Olly Willans

Chief People and Planet Officer

Sustainability at Torchbox

Related post categories Culture
2 mins read

We’re taking on the challenge of becoming a truly sustainable business and I'm excited to be leading the drive along with our Climate Voice Group, a nine-strong team of employees driving change around sustainability in our business and personal lives.

In this last year our Climate Voice Group has:

  • Launched Giki Zero - a carbon footprint and behaviour change platform - with subscriptions for everyone at Torchbox that wants to take part.
  • Taken part in Plastic Free July, Veganuary (including an online cook-along), Fairtrade Fortnight, & Zero Waste Week.
  • Started a series of environmental talks kicked off by the environmental filmmaker Ross Harrison talking about his film Forgetting Nature.
  • Implemented an unlimited budget for the UK cycle-to-work scheme so people can buy the bikes they really want.
  • Created the J-P Prize, an award in memory of a much loved former Torchbox employee, for the current employee that best represents the values of J-P Stacey (J-P was a committed environmentalist and local activist). Congrats to Jenny our first winner!
Forgetting Nature_Still 1

A still from Ross Harrison's film Forgetting Nature of a silhouette of a person with a VR headset against a colourful swirling background

Marshmallow Laser Feast

We are finding ways to help our team to manage their emissions. Alongside the use of Giki Zero, the sharing of footprint reduction tips and campaigns, we are also:

  • Offsetting commuting and incentivising car-sharing and sustainable travel to work
  • Incentivising the move to renewable energy providers at home
  • Offering Sustainable Holiday Travel Days, where staff will get paid travel time off to take the train or drive instead of flying to their holiday destination
  • Planting trees in our grove in Scotland courtesy of Trees for Life in celebration of client projects, individuals’ achievements (we give each other Kudos in the form of trees aka 'Treedos'!), and other anniversaries

Forest and river at sunset

We've monitored our carbon footprint (Scope 1 and 2 and some Scope 3 emissions) for the last three years and compensated our impact to ensure that we are a carbon-neutral business.

We also compensate for our carbon footprint through certified carbon removal projects rather than traditional offsets. Removal projects are more effective as they take carbon out of the atmosphere, while traditional offsets avoid putting more carbon into the atmosphere (your emissions still add to the toll), or tree planting that will remove carbon in the future.

The real challenge is to get to Net-Zero. We are starting from a good place as our emissions aren’t as bad as some, but it’s still a very serious challenge. We’ve joined the UN’s Race to Zero via the SME Climate Commitment, but we want to reach Net-Zero more quickly than the targets that they set out - halving greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and achieving Net-Zero emissions by 2050. We haven‘t committed to a timeline yet because we want to put together an achievable plan before we do but watch this space.