide a community garden. Our Managing Director, Debbie Porter, is a keen allotment gardener, and the grow your own movement is one that has been gaining popularity since the late-90s. Growing your own food helps reduce food miles which is something Debbie has already been doing for more than 15 years but our office waste also plays a part in the life of the allotment too. All waste paper and cardboard produced by the business is destined for reuse in the allotment. Brown cardboard and unbleached papers can be shredded and added to compost, they can be used in a no-dig gardening technique which feeds the soil to keep it healthy (and is also quite fashionable at the moment too!).
We’ve made changes to the way we travel, and the amount of travelling we do when keeping contact with our clients. This has played a big part in reducing our carbon footprint. Travelling less is also helps hugely with giving us back more time that was previously otherwise spent travelling, so there are efficiencies to be had there too.
As well as dealing with paper-based waste, we also recycle our print cartridges and batteries in schemes that raise cash for charities. We’ve also made changes to our energy consuming devices and have energy saving policies in place. Our environmental policies are embedded as part of the induction process for new employees also.
We made an environmentally conscious choice when we moved into our offices. Our business is hosted as a tenant within the Peak District National Park headquarters. The building is heated via a biomass stove that runs on wood pellets, which is a more sustainable source of energy that doesn’t burn fossil fuels. There are also solar panels on the roof that feed into the electricity consumption by the building and there is an EV charging station on site, which is a great recent addition.
Having our business located here also means that we fall under the umbrella of the Peak Park HQ’s sustainability policies in relation to our tenancy in the offices, which has helped us make great strides forward in how our carbon footprint profile looks already.
From a local community point of view, we also seek to hire within the local economy, which is both useful for offering local people work, but we also choose to outsource work locally as well. Sustainability for us is also about investing in the local economy to help local people and local businesses in our opinion. So we have a ‘local first’ policy when it comes to choosing how and who to outsource to.
Our goals for the future include making further gains where we can, to trim off areas that are not as sustainable as they could be. We’ve already donated money to plant trees in tree planting schemes, and have donated money to local charities too, but we’d be looking to do more to share the time and resources we have for the benefit of others. We are already in discussions with a local charity, and have a number of conversations in development with business support agencies in the region to broaden our reach, which will help us with these goals.
Environmental concerns will continue to assert themselves for all businesses, and we already work with a lot of brands that are on their own sustainability journeys. Clients HECK and Mr Fothergill’s have each been on a journey to reduce plastic waste in their packaging and products for instance, and we’ve been by their side through this.
The carbon footprint of websites is a growing area of interest which is an issue highlighted after concerns were raised about the environmental and carbon footprint impacts of cryptocurrencies and how they are produced. Online shopping via website obviously reduces the carbon footprint of lots of individual car journeys made by shoppers, but websites are an always on facility that’s powered by electricity in huge data centres. So it’s a logical next step to examine the impact of a brand’s digital footprint, and that would include our own.
Another client, Faith In Nature, have also taken a world first step in appointing nature to their board to help them consider environmental, social, ethical and sustainable concerns in every decision they make as a business. This is a very bold and exciting move for them. Sustainability and ethical practise for them has always been at the heart of what they do. They’re hoping that other businesses will follow suit. Of course making the headlines in 2022 was Yvon Chouinard’s decision to give up his family’s ownership of Patagonia in order to pledge their stake into a trust that would use the profit to fight climate change.
It is moves like this that provide others with an abundance of opportunity to help them cast a spotlight on areas of improvement for their own businesses. Sustainability is a journey that is achieved in incremental steps so we need to take baby steps, and not punish ourselves that our strides are not great enough. We all have areas of our businesses that still need strengthening, and by working collaboratively together to find solutions that will help us collectively reduce our carbon footprints, we can make the impact that we hold in our aspirational thinking.
If you’d like help with digital marketing, ads management, SEO, copywriting, websites, branding or social media management… or anything else related to the internet and digital, then get in touch with us. We’re a friendly bunch.