Carbon Neutral in 2011. Carbon Negative from 2020.
It was interesting to hear the, then current, Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, talk at the end of 2019 about the very real risks of the climate crisis. He went on to say “Companies and industries that are not moving towards zero-carbon emissions will be punished by investors and go bankrupt.”
The ever escalating climate crisis is the defining issue of the 21st century, the very survival of the planet is in our hands. We all have our part to play; whether that is junking the diesel cars, embarking on a tree planting programme or just simply cutting your carbon footprint – now is the time to act. Now is the time to shout about it.
We think companies, big and small, have their part to play and that is why Connected has been on the road to carbon neutrality for over a decade. We have cut CO2 emissions by over 80%: 100% of energy used is renewable, business travel miles are 75%/25% public/private transport – the exact opposite of where it was at the turn of the century. Flexible working for all arrived in 2013, low emissions transport in 2015, and we became carbon negative at the end of 2019.
2021 sees the eleventh anniversary of our environmental policy and reaching carbon negative status in 2020 is a major milestone. But, we think we can do more, so much more that we are now planning to have offset all our carbon output since we founded in 1996. Going further, we want the Connected to play a leading role in driving positive environmental change policy. So, we’re committing to the following:
- We will continue improving and reducing our environmental footprint above and beyond just carbon to include gross consumption, recycling, plastic use, air pollution, fair trade, tax equality, and ethical sourcing.
- We commit to spreading the word on climate issues and supporting individual causes and campaigns. We have always had a soft-spot for the planet we call home and now we’re directly spending a percentage of our turnover to make sure the world can be a better place.
- We are adjusting our working practices and policies to address the climate pinch-points that most businesses face. This includes zero commuting, reduced peak-hour travel, flexible working, home offices, supply-chain management, cloud-delivery of services, low-energy provision of digital services, and peer-to-peer hierarchy.
- Continually review our policy to ensure it is still relevant, up to date and correct. Learning and information changes understanding and we must adapt quickly and decisively.
- We shall not bow down to the gods of growth: Aggressively growing a business is wasteful, so we commit to grow our business organically, sustainably and be here for the long game.
- We commit to increasing our contribution to the planet over the next years and by 2030 we plan to sequester ten times the carbon we produce and recycle/upcycle 90% of what we consume (i.e. close to zero landfill waste).
- We fund the sequestering of carbon dioxide in trees, hedgerows, and plants in the U.K. This is done directly through Forest Carbon and indirectly through donations to The Woodland Trust. Both are UK-based and accredited, environmentally-friendly methods of carbon capture.
- Finally, inspired by Microsoft, we are committed to remove our entire carbon footprint going back to 1996. This is on target to complete in 2025, thereby eradicating any CO2 trace we might have left.
There are always ways we can reduce CO2 output further and we actively look to the longer-term when making choices that affect carbon emissions.
For example, company vehicles cover a maximum 5,000 business miles each year – at an average of 85g/km. We can do better – by 2022 the business mileage is targeted to be 20% lower and average emissions under 50g/km. Rail travel, our preferred method of travel, emits approximately 14g per person per kilometre and the London tube is 9g/km. Average business travel CO2 emissions for the company is projected to fall under 25g/km in 2021.
We are, by quite some margin, the cleanest part of our supply chain, and we are working to “green” the whole shooting match by driving down energy usage at the core of digital service delivery, and by using more efficient suppliers, partners, and services. As of November 2020, the operation of all our server hosting services are carbon neutral via renewable energy. Since March 2020, we moved to 100% home working, reducing the carbon usage footprint of our offices in London and Leeds as close to zero as possible.
First published: 2011-06-14, updated 2020-11-23.