Some of you may know that in recent years – alongside my consultancy – I’ve been working as a professional photographer. In that role, I’m now certified as a Climate Aware Photographer after completing Carbon Literacy Training with Redeye. The course is externally accredited by the Carbon Literacy Trust who have confirmed that I meet all of the requirements of the Carbon Literacy Standard and am regarded as Carbon Literate.
I’m bringing my learning from that experience directly into my cultural consultancy business, and will be making some changes to the way I operate as a result.
As freelancers we need to make environmentally conscious business decisions to take care of our planet. The below summary sets out the actions I’m taking in response to the Climate Emergency and gives clients an idea of what to expect with my approach to projects, ensuring our sustainability values are aligned.
I recognise these actions aren’t perfect – but they’re a step in the right direction. I’ll review this sustainability statement annually in response to data evidence and new opportunities that can help us achieve a greener approach to freelancing.
Digital file creation, storage, privacy
I always power down any digital equipment and will continue to do so. My current supplier claims that its electricity comes from 100% renewable sources (75.3% wind, 3.7% hydro and 21% solar), offsets its carbon emissions and produces no nuclear waste. I’ll be keeping my eye on this and will review these claims every quarter.
Data storage (whether on hardware or in the Cloud) can use a huge amount of energy. I’ll implement a new internal workflow system so that I only save digital files that absolutely need to be kept and won’t save images across devices in the Cloud for any longer than necessary. I’ll review files every fortnight, deleting any that aren’t needed. I’ll build data storage clauses into my terms and conditions, so that all clients have a shorter deadline for file downloads before they’re deleted centrally by me. I’ll continue to monitor which Cloud providers have the best green credentials and will swap if I find a better alternative.
I’ll take any practical steps I can to reduce my web based Co2 emissions through improving the performance of my website. I’ll optimise images and other media content to ensure faster load times, and I’ll avoid using bandwidth-intensive content (like video backgrounds) and auto-play. When my current web hosting platform renewal is due in 2023, I’ll swap to a new green hosting provider.
The cookies that power tracking advertisements generate approximately 11,500 tonnes of Co2 every month (source: Matthew Fuller as referenced by the brilliant Below Radar). I’ll not place paid adverts for my services through companies online who track their consumers through advertisements. I’m currently working towards reducing my reliance on Google and other social media companies that aren’t privacy-friendly. Read more about why this is important.
I’ll apply the ‘leave no trace’ principles when travelling for business. This avoids contributing towards unnecessarily increased footfall. For example, I won’t geo tag images on social media to avoid any negative impact on heritage land and habitats.
Transport and travel
I typically work across the UK and beyond. I’ll actively look for more local and regional opportunities this year to reduce my emissions by travelling fewer miles.
I’ll hold client meetings and briefings on digital platforms wherever possible.
Where the amount of workshop kit I need to carry allows, I’ll travel by train rather than by car. (As an example, Westhoughton to Prescot on train results in 1.04KG Co2 emissions compared with 3.49KG Co2 emissions if I drive).
Where public transport isn’t possible (for example to a rural location, or a location I don’t feel safe travelling to on public transport as a solo female), I’ll car share or hire an electric or hybrid car. I’ll use power charging points which use sustainable green energy suppliers, such as those using the Green Chargemap Pass.
I’ll only stay in hotels that have robust green credentials (for example those which have the green check).
I’ll start saving for an electric vehicle with the aim of swapping my current petrol-fuelled car by 2030. Driving a standard electric car with a standard battery will mean I’m contributing 75g Co2 emissions per kilometre, compared with 214g Co2 emissions per kilometre in a petrol car.
During 2022-2023 and 2023-2024, all projects involving travel and/or accomodation will include an additional flat rate ‘green levy’ fee of £5.00 which I’ll match (one levy per project rather than invoice). Rather than using carbon offsetting schemes I’ll directly donate all green levies collected to The Woodland Trust tree planting scheme as they are doing amazing work in Greater Manchester. (A donation of £137.50 allows them to look after enough woodland to capture and store 5.5 tonnes of Co2, matching the figure of the average UK person’s yearly carbon footprint currently according to government figures. This does not support carbon sequestration projects under the UK Woodland Carbon Code and will not generate offsets. I will review whether to change to a carbon offsetting business programme in 2024-2025).
Materials and kit
I’ll trade or sell any equipment (laptops etc) that’s no longer needed so that the footprint that’s gone into making it goes a little bit further.
I’ll ensure other equipment used in my work (such as paper, post-its) is purchased as recyclable FSC goods and/or is recycled afterwards.
I’ll only work with sustainable processing and production companies who use FSC papers (preferably cotton) to print materials.
I use 2nd class/economy Royal Mail for all deliveries wherever possible. This means only one delivery per day to your area, so there’s less vehicles on the road.
Updated March 2023.