An Edgeryders sustainability policy?

Hi everyone,

this idea to create a company sustainability policy still resounds in my head. Well, policy… a voluntary but shared commitment? :smiley:

In any case, the distinctiveness of Edgeryders makes it a challenge in many senses. We are living in different countries, we don’t produce phisical objects, there is already a project to make The Reef more sustainable… so, what could we do?

In the post where this idea was firstly brought out we suggested to adopt the rule of three days out minimum to travel for a meeting, in order to reduce our main emissions coming from travels. Is it something that we really want to do?

More than that, I was thinking about a greener procurement: are our suppliers committed to sustainability? Are our partners working on this in their own companies/institutions/etc.? Are they working on social responsibility too?

I’d like to discuss it with you out there.

@alberto @hugi @inge @johncoate @matthias @nadia @natalia_skoczylas @noemi

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Count me in!

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I’m assuming loads of whats being chosen to do, is already is with sustainability in mind. But I 100% agree that it’s a great idea to do it consciously/with a checklist (?) as a company, having some sort of manifesto?

Hm, not sure which method works best - we don’t want to make things overly bureaucratic :wink: - but if you know of any best practices?

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Yes, I think we’re already pretty conscious in our choices. I see here two things to decide: the form of the document we want to have and what we want to put in it.

For the first one, my idea is closer to a manifesto than to a set of rules. I actually imagine it like a compass to indicate the desired direction to follow, but with the freedom and flexibility to adjust if sometimes there is no ideal option. What do you think about that?

For the second part, maybe we can start talking about travels. I know we all love to do it and see people face to face it’s better in so many ways, but sometimes it’s just a waste of time, energy and we contribute to pollution for maybe a 2-hours meeting.

In the previous post @matthias talked about technical solutions to adopt in order to avoid travels. Do you think is regularly feasable?

Also, we could choose a lower impact transport - like train instead of airplane if the distance is not huge and it doesn’t take so much time. Moreover, choosing transport companies who are working on their sustainability policy, compensating emissions, for example, or updating their vehicles or using less polluting fuels.

The same thing could be done in choosing the hotel/house we stay in during the travel. Do they care about climate and environmental issues?

I’ll now say something controversial, but even if I use and like Airbnb for some reasons, we all know that it’s contributing to the gentrification of many cities. This is something I want to have in mind too, social responsibility.

I think we can set our goals high and do our best :slight_smile:

I found this Sustainability Yearbook, where a lot of companies are rated for their environmental policies. There are sections about airlines, banks, utilities, etc. Maybe it could be a starting point!

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Worth thinking about. To a first approximation, we already killed commuting, so it is reasonable to assume that almost 100% of ER’s direct emissions come from business travel.

Curbing travel might happen by encouraging people to “make every trip count”: take time to socialize with your host; curate proper documentation and reflection; and, yes, privilege overland transport. In western Europe this is not such a stretch.

I am also wary of absolute rules. I think people should use their judgment. Maybe we could think of a peer review: before traveling, people could ask a colleague, and the colleague could play devil’s advocate, helping the would-be traveler to explore possible alternatives.

Also, we could also invoke “company policy” to dodge meetings we don’t want to go to. :wink:

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I totally agree. And I like the peer review system! Sounds like a good strategy for improvement and it’s playful too.

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Hi everyone!

Thanks to an article from The Guardian, I discovered this initiative that is called Climate Perks, which aims to facilitate and encourage the use of less pollutant ways of transportation (basically, trains) for companies.

Here’s how it works: the company committs to offer paid “journey days” on top of annual holiday allowances when employees opt to travel sustainably; the employee is therefore encouraged to take the train because s-he knows not to lose any day while travelling.

Of course, this is not something directly applicable to Edgeryders, but maybe we can treasure this initiative of giving rewards; also, we could ask our partners to committ to the same game.

What do you think? :slight_smile:

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Next time I come over I’ll come by sailboat.

But seriously. I made 7 Edgeryder trips to Europe/Morocco/Turkey in a year and a half. That was a lot - more than a trip per quarter. I always stay more than three days though. 2-3 weeks is more my way. I loved being with everyone but it got me thinking I had hit a kind of limit at least for awhile. Maybe by November I’ll be ready again.

Greta is actually doing it :smile: Or, maybe, you can just move here!

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Hi everyone, I share with you an interesting initiative, it’s called we stay on the ground (https://westayontheground.blogspot.com/p/flight-free-2020.html).

The idea behind it is that changing our behaviour is easier if lots of people around us do the same.
They are collecting pledges from individuals that won’t use planes in 2020 IF 100.000 other peoples will do so in their country. Smart!
BTW I pledged :slight_smile:

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Hi Augusto!

