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Having spent a number of months reading and researching the true state of the climate crisis (“The Uninhabitable Earth” is a fantastically well researched but depressing place to start on your journey) Ben Rudman (my fellow co-founder) and I felt that decarbonising our business needed to be a central strategy for us going forwards. Our 20th anniversary was also a suitable time for reflection around what the legacy of the next 20 years should really be about.
And so, our Net Carbon Negative pledge was born. With immediate effect, MMT Digital is becoming Net Carbon Negative; we will reduce our carbon footprint over time but also commit to offset more CO2 than we produce.
Having only started work on this strategy over the summer I’m pleased with what we’ve been able to launch in time for Q4. It’s just the start with much more work needed on the carbon reduction aspects.
Our strategy is made up of six steps which focus on the reduction and offsetting of our company footprint, supporting our people in reducing and offsetting their personal footprint and reporting transparently on all our sustainability activities to our clients.
1. Modelling and understanding our base CO2 footprint
This has really helped us to understand where and how we can make the largest differences in reducing our footprint. We now know that our base CO2 footprint (which we call our “2018 Base Emissions”) is 3.7 tons per person per year. Or just under 650 tons per year at our current headcount.
2. Reducing our CO2 footprint
Quick wins for us here have been switching to a 100% renewable energy supplier in the offices, installing electric vehicle charging points and some simple switches to more sustainable suppliers. This is clearly an ongoing battle to reduce our actual footprint as low as we can as quickly as possible.
3. Offsetting at our base CO2 level
Our commitment is to continue to offset at our base emissions level of 3.7 tons per person per year no matter how low we can get our actual footprint, becoming a Net Carbon Negative company in 2020.
4. Supporting and incentivising our people
For staff that want to offset their personal or family emissions we are rolling out a scheme that enables them to do this tax free and with a 50% financial contribution from MMT. The salary sacrifice scheme offers tax free offsetting on up to 5.3* tons of CO2 per year. In addition, we are rolling out a salary sacrifice scheme for leasing electric vehicles and have been a long-time supporter of the Cycle To Work scheme.
5. Personal Activity Tracking
We’ve created a simple model and a personal log for staff to add any carbon reduction and additional offsetting activities that they do outside of work (e.g. change of diet, family offsetting, buying an EV, switching to renewable energy, etc) so that we’ll be able to report on both the company impact and our people’s personal impact. That way everyone feels like they are making more of a difference and helping to encourage and inspire others in a fun way through a community.
Our plan is to report quarterly to clients on the carbon footprint of their workstream. The goal is to help spread awareness to our clients on what we are doing and to see if we can align with their own endeavours in this area (or help boost them!).
As we want to do all we can to support and encourage other organisations to join our Net Carbon Negative Movement, we are sharing all our models, trackers and logs as a downloadable starter pack. Click here to find out more about our pledge and download the pack.
We’ll start to report on the impact of our progress from January next year, presenting our company carbon reduction and offsetting initiatives, reporting on the impact that our people are having outside of work and through the salary sacrifice scheme.
My hope is that our sector can decarbonise very quickly and become a shining example of low-carbon, commercially successful businesses. In tandem, it would be fantastic to see our sector shaping the way that technology can be used by other organisations to decarbonise as part of their own digital transformations. Alarmed by the situation as we are, we hope that other businesses will want to reduce their impact on the world we inhabit and join our Net Carbon Negative Movement.
*This is based on a figure of 9 tons per year in the UK minus the 3.7 tons that the company is offsetting anyway. Actually, the footprint in the UK is down to around 6.5 tons per person but as offsetting isn’t expensive (and NOT the answer but a good thing to support) we’re sticking with the older, higher figure so that we have more of an impact.