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5 clear steps to achieve your sustainability goals

Marcus Hemsley

April 6, 2022   Digital Strategy

During such a challenging time, with costs skyrocketing for brands and therefore consumers, adding the complexity of solving the sustainability conundrum can feel daunting. It also has the potential to end up taking you down rabbit holes.

In our ecommerce report ‘From Carbon to Cookies: Assessing the ecommerce marketing landscape in 2022 & beyond,’ we outline how consumers are demanding retailers to demonstrate how they are responding to the climate crisis. To help you with this, I thought I would share with you some of the work I have been doing with my colleagues on the BIMA sustainability council.

Our aim is to give businesses 5 clear steps that they can follow to respond in a bold and appropriate way to the climate emergency – I hope you find them helpful:

  1. Offset your carbon footprint and start drawing down CO₂

    The first thing to do is start to draw down greenhouse gases. According to our research, nearly two-thirds of consumers search out brands with a sustainable agenda. You can take action on your current impact right away and look to offset your carbon impact by planting trees through companies like Ecologi. As an example, you can see our forest here – https://ecologi.com/fountainpartnership.

    Businesses can use Ecologi’s API and plant trees with every purchase through platforms like Shopify. A tree costs £0.24p. This could help increase your conversion rate, potentially giving you a business case to do this, in addition to an ethical one.  

  2. Measure your current impact

    Once you’ve started offsetting and drawing down CO₂, you can begin the race to zero emissions. To achieve this, you need to understand your current emissions and create a plan that will help you achieve net-zero in the first instance. This free course will help you do this: 

    https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/how-to-measure-reduce-and-offset-your-companys-carbon-footprint 

  3. Reduce your emissions

    Now you have measured your current emissions, you can set about your agenda, strategy and tactics to reduce them. You’ll be given a lot of advice in the free course listed above, however, the first place to start is switching to a 100% renewable energy supplier, such as Ecotricity. If you want to engage your employees as well, Octopus EV offers a salary sacrifice scheme to lease Electric cars for up to 40% less.   

    For ecommerce, an area not to forget is how green your site is and to do this, you can use https://www.websitecarbon.com/ to have an understanding of the impact your website is having on the environment. The other thing you should consider is your moving to 100% renewable hosting. Our recommendation is to use Krystal Hosting (https://krystal.uk/) – beyond having green hosting, they use their profits to plant trees

    Finally, there are a whole array of tools for your teams to use, which can be found here – https://thegreenpages.bima.co.uk/ 

  4. Go Beyond our own emissions

    It’s great that you’re on the path to net-zero, but the truth is not everyone is doing this, so we need to go way beyond our carbon footprints. Not many people realise this, but even if we were to stop all emissions today, we would still need to draw down the 2.5 trillion tonnes of CO₂e that humanity has put into our atmosphere to have a safe and habitable planet. We therefore will need to take ownership of our lifetime emissions and those of others who are not taking action. 

    Last year after COP26, I gave a TEDx Talk discussing this and the need to be ‘good ancestors’ not just ‘good business people’: 

    What Will Future Generations Say About You?

    In 2021, Fountain Partnership co-founded The Million Tree Pledge, where businesses pledge to plant one million trees each. One million trees planted will absorb enough CO₂ each year to cover the carbon footprint of 1,200 people in the UK or 40 businesses the same size as Fountain.

    Another option when it comes to going beyond, and being a business that is driven by purpose and not just profit, is looking at B-Corp Certification. While you can do this yourself, there are plenty of consultants, advisers and community groups out there to support you.

  5. Influence your world and mobilise your customers

    Now it is time to spread the word. If we want to achieve cutting global emissions by 50% in the next eight years, we are all going to have to influence our own world. By this I mean mobilising your customers, your suppliers and your ecosystem to all push towards your goals. We have to work together to do this, and all businesses have a big part to play. 

    We believe that brands that take bold action and aim to inspire their network will allow us to succeed in hitting this target. It will also increase a greater engagement with your customers as they look to businesses to help them drive change within their own lives. There is likely to be a big first mover advantage in being bold here. 

    I know this is a much-talked-about subject, and I hope the above gives some inspiration as to what you can do, as well as the steps you can take to help you on your journey. As you can tell, I am passionate about this topic, so please feel free to reach out to me and we will happily have a chat and see how I can help you on your sustainability journey. 

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