If your organisation is serious about fighting climate change, it needs formalised, collective action. Here’s what we’ve learned from this work at TPXimpact.
TPXimpact was formed to balance profit and purpose, considering people, planet and community in everything we do. Since the formation of the company, recognition and awareness has grown enormously of the harm humans are doing to the planet’s climate and ecology. This has pushed us to rethink what it means to be a 21st century organisation: we need to leave the planet in a better place than we found it.
As part of this work, we set up an internal climate group with representatives of each team in the company using a sort of civic lottery process to ensure diversity. We jokingly named ourselves the Group that Reacts to the Emergency that Threatens us All, or GRETA for short, and got to work.
Our objective was to find ways to reduce our impact on the planet and be the voice of climate change in the company. We discussed everything from the use of post-its in workshops to how we measure a project’s carbon footprint.
As the pandemic hit, it became increasingly difficult to put aside time to work on this. We needed to build more momentum, so we reflected on the process and decided to start again. We’ve gone through a few versions since then.
So what are we actually doing?
When we first started, we discussed reducing train trips to client sites, buying less supplies, calculating the footprints of websites we built for clients, and encouraging our colleagues to reduce waste. But we felt overwhelmed by all the challenges and opportunities and couldn’t decide where to start.
Once we visualised an overview of potential areas of work, it felt much clearer and helped us focus. We asked each person in the group what they were most interested in working on, and formed smaller teams for each topic so we could each focus on something whilst knowing that we are collectively covering all opportunities.
These opportunities are focused around our employees, the organisation, and our clients and partners.
The employee level of our plan is about empowering staff to take action by:
The organisation level of our plan is about leaving no trace by measuring our current emissions, reducing them, offsetting the rest, and addressing our ecological impact through our partnership with Rewilding Britain.
The company decided to invest in doing this by hiring specialist staff and collaborating with expert organisations. You can read more about what we have done in our annual report.
The clients and partners level of our plan is about driving change in our industry by:
We now have small teams within our climate action group working in each one of these areas, with the autonomy to make decisions and the support of the rest of the group as well as the wider company.
As we developed this model, we realised it is generic enough that it can be replicated in most organisations. So if you’re looking to set up your own climate action group, here is our advice on how to get started.
We didn’t get it right the first time. We keep evolving as we go but here is what we have learned so far.
To run a climate action group, it helps to:
Keep in mind you might not need to ask for permission to get started. None of us had sustainability in our job titles. We are still trying things out, and we know we won’t get everything right but we are choosing to act and learn as we go.
We want to share our journey openly so we can inspire and support others to go through their own change and take action for the climate. This is only the start. We don’t have all the answers so we would love to learn from you as well.
How have you enabled climate action in your organisation? And what did you learn along the way? Share your thoughts with us on social media, we’d love to keep the conversation going.