Three steps to a more positive environmental impact
This year mondora re-certified as a B Corporation with 122.8 points and a score increase of 17.4. Our main improvements were in the Community section, followed by Customers — which was not available to us previously — and Environment. Since our last certification in 2016 we have worked a lot on improving our environmental footprint, and we have gained an extra 4 points for our efforts. In this post we would like to share the steps we have taken and the best practices we have come up with — and of course we are curious to get some feedback and suggestions for more impact creation!
Here’s how we have focused on improving our environmental impact during the last two years (and what we are still working on).
1. Measuring where we are and knowing where we want to go
One of the most important actions we have taken to improve our environmental impact is definitely that of measuring it! Rather than working directly on improvements, we decided to first assess our current impact in a measurable way, and then work on improving it. Only when we know exactly where we stand, can we work on improving ourselves in a measurable way. So before setting targets and key results we wanted to reach, we worked on gathering as much data as possible.
Electricity and Water Consumption
Data on electricity and water consumption is readily accessed through meters and bills, so it was an easy task to record how much we were consuming. It’s harder to know exactly where electricity is being consumed the most, and we have people working on building the solution to this: soon we will be able to measure the electricity that passes through each plugged in appliance and better understand how we are consuming energy.
Waste and Recycling
It’s not easy to know exactly how much general waste, paper and plastic we are producing each year in the office. Our solution to this has been to…wire the bins! We now have bins that automatically weigh and record waste in real time, and an online dashboard where we can see all the data. At the same time, we formally adhered to the P.E.T. Free World campaign and gave the team a branded reusable dopper bottle so there was no need for single use plastic in the office anymore! We also already had a kitchen in the office, with glasses, mugs and a dishwasher — so there were no plastic cups to eliminate for us, which was a great starting point in going plastic free! Most of the plastic and paper waste we generate comes from food packaging, and we are trying to buy unpackaged items as often as we can, but we still have great room for improvement on this point.
mondora has always been a “paper free” office. We have never had a printer and keep everything online. However, if you take a closer look there is still some paper around the office, mostly in the form of notebooks that people use to jot down ideas whilst working. To encourage everyone to be paper free in the office, we have added RockBooks notebooks to the list of preferred office items that we share with everyone… and perhaps there are some rockbooks for everyone in the post right now? These notebooks are made from rock rather than trees and are proven to be much less harmful to the environment.
Once we assessed, measured and recorded our environmental impact, we were then able to look at the data and set realistic reduction targets, with actionable steps and a shared roadmap to get there. We started out by simply recording our data and targets in a shared Google Sheets document, which we would manually update every quarter. This was however not enough for a software company, so we took things one step further and came up with Spluga, which is a platform that allows you to record your data (or gather it automatically), set targets, see the progress made over time and also receive useful tips on how to improve and what to focus on.
2. Collaborating with our landlord to better manage office facilities
Another fundamental part of improving our environmental impact was collaborating with our landlord to improve existing office facilities. Luckily we have an amazing landlord who is very attentive to environmental issues (that’s why we share the Tyrolean stove exhibition as a co-working space!) so this was relatively straightforward.
The issues we focused on together were:
- changing the electricity provider to B Corp NWG Energia so we could have 100% electricity from certified renewable energy sources
- change all lightbulbs to LED
- use natural light as much as possible by setting up the :m space in an area of the building with plenty of large windows
- make the office greener by adding plants that help clean the air. We have a few at the moment and are in the process of adding lots more.
3. Hiring a farmer to take care of our land — for every 20 employees
Hiring farmers in our software company is one of the staple traits of mondora. This is not a new practice for us, but it is one we have formalised in the past few years: in every employee contract there is a clause by which the employee is responsible for checking that the company really does hire a farmer every 20 people. If the company should fail to hire a farmer, the employee can ask for 5000 euro in compensation for the breach. Now, if 50 employees ask for 5000 euro each because the company has failed to hire a farmer, this becomes far more expensive that hiring the farmer… so the practice of hiring farmers is guaranteed to continue!
Having people who farm the land in our local community creates benefit in various ways:
- employees and their families can enjoy fresh, organic vegetables, cereals and fruits
- employees can work on the farm and learn about biodynamic farming. They will then take this knowledge home and apply it to their own vegetable patch, vineyard or crops, enhancing awareness of sustainable farming practices.
- working without pesticides or chemicals, we are able to promote healthy farming practices and take a small step towards reducing pollution in the area
There’s always room for improvement…
These are the steps we have taken since our previous re-certification in 2016 and that we are measuring and trying to improve on. There are definitely many more areas to look at when it comes to a company’s environmental footprint and we are looking forward to meeting current targets and progressing onto new challenges!
What about you? How is your company impacting the environment? We would love to hear your best practices, ideas and suggestions!