Reducing Our Environmental Impact

Neil Clark
The Panoply's Planet Officer

The calculation of how long we have left to reduce emissions sufficiently to prevent 1.5 degrees of warming, is known as the climate clock. It has just over a decade left on it, however that figure hides some uncomfortable truths about the way we, in western countries, live. Giki Earth’s research shows that if everyone in the world was responsible for the same emissions as the average person in the US, there would be less than two and half years left on the climate clock. As for the average UK person, it’s just a little over four and a half years. In comparison. If all people on Earth had the same carbon footprint as the average person living in India, there would be over 25 years left on the clock.

We cannot keep underpinning our lives with harmful energy sources, or keep wasting valuable renewable energy. Private companies like The Panoply must lead the way in sustainable business and help our employees lead lives compatible with the finite resources on our planet. As it says in the UN Sustainable Development Goals – we must decouple economic growth from environmental degradation.

Our approach to the planet

Our approach to the planet is summed up as: Leave no trace. We love planet earth and all of the species that inhabit it. We will help it thrive. We will do this by challenging the status quo of how organisations think about their impact on the planet. We will do what we know is right, not just stay ahead of the competition.

This financial year is the first year we have measured our full emissions. Our emissions per £1m revenue is decreasing but our Covid-impacted (e.g. business travel, commuting, office energy use, working from home) emissions have actually increased in Covid times by 12%. We’re now 100’s of offices but our main offices are still running and consuming energy. So we have lots more work to do.

Our offsetting approach

We have continued with our policy of offsetting our emissions via Ecologi Gold Standard Projects such as investment in solar panels in India. Emissions avoidance via offsetting like this is not a perfect solution for well-documented reasons, but it does have a clear positive impact.

We have purchased carbon offsets to the equivalent of 1,915 tCO2e, which is the equivalent of over 7,000,000 miles driven in the average UK car and almost 3,000 flights from London to New York. 

Offsetting cannot be seen as the definitive way to stop causing harm or to undo the harm that has already been done. Reduction is the absolute priority, after which carbon capture and storage is absolutely necessary given the urgency of the climate emergency.

We have now also planted over 16,000 trees, not just for their carbon removal potential. But also as a vital way to help increase the planet’s depleted biodiversity, to support local communities, reduce inequalities and help people reconnect with nature.

Funding and supporting climate action

As a digitally native technology service company, we do not manufacture or sell physical products that negatively impact nature, land use, ecological sensitivity, freshwater availability or water consumption. However, we accept that in order to operate we need buildings and infrastructure, which negatively impact those things. 

We donate time and money to organisations whose aim is to positively impact the systems and societal norms that have devastated our planet and the ecosystems within it. This year we will be donating to Rewilding Britain again. 

Rewilding Britain acts as a catalyst for debate and action and demonstrates the power of working with nature to tackle the extinction crisis and the climate emergency.

By 2030 Rewilding Britain aims to have 30% of Britain’s land and marine territories restored and protected from destructive uses. Currently, only 10% is legally protected for nature and often this protection isn’t working. 

How Covid has affected our environmental impact

The Panoply’s first Commuter Survey was run in April 2021, we had 138 responses and asked people to think about their commuting habits both pre and during Covid. The survey is something we will run annually. There were some interesting results to reflect on this year, particularly in the context of a Global Pandemic. Before Covid, about ¾ of people worked from home less than once a week; there’s a significant change! When people did work from home the vast majority had no one else at home, during Covid that went up to sharing their home with about two other people.

Over half of people either don’t have or don’t know if they have a renewable energy tariff.  We’ll be working on some incentives for green energy tariffs seeing as your houses are now partially offices! In the meantime, remember that not all renewable energy tariffs are created equal and you can find out a bit more about what’s on offer in your local area here: https://www.uswitch.com/gas-electricity/green-energy/

When we are working from home 71% of people use an additional monitor with their laptop and on average people work 8 and half hours a day. In that time we’re spending an average of 3 and half hours a day on video calls.  In the coming year, we’ll be looking into how we can buy more efficient equipment and making sure equipment is working efficiently.

Pre-Covid the average amount people were commuting was 27 miles per day. Using the averages, the whole company combined travels about 5,000 miles a day. That’s enough to get to Baku and back!  Our use of public transport is high but we need to look at ways of improving that further, getting more people on foot and bikes and away from cars (even if they’re electric!)

Our Reduction Strategy

This Financial year we have measured all our emissions and the reduction strategy is currently being worked on and will be communicated as part of our half-year interim results in the Autumn of 2021.  That process has highlighted many opportunities for reduction and will enable us to excel within the new government guidelines for sustainable procurement.

Neil Clark
The Panoply's Planet Officer