Doing Our Bit: Startle's Pledge to the Planet

Posted:

August 13, 2020

Author:

Adam Castleton

Startle’s CEO, Adam, shares our commitment to becoming a more environmentally friendly business, and the steps we're taking to make a positive difference.

It’s undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an economic and humanitarian disaster, but I’m one to look for silver linings. After wrangling with the ramifications of lockdown, like many, I was forced to stop, slow down and notice the little things in life. 

I spent more time at home with my family and more time in nature. I started to appreciate life that little bit more, and care about the things that truly matter. This unique perspective is something that we will not experience again.

It’s been almost 30 years since Michael Jackson sang Earth Song, and I can’t help but feel disappointed in the progress that humanity has made since then. I want good to come from the pain of 2020 - and there’s no better time to get the world in shape.

I’ve been a closet environmentalist for the last couple of years. I’m by no means perfect, but I’m 90% vegetarian, an Oatly convert, wear Allbirds and organic cotton, and rub micro silver into my armpits!

I’m proud to have built Startle into what it is today, with an incredibly low environmental footprint. Our team doesn’t have to commute, we run on energy efficient hardware that’s manufactured in the UK, and our Norwich office is a certified Passivhaus, nestled in natural parkland. 

But we do have an environmental footprint, and that's uncomfortable for me. An environmental footprint is a cost, and a cost should be beared by the people creating the footprint - not mindlessly left for future generations to absorb.

We took the lockdown downtime to focus “on” (not “in”) the business, improving our product, systems and processes. I’m delighted that one of those projects was to become ISO 14001 certified for measuring, managing and improving our environmental impact.

Our Ecologi profile, as of August 2020

Our Pledge

While we have the “hoods” up on our businesses, I think it’s the right time to make a “pledge to the planet”. Here’s ours:

  • Immediately, we will offset the entire carbon footprint of all Startle employees, including emissions from their home, holidays, travel and food. To achieve this, we’re working with Ecologi to invest in tree plantation and carbon reduction projects.
  • By December 2020 we will plant an additional 10,000 trees and offset an additional 200 tonnes of CO2, because we want to (as Billie Piper would say). That’s 10x that of our team’s actual carbon footprint.
  • We’re working to become carbon neutral, but aim to go beyond achieving net zero carbon emissions by December 2021. We will work with an independent assessor to measure and certify our carbon negative status.
  • In the meantime, we will review our entire supply chain to ensure we’re working with companies that share our values and follow good environmental practices. We will also review and implement internal policy changes to promote sustainable behaviours within our team. And through the use of our services, proactively help our customers to reduce their environmental footprint by offering alternatives to print, and implementing energy saving initiatives such as remotely switching off their digital signage screens overnight.
  • And we will talk publicly and proudly about what we are doing to be an environmentally positive organisation, so expect to hear more about what we’re up to.

We’re not going to change the world alone, but with collective action we can make a big difference. I hope, if anything, you feel inspired to do something similar at home and in your workplace.

Adam

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