Sustainability is increasingly becoming a key issue for businesses and society in general, as people realise that current industrial, economic and social systems are storing up problems for the future. Sustainability is not about moving backwards, but about looking forward to new, better ways of doing things.
Wholegrain Digital believes in the triple bottom line concept of sustainability, which focuses on three key areas:
- Environmental: reducing environmental damage to levels that can naturally be absorbed by nature
- Social: developing a healthy, fair global and local society
- Financial: creating sustainable business models and stable, prosperous economies
Wholegrain Digital Sustainability Policy
At Wholegrain Digital we aim to do our best to work towards sustainability. We’re not perfect, but it’s something we take very seriously. We have a range of environmental, social and financial strategies that help us to reduce our negative impact and give something positive back to the world.
Wholegrain Digital is proud to be an environmentally responsible company and a Certified B Corporation. We recognise that our operations can affect the local, national and global environment, and we accept our environmental responsibilities beyond the legal and regulatory requirements.
We’re fully committed to reducing our environmental impact by integrating best practices into all our business activities, and continually reviewing our policies and processes. We promote our environmental ethos and values to our staff, and externally to our clients, suppliers and partners. We actively seek to work with people who share our environmental concerns and policies.
Key environmental strategies include:
- Wholegrain Digital intends to minimise its carbon footprint by operating a virtual business structure, centred on our innovative office workspace. This allows our team to work at convenient locations and avoid excess travel. We also encourage the use of environmentally friendly means of transport and aim to use the most efficient, practical means for each journey. We offer all employees free use of London’s Santander Cycles.
- Wherever possible, our stationery is recycled or recyclable, hence minimising its impact on the Earth. We use wood and paper only from sustainable sources where available. Perhaps more importantly, we try to avoid using physical stationery or printing documents as far as possible.
- We reduce by only buying products we need, reuse by using secondhand products where available and selling our unwanted items, and try to recycle or compost as much of our waste as possible (even if this is not always as much as we would like). These steps allow us to actively reduce our waste and dispose of unavoidable waste in a way that minimises its environmental impact.
- All our cleaning products are natural, biodegradable and are bulk purchased where possible to minimise packaging.
- We use low energy appliances wherever available.
- We do not use air travel (until electric flights are available), and instead work with international clients, staff and partners using web communications and travelling over land if required.
- We try to keep our carbon emissions to a minimum and actively track our performance against this objective. We offset all carbon emissions through SolarAid. We also tax ourselves for our carbon emissions, and donate funds to local renewable energy initiatives.
- We develop services that can be delivered with no physical goods production or transportation.
- We comply with and, where possible, exceed current environmental legislation and codes of practice.
- We carry out detailed tracking of our greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.
- We aim to minimise consumption of natural resources, including energy, water and raw materials, as far as economically practicable.
- We assess the environmental impact of all past, current and likely future operations and fully integrate environmental consideration and objectives into our business decisions.
- We adopt best practice and assist, where possible, in developing innovative solutions to the environmental issues and problems facing the web design and development industry.
- We educate staff on the environmental impact of our industry and encourage them to be generally more environmentally responsible. We also encourage staff to engage in our environmental policy, and consult with them to discuss their environmental concerns and pursue new initiatives.
- We encourage awareness of and commitment to improved environmental performance amongst our suppliers and clients.
- We purchase products and services from suppliers that share similar environmental policies to ours inclucing fellow B Corporations.
- We offer support and sponsorship to local organisations, agencies and not-for-profits in relation to environmental issues.
- We use our marketing and communication skills to actively promote environmental sustainability and raise awareness of climate change and the environmental impact of the web.
- We monitor and review our environmental performance, and publish and communicate this to staff and our broader stakeholder network.
Environmental targets: To complement the above initiatives, we have two overarching targets to guide our environmental approach.
- Increase the proportion of our clients’ websites powered by renewable sources to 50% by 2020 and 100% by 2026.
- Strive for carbon neutral status by reducing our carbon emissions from operations by 10% annually, with the aim of becoming a zero carbon business by 2026.
- We value our team. We make sure all team members enjoy their work by giving them every possible opportunity to express themselves, fulfil their potential, and fit their work around other important aspects of their lives.
- We allow flexible working by allowing our team members to choose their own place and time of work. This helps team members maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- We maintain healthy relationships with our customers and accommodate their needs wherever possible.
- We use local suppliers where possible to reduce our carbon footprint and stimulate the local economy.
- We only deal with ethical organisations that treat their staff well.
- We try to create opportunities for young talented individuals with strong ethics and help them to develop their careers by getting them involved in our work and helping to promote them.
- We use fair trade products where appropriate.
- We comply with all equal opportunities laws and regulations.
- We actively promote the benefits of socially responsible business.
- We refuse to work with organisations involved with ethically dubious activities such as military systems, tobacco, junk food, nuclear power, hunting, animal testing and genetically modified crops.
- We bank with The Co-operative Bank because we consider them to be one of the most environmentally and socially responsible banks in the UK, even though ‘ethical bank’ is a bit of an oxymoron.
- We’re committed to building a strong, valuable brand.
- We’ll keep costs to a minimum by virtual operation of the business using modern communication technologies.
- We’ll avoid ethical liabilities by implementing our social and environmental sustainability policies.
- We’ll minimise debt and other financial liabilities.
- We’ll invest in sustainable businesses to help encourage the growth of a sustainable economy, as well as providing the business with a strong long-term investment portfolio.
- We’ll implement simple, effective business systems so that the business runs efficiently without reliance on the specialist knowledge or skills of any one individual.
We review this policy and the way it’s being implemented regularly, and inform staff of any changes to our sustainability policy and practices. All employees are responsible for their adherence to the principles of our sustainability policy.