Reducing carbon footprint
The global education NGO I work for is beginning to think about how to reduce its carbon footprint. This comes mostly from flights (we're a people business and our business is helping different NGOs learn from each other through conferences, visiting other sites, flying in consultants etc). We've done a lot to increase our virtual work - which is working in some ways, but we're finding it hard to reduce/replace the travel as a result - especially when so much of what we do runs on relationships. I'd love to find examples either of NGOs or businesses where their main footprint is not based on materials/products but rather their travel where they are taking this on in a meaningful way. Additionally, I'd like to learn about how we could use offset projects to further our mission's work - but that's tough to know where to start on... offsets seem like such a minefield. So far, most of my research has yielded grand-sounding sustainability statements or very marginal action which isn't very inspiring. Any pointers or is anyone taking this on in their workplaces?
Don't know of any examples of service organizations that have found innovative ways to significantly reduce their carbon footprint. Hopefully others can help out, would love to know it too.
At Corporate Rebels we have the same issue. Our flights are 96% of our carbon footprint, which is way too high. We are conscious about it, but haven't found a way to properly reduce it. We have decreased our travel by doing less trips by combining various client engagements in close proximity. But to be honest, that decision was made based on time efficiency, not so much on carbon footprint. But it does help us to reduce it.
Further more, as of 2019 we compensate all our carbon footprint through offsetting programs. We decided not to invest in planting trees, because that's not much more than a temporary solution. We have now invested in projects that reduce carbon footprint in other regions. For example, by investing in efficient cooking stoves in Uganda. Here's more info on that: https://www.climateneutralgroup.com/en/climate-projects/efficient-cookstoves-in-uganda/
That's how we compensate all our CO2 emissions. It's a 'compensation', not a proper solution. We still have to figure that out. One of our main objectives: reducing the need for travel by moving towards online business models. To be continued..
Thanks very much for this, Pim. This all sounds similar to the position we are in. We are beginning to research if there are offset projects that directly contribute to the mission of the NGO (e.g. since we're focused on education and leadership development in marginalised communities around the world, perhaps we can ensure that the cooking stoves we invest in, as an example, are in the communities we're working with anyway, so that this is an added benefit to that community of the work we do with them).
That's a damn good thought to make it even more meaningful. Will look into that too in order to align our Corporate Rebels foundation work with such projects. Thanks for that idea!
Any valuable resources you've already come across in your search?
Social capital and social networks are becoming increasingly important in today’s economy at large, and for individuals within organisations. For my MSc dissertation in Organisational Psychology, I researched how newcomers transition into a self-managing organisation (Lee & Edmondson, 2017), an organisation where authority is decentralised and classic manager-subordinate relationships are absent.
It’s all about your people. Now more than ever. But in knee-jerk reactions to the coronavirus many companies are laying off large numbers. I want to shout out to the shareholder-value managers driven by their spreadsheets: “This is not only inhumane. It is bad for your business!”. Why? It will harm your company. Companies that treat their people best in bad times emerged as winners in the past.
"Nothing reveals character like a crisis." We wrote this recently and, as predicted, during the Corona crisis, companies revealed their true colors. Recently, we highlighted the bad. So let's turn to the good, and highlight organizations that not only talk about putting people first, but also walk their talk. Let's applaud those that put their money where their mouth is in difficult times.