Steven Day: Creating a carbon conscious business culture

Last month, Pure Planet did something that, as far as we know, no other business in the UK has ever done: gave all staff a carbon-free commute to and from work.

We achieved this by carbon offsetting every one of our 80 staff members’ individual journeys, saving 480 metric tonnes of CO2 every year.

We thought carefully about how to present this to our team, and were keen to emphasize that the organisation buying carbon credits without any further change in behaviour is not the solution to long-term CO2 reduction.

However, highlighting the impact of commuting gives us a platform to challenge ourselves to reduce the overall amount we need to offset year-on-year. Our aim is to one day not need offsets at all.

We annually challenge the workforce to undertake a carbon-free commute; this year, three colleagues paddled in six miles along a canal, and made it in good time for their meetings.

Pure Planet staff are already encouraged and supported to be as environmentally friendly as possible. For example, we encourage employees to work flexibly and, where people do need to commute to our office in the centre of Bath, we provide the support needed to make this journey in a sustainable way.

We have a very popular cycle-to-work scheme, which makes it cheaper and easier to buy a variety of bikes, including e-bikes, and have the cost deducted from pre-tax salary. I can vouch for this scheme personally, having recently bought an electric bike.

Those using public transport are able to access interest-free train season tickets and discounted bus tickets.

We also have an electric-only car policy, which means that our staff who may not live on a train or bus route can still get to us in a very Pure Planet way: cleanly, cheaply and easily.

These ideas are not, in themselves, complicated or costly to implement and many of them have clear benefits. For example, we support staff in rural areas to car share, which reduces both CO2 and cost, and we encourage those who live locally to walk, which has additional health benefits.

Pure Planet has built a reputation around offering greener, cheaper, easier energy. Our staff are all active in their ideas for the environment, keen that we promote a smart, sustainable lifestyle in office as well as well as for our customers.

By supporting our staff with green pensions, vegan catering, green cars, green bikes, and now our carbon offset commute, we believe that we are promoting a happy culture of sustainable innovation.

Steven Day is co-founder of renewable energy business Pure Planet