Wow… well, an entire year without flights is a remarkable committment. Well done and good for all of us :slight_smile:

I must admit I doubt that this is feasable for a company like Edgeryders, who is composed by people living in every corner of Europe and beyond (like @johncoate) and working on a similar playground. But, as I said, I think we must look at a desirable direction, which this example represents. So, thank you.

But I’m curious now: how do you plan to keep the pledge? Have you a strategy?

Well, my current work is around Italy so I can move by train and for the holidays we have a small baby and again committing to staying in Italy for the summer is not such a big deal for us at the moment.
If by chance my work will require me to travel far away in 2020…I’ll figure out something. But at the moment I think I can manage to avoid flights in 2020.
By the way this year also I didn’t fly so this task is not so hard for me at least in the short-medium term.

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I read someplace that the Internet now consumes as much energy and produces as much carbon as the airline industry worldwide. If that is true and we all abandon flying to use streaming video for meetings that too will have a carbon implication.

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Yes, that’s absolutely true. I found this article and this infographic that talk about it.

But how can we reduce our emissions produced from the web? What I see here as a possible improvement is use search engines like Ecosia or companies that are making their servers more sustainable, using renewable energy for example. Also, we can make good use of an ecology of communication: send less, fuller, more efficient messages.

I think we can do something to reduce our emissions in this field (so thank you for bringing the theme out) but, as we base our activities on it, maybe we can do better on different subjects :wink:

I switched to Ecosia. I think the massive growth in streaming video, especially Netflix and YouTube et al are a big reason for the massive carbon footprint. And those traffic numbers are growing fast.

But don’t look to the USA for any leadership on this front. Our executive leader and his party are too busy denying climate change blaming all of our problems on Mexicans in Chinese and encouraging us to address problems with violence.

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For Edgeryders work, I do not think it is realistic to go cold turkey with “total” pledges. We are too global still.

But we could still curb our business travel emissions by 75% or more. The Brussels contingent is especially lucky, because we are in the middle of everything, with good rail and bus connections.

Here’s my idea:

  • We build a good wiki with resources for overland traveling. I have been particularly vexed with the bad experience of buying multicountry train tickets online vis-a-vis doing the same thing with flights. @matthias can probably help here. If that turns out to be unsolvable, we make a contract with a good travel agency in Brussels (or Tallinn).
  • We dream up an “office everywhere” kit, that makes it comfortable to work while on trains and buses. On long trips, for example, I take with me The Roost and an external keyboard. The kit could also include things like travel pillows and noise-cancelling headphones (@nadia’s favourite). The idea is: you can use long train/bus rides to work, or play, or whatever, they are not “dead zones”. We could even consider subsidizing some of those items for Edgeryders folks. In some cases they can be shared: at the BXL office we have several travel power adapters, for example.
  • We make a company policy of “make it matter”, by encouraging trips of at least three nights out. This will (a) encourage us to travel less and (b) build more solid relationship with clients, partners and the people we travel to see, thereby helping us substitute conference calls for meetings in the long run.
  • And of course we do not insist on people taking 40 EUR Ryanair flights.

What do you think?

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Wiki started! :slight_smile:

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Hey folks.

Based on what I know about your org, I think you’ll find the resources here useful:

I got chatting with Tom at Wholegrain digital a while back, about their own Sustainability policy, and we got talking about making it available via CC-BY for others to use as a basis. We’re now planning to use at the Green Web Foundation, and it might be useful for you two.

I’ve done this with contracts before to generate some basic terms I used for consulting work, and it seems a nice way to spread the cost of developing policy at an smaller org level. Wholegrain digital does hosting as well as consulting but a lot of it seems directly relevant.

Also, this post I put together recently might be useful, to get an idea of the tooling available where your emissions hot spots might be:

https://www.thegreenwebfoundation.org/news/place-policy-procurement-more-levers-for-a-lower-carbon-internet/

In Brussels on Aug 29th

Also, I have a cheeky, but related favour to ask.

I’m heading through Brussels on the way to this Green Hacker Camp thing in Essen on Aug 30th:

https://blog.netzbegruenung.de/hackcamp/

But… Eurostar tickets are waaaay more expensive on Friday than Thursday.

So, I’m thinking I might:

  1. buy a ticket on Thursday Aug 29th, from the UK to Brussels
  2. work in Brussels
  3. stay overnight somewhere in the city
  4. continue on to the Green Hacker camp to arrive in Essen at 3-4pm, where I’ll be working on some climate/tech related projects.

It seems it might be a nice chance to physically meet some of you too, if we’re in the same city.

Do you folks have recommendations for a desk or somewhere for an afternoon? Is there a chance to visit the Reef to see what it looks like?

Thanks,

Chris

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