Environmental Sustainability Policy

Date of this document:
12 July 2019

This document sets out our environmental sustainability policy and reports on our progress.

 
Ed Hawkins' Climate Spiral - Global temperature averages each month for 167 years. Click through for more info.

Ed Hawkins' Climate Spiral - Global temperature averages each month for 167 years. Click through for more info.

 

Introduction

The healthy and pleasant environment we currently enjoy is not something we can any longer take for granted.

Climate change caused by fossil fuel CO2 emissions, over-consumption of resources, environmental degradation and species loss all pose growing and imminent threats.

Unless we take urgent, systemic, collective and concerted action our children and grand-children will face existential challenges in many dimensions. They will not thank us for our complacency.

Time to wake up!

Cogapp is committed to playing its part and encouraging others to do the same.

Please feel free to adapt this policy for your own situation and, if you do, please let us know how you get on so we can compare notes.

Our Policy

Our policy is to do what we can to help reduce and, if possible, reverse the effects of, excess CO2 emissions, over-consumption of resources and related threats to our environment and influence others to do the same.

  • We will put this policy into effect using an OODA loop: Observe; Orient; Decide; Act.

  • We will observe and measure our environmental impact and our progress with this programme.

  • We will orient through research; investigating ways to reduce, re-use, recycle and offset our own footprint.

  • We will take practical steps to follow through on what we learn. 

  • We will also try to have a wider impact by supporting third-party initiatives and encouraging our clients and associates to adopt similar aims and policies.

  • We will meet regularly to maintain progress and to keep moving round the loop.

Progress to Date

Governance

We have established a Sustainability Working Group which includes two of our directors. This group reports to our board and has the devolved authority and resources to develop and run this programme.

The group meets regularly and has a backlog of tasks managed in Pivotal Tracker.

Measurement

We have measured, at a high level, our energy usage and resource consumption.

Our initial calculations were made using calculators provided by carbonfootprint.com, carboncalculator.org.uk and our utility bills. Since then we have built our own sustainability tracking spreadsheet which uses data from our various energy meters and our travel records combined with standard conversion factors from reliable authorities to calculate approximate CO2e values.

Note: the values we are getting from our own calculations are different from the values we had from the online calculators. But the differences are not so great as to make any difference to the actions we are taking.

We have researched ways to reduce our energy usage, to improve our sources of supply and to offset what we cannot eliminate.

Actions to Date

Based on our observations and research we have taken the following actions: 

  • Improved passive climate control in our studio: insulation to reduce winter heating costs and solar-film to reduce cooling costs.

  • Moved our electricity and gas supply to a green energy supplier. In our case we have moved to Ecotricity.

  • Continued to encourage sustainable travel particularly via take-up of our cycle-to-work scheme and use of public transport for all regular travel to meetings.

  • Reviewed our international travel plans to minimize air travel. Colleagues have recently made trips to conferences in Europe by rail that would previously have been undertaken by air.

  • In 2018 we selected three carbon offset programmes and purchased carbon credits to offset all our emissions on each one. These have a range of integrated ecological and social benefits:

  • Our estimated emissions for 2018 are 29 tons of CO2 equivalent and the total offset from these programmes is 101 tons. So we have a very large margin for error and a correspondingly high degree of confidence that we are fully offset. 

  • We are currently reviewing our offset programme for 2019.

  • We have opened an account with Triodos Bank, a leader in sustainable finance. We are using this to ensure that our working capital and reserves, which can be quite substantial, work as hard as possible for a sustainable future.

    • Every action, no matter how small, sets something in motion. What you do with your money every day makes a difference.

  • We have taken steps to ensure that vegetarian and vegan options are available whenever we cater for an event.

  • We are working to reduce plastic usage including ways to reduce plastic associated with take-away food orders for our catered events.

  • We have conducted an extensive programme of research into aspects of sustainability and reported our findings to colleagues at one our regular ‘Tech Tuesday’ briefing events.

    • There are hundreds of books and websites. From our research a good place to start is Mike Berners-Lee’s book ‘There is No Planet B’.

  • We have continued to recycle as much as possible using an established local supplier. In our case we use Brighton Paper Round.

Next steps

Investigate the feasibility of converting our gas central heating system to electricity.

Finish the review of our carbon offset programme and implement accordingly.

Continue to adapt our practices to reduce the amount of air travel.

Raise consciousness with clients and associates and encourage them to join us. 

Continue our regular sequence of meetings to keep moving round the OODA loop.

Comments and suggestions

If you have any comments or suggestions please let us know using the form on our Contact us page.  We would love to hear from you. 


Designers Accord

In formulating our policy we are grateful for the inspiration and example of others including, notably, Designers Accord.

Led by Valerie Casey, Designers Accord was created in 2007 as a five-year project to mainstream sustainability in the global creative community.

  • Designers Accord proposed five principles for participating organizations to adopt: 

    • Publicly declare participation in the Designers Accord.

    • Initiate a dialogue about environmental and social impact and sustainable alternatives with each and every client. Rework client contracts to favor environmentally and socially responsible design and work processes. Provide strategic and material alternatives for sustainable design.

    • Undertake a program to educate our teams about sustainability and sustainable design.

    • Consider our ethical footprint. Understand the impact of our organizations – from operations to output – and work to measure and manage it on an ongoing basis.

    • Advance the understanding of environmental and social issues from a design perspective by actively contributing to the communal knowledge base for sustainable design.

Our policy has been inspired by these principles.