- Following the global climate strikes and the UN Climate Action Summit this week, addressing climate change is at the forefront more than ever before.
- More than 2,000 businesses in Australia and New Zealand signed up to the Not Business as Usual Campaign in support of their workers who turned up to the strikes.
- We spoke to Linktree, Stone & Wood, Future Super and Sendle – all of whom signed up to the campaign – about how they are addressing climate change on a day-to-day basis.
In support of the Global Climate Strike – a week of action to demand climate justice, from September 20 to 27 – Pedestrian Group is doubling down on content that educates and empowers you to do your bit for our planet. Click here to learn more about the global movement fighting for our future.
Climate change action has never been more important.
The strike took place in the lead-up to the UN Climate Action Summit held this week, where 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg made an emotional speech about the lack of serious action being taken to address climate change.
Surrounding the global strike was the Not Business as Usual Campaign, where businesses in Australia and New Zealand were encouraged to support workers who wished to take part in the protests.
More than 2,800 businesses and organisations signed up to the campaign, including Atlassian and Canva.
We caught up with four companies that signed the pledge to see what else they are doing to address climate change within their business.
Fossil fuel-free superannuation company Future Super is on a mission to make superannuation investment synonymous with climate action. Managing Director Kirstin Hunter told Business Insider Australia that it makes sure every company it invests in is screened on both its ethical and financial merit.
“We won’t invest super into coal, oil or gas — leading sources of climate change — as well as any banks that finance fossil fuels, and companies that provide polluters with essential services,” Hunter said.
“Instead we focus on industries and companies that are sustainable and ethical such as renewable energy, recycling, resource conservation, efficient transportation, green IT and ethical animal treatment.”
Hunter added that the average member has reduced their carbon footprint by almost 12 tonnes a year by having their super with Future Super.
On a large scale, the company takes part in the Impact Investment Group Solar Asset Fund (SAF), which invests in new solar farms around Australia. It also closed its business to support the climate strike on September 20.
“We knew for our own staff that work would have been the number one reason they might not attend the strike so we wanted to remove that barrier and make it known our employees did not have to choose between a paycheck and the planet,” Hunter said.
On a more day-to-day basis, Future Super offers its workers reusable KeepCups and has Slack channels to share tips for vegan cooking and plastic-free living.
Stone and Wood Brewing Co.
Byron Bay based brewer Stone & Wood has a company wide “Green Feet” program which focuses on reducing water and energy usage.
James Perrin, Sustainability Manager of Stone & Wood Brewing Co said the company has done a lot to make its breweries more sustainable. “Everything from boiler and refrigeration upgrades, which have drastically reduced our energy usage, installing the biggest solar system we could on our roof [and] implementing reusable cups at events,” he said.
Perrin added that Stone & Wood also pays a premium to ensure its packaging waste is recycled, despite it being cheaper to put the waste in landfill.
On top of sustainability, one of the biggest factors for the company, Perrin said, was its “local ethos”.
“Over 50% of our beer is sold within a three-hour drive of our brewery, and most of our suppliers are within that too. For us, it’s about sourcing and supporting locally and as our business continues to grow we continue to maintain that local ethos; so we’re not just growing by shipping our beer further, we’re growing by selling more locally.”
Sendle is Australia’s first 100% carbon neutral delivery service. Since it started back in 2014, it has offset the carbon emissions generated by every parcel its customers have sent or delivered.
So far, the company has offset more than six billion kilometres of parcel deliveries – the equivalent of driving a one tonne truck from Earth to Pluto.
Sendle is also on track to be the first parcel delivery company in Australia to offer fully compostable satchels made from corn starch and binding resin. At the end of their life the satchels can be placed in a home garden as food for worms.
Sendle CEO James Chin Moody told Business Insider Australia that the company was “built on the belief that businesses can be sustainable and successful at the same time.”
And sustainability is something he said customers demand.
“Consumers are 63% more likely to choose your product when you’re taking sustainability into account, so our focus on sustainability has been important to us and the small businesses we serve since day one,” Moody said.
“Ultimately, we want to see a world where we all take responsibility. We would love to see every parcel in Australia delivered without impacting the environment.”
The company chose to sign up for the Not Business as Usual campaign as it felt like a natural extension of how it does business.
“It doesn’t have to be a choice between saving money and doing good for the environment and society. You can save money and the environment at the same time,” Moody said.
On a bigger scale, each year, Sendle’s community of business owners are given the chance to vote on which projects its carbon offsetting will support for the next 12 months.
This year, it is supporting the Myamyn Conservation Project in Australia – which protects the natural habitat of vulnerable and endangered native species – and the Madre de Dios Amazon Conservation project in Peru, which so far has protected 4.7 million trees in the rainforest.
At Linktree, workers are encouraged to ride or walk to work where possible. The company made sure it has enough space for bike parking and when it first looked for its new office space, it made sure it was close to a public transport line. In addition, each new starter is also given a KeepCup, reusable metal straws and a canvas tote bag.
To support of the climate strike, Linktree closed its offices across Melbourne, Sydney, London and Los Angeles.
“The responsibility to address the climate change crisis we find ourselves right now does not fall solely on the shoulders of Australia’s students and activists but all of us,” Linktree co-founder and creative director Nick Humphreys said.
“As a business, it’s also important that our staff know that we support them.”
Humphreys added that addressing climate change is of utmost importance to the business.
“We’re already seeing first hand the effects that climate change is already beginning to affect entire ecosystems and communities,” he said. “In Australia, we’re in the midst of what has been described as one of the worst droughts on record and, on a global scale, are seeing entire communities have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to extreme weather events and limited natural resources.”
Globally, Linktree has put in work to address the fires in the Amazon rainforest. It partnered with the not-for-profit organisation One Tree Planted where, for the month of September, Linktree will plant one tree every time someone signs up or upgrades to a Linktree PRO account. It plans to extend the initiative beyond September.