Earth Day 2024: The Green Team & BCorp

Published on April 20, 2024 by Charlotte Black

It’s Earth Day on 22nd April, which for us has layers of meaning.

 

First and foremost, it is a yearly appreciation of the earth and its environment. A chance to pause and reflect on the fact we co-exist with Earth and we need to take care of it as much as it takes care of us. This day gives us all an opportunity to share resources and learn from each other on the steps we take to protect our planet.

At Footprint Digital, Earth Day also marks two years of our ‘Green Team’, the champions of impact and sustainability within Footprint Digital. April 2023 was also the month we became a BCorporation.

It’s safe to say that it’s a great time of year for us.

Accountability

You’re probably asking – so what? This is just one day of the year. And you’re right, giving a sh*t about the Earth one day a year isn’t enough. Even before BCorp, we followed the mantra “progress not perfection” to drive us forward and keep the momentum going. In keeping with B Lab UK’s theme, becoming a BCorp is part of our journey, but it’s by no means our destination.

One big part of giving a sh*t and being a BCorp is holding ourselves accountable. So, in this blog you can find our journey so far and what we aim to do in the future. This is here for our team, clients and community to know we’re committing to improving and show them our journey; by sharing this online we are holding ourselves accountable to you, our people and the planet.

Becoming a BCorp

When we started our BCorp Accreditation journey, we were looking at the movement as a framework to understand how we could improve our impact on people, profit and planet. We didn’t intend to go through the accreditation process from the get go.

This still rings true today, we learnt so much about our own business through the B Impact Assessment. Creating our first annual impact report helped formulate a 3 year plan of how and where we aim to make progress.  

In our sphere, data is what we are built on, it’s our bread and butter, and it’s how we develop insights and grow our clients’ businesses. We learnt that if we wanted to be better, we needed a true picture of where we are now.

We now have a measurement framework on how we ‘Humanise Digital’, create an environment for our team to ‘Learn, Play and Grow’ as well as targets to reduce our physical impact. We consulted and shared this with our team to hold us accountable and invite collaboration and criticism. We are now 1 year through the 3 year goals and can already see the benefits from our actions!

Writing it down

Developing our policies and ‘How to’ guides was our next step to truly reflect how we want to embed sustainability and our values into the way we work.

Sustainability at work

We created a “Footprint Digital’s Guide to Sustainability at Work” that encompassed all the tips and tricks that reduce or are conscious of the digital and physical space that we work with on a daily basis. This included:

  • Reducing energy consumption at work 
  • How to switch to dark mode on the tools and apps that we use
  • How to turn off email notifications for when everyone accepts a meeting with you
  • A list of restaurants that are supply chain conscious for when we go for lunch with clients

Ethical Client Policy

Creating an ethical client policy was by far the most challenging. We wanted to create a guideline of businesses we want to work with, and how we know when to say no. Creating something representing a group of 30 people made it hard to know where our collective “line” to draw was.

The answer came back to what evidence we could find. Our framework now adopts guidance from the B Lab statement on controversial issues and might ask questions such as:

  • “Is the project we are working on perpetuating human rights violations?”
  • “Is there a substantial risk that their products or services are tied to or complicit in human rights violations”.
  • We may also ask: “Does the organisation treat its workers well?”.

This also includes the screening of existing clients, where we ask:

  • Do we enjoy working with them and do they treat us with respect?
  • Are we the right fit for them and able to fulfil their needs?
  • Are they generally profitable?

Within this, we also created the “no asshole” rule. It’s important that our employees feel comfortable telling us when they are not being treated fairly by our clients. Plus, defining what an asshole was gave us our Managing Director, Tom, a fun afternoon.

Our physical impact

Being an SME that operates predominantly in the digital space, our physical impact isn’t full of large supply chains, the realms of what we can control being on the smaller side. We audited what we have and focused on:

  • Having ethically and locally sourced office supplies
  • Collaborating with other BCorps such as Honest Mobile and Reboxed for our teams phones
  • Measuring and benchmarking our energy usage and moving to a renewable energy provider
  • Creating a break area in the office so we can all step away from our desks into the ‘Creative Corner’

Embracing the BCorp community

It’s no doubt that ‘community’ is so closely linked with being a BCorp. We have learnt so much from the people in this space, knowledge sharing, networking and finding ways to collaborate to use business for good.

Some of our favourites have been:

  • Attending B Socials East events to meet other Essex based BCorps
  • Partnering with more BCorp businesses – shout out to the wonderful people in our BCorp Alliance 
  • Supporting other people starting their BCorp journey, paying forward the great support we received in our own journey

Going forward

Of course there is still a lot to do! We are looking to the future and endeavour to keep learning new ways of striving for progress. Here are a few things we are excited to work on this year:

  • Increase our dedication to education internally to drive the growth of our team 
  • Continue to spread the word about Digital Sustainability, and helping more businesses minimise the carbon footprint their website produces through the Digital Carbon Footprint Audit
  • Include Digital Sustainability checks in all of our reporting for clients
  • In tandem with the new website (watch this space!), develop a clear navigation system to be the point of truth for all Footprint policies, supporting new and existing team members in their onboarding and progression

It’s with that that we invite you all to collaborate with us, be our critical friends and join us on the journey for progress.