Why we adopted a sustainability initiative

Last Wednesday, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg set sail for the Americas on a solar-powered yacht. Her journey, occurring during the height of hurricane season, will take her deeply troubled waters, both literally and figuratively. Her goal -- to prompt the world’s leaders to double down on efforts to curb carbon emissions -- seems utterly daunting given that President Trump is pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, has greenlighted widespread deforestation of the Amazon. And yet she sails.

Both Brian and I have young families and as parents, it’s impossible not to be awed and humbled by this 16-year-old risking life and limb to ensure future generations have a habitable planet. She asks just one thing of us: Commit to reversing the effects of climate change before the damage is permanent.

I’ve had my share of waiting out hurricanes that grow more severe and scary each year; Brian has watched as wildfire destroyed great swatch across his side of the country. Of course we’d like our leaders to do more, but in the face of their inaction we must act. As Greta reminds us, stewardship rests on the shoulders of every man, woman and child, including the employees of Future Commerce.

This is why Future Commerce has launched a foundational sustainability initiative which we detail below. The process required that we ask ourselves difficult questions. As a small, bootstrapped startup are we really willing to incur the extra costs of purchasing carbon offsets? With just eight people on staff, none of whom are full time, do we really want to put the time and effort into migrating to carbon neutral technology? Do we really welcome the level of transparency that sustainability necessarily entails?

We cannot deny that our sustainability initiative will increase our costs and efforts, at least in the short term, but as we reckoned with that reality, we noticed a distinct change in our attitude. Coming to terms with our need to change has made us more optimistic and excited by the people we meet through our work who share our commitment. Over the three years we’ve spent interviewing leading established and emerging brands we’ve learned that sustainability is the hallmark of a modern and successful company.

More than that, we have realized that the costs are temporary. In the long term we fully anticipate reaping substantial -- and sustained -- benefits. In other words, our sustainability initiative is an investment in our listeners, our partners, our employees and ultimately, our families. We can’t think of a better way to place to put our resources.

At present our sustainability initiative is built around four key pillars, though we anticipate additional activities in the future, particularly as green technologies come to market.

They are:

Green Partnerships

Beginning immediately Future Commerce will only partner with companies whose commitment to sustainability equals ours. We will gauge commitment level on a few criteria: Has the company created and published a sustainability policy? Does it represent a real commitment as opposed to green washing?

We’re fortunate that there are plenty of companies, like Vertex and Gladly, that share our commitment. Both current sponsors of Future Commerce, and we look forward to working with others.

Partnerships also encompass our tech vendors and partners, and we will absolutely apply the same criteria when selecting which platform or service to use in our day to day operations.

Offset All Employee and Travel Carbon Emissions

We’ve adopted an internal policy to offset all office functions and corporate travel through a partnership with Offset Earth, a carbon offset company.

Offset Earth receives payment for carbon emissions generated by offices and corporate travel, and uses that revenue to fund a variety of carbon reduction initiatives. They plant trees, fund important climate-reduction work, among other things.

Happily, our corporate travel offsets will begin this week when Brian and I travel to eTail conference in Boston, MA.

Relocating Future Commerce Technology to Google Cloud

Over the next twelve months our goal will be to relocate all of our technology to Google Cloud, the only platform that commits to being carbon neutral platform energy AND agrees to outside verification. Unlike Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud is ISO 50001 certified.

This is why transparency is so integral to any sustainability initiative. When it comes to carbon neutrality, trust but verify is paramount.

Fully Remote Workforce

According the the EPA, “A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.” We can’t think of a single good reason why a Future Commerce employee needs to gas up a car and drive somewhere in order to be a productive member of our team.

Media is one of those industries that are particularly conducive to working remotely. Brian and I co-produce our weekly podcasts even though we live on opposite sides of the country.

This one is easy for us: Future Commerce will reduce all carbon generated from daily commutes by maintaining a fully remote workforce.

Paper Free Offices

Finally, we are foregoing all paper products in our company. Of course, as a couple of tech geeks, being a 100% digital company is second nature. Still, we will chose HelloSign over FedEx, and we’ll explore emerging techs that will help all retailers eliminate paper in their operations.

We hope you’ll join us in our sustainability journey, and we look forward to reporting our progress to you in the future.


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