How green are we?

Because of our ethos, we think about every consumer decision very carefully.

We want to keep getting better at this sustainability business, which means learning more every day, getting creative with our actions, and thinking outside the compost bin.

The sustainability policy you see here is the first step along that route. We hope that it’ll always be evolving to reflect new ideas, so if you have any ideas for how we can become cleaner, greener and fairer, please let us know!

We’ve also signed up to the 10:10 campaign. So far, we’ve planted a carpark vegetable garden and made a winter box of warm sweaters so we don’t need to crank the heat when it’d cold outside.

Our commitments

Transport

  • Whenever possible, we travel on bike or by foot. When this isn’t possible, we travel by train or bus. All long-haul trips are made overland if possible. Flights are only taken as a last resort when no other transportation options are available and when the benefit of the trip is clear.
  • We aim to measure the carbon footprint created by Otesha staff and volunteer travel, including commuting, and publish it in our annual reports. We’ll measure this as accurately as possible, understanding that carbon footprinting is not yet a precise science. (Yes, we know that we’ve said that we don’t count carbon, but in this case we sort of need to.)
  • Although we believe that the concept of ‘carbon offsetting’ is fundamentally flawed, we’ll engage in practical actions to reduce our carbon emissions as much as possible. Although we can’t fully offset the carbon cost of long-distance transportation, we promise to only engage in carbon-heavy trips if we are prepared to spend a significant amount of time and money doing carbon-reducing activities (like changing other people’s lightbulbs, insulating buildings, or planting trees).
  • Otesha’s registered with the Cycle to Work bike purchasing scheme
  • Next up: we’d like to set ourselves an annual carbon budget that we’re not allowed to exceed.

Energy

  • We host our website with a company that has a comprehensive environmental policy. Our current host, Melbourne, meets this criteria and powers its servers with renewable energy whenever possible.
  • In the past 5 years, we’ve worked at 4 different offices. At every single one, we’ve agitated for the bill-payers (aka landlords) to switch to a renewable energy company like Ecotricity or Good Energy.
  • We turn all laptops and other equipment off standby at the end of the day (except the phone – we haven’t figured out how to power that down yet…)

Money

  • We hold ethical bank accounts (at the moment, we’re with Unity Bank) and we all have ethical pension funds too (at the Co-operative Bank)

Purchasing policy

  • We only buy new things when we really need to
  • In our shared office space, we use eco-friendly cleaning products
  • Our stationary is made from reused, recycled or sustainable materials whenever possible (we especially love our reused envelopes and make-in-the-UK bamboo keyboard & mouse set)
  • All of our printed materials (including the Otesha UK Handbook) are printed on 100% post-consumer paper and linseed dyes
  • Our Otesha t-shirts are purchased second-hand from TRAID (a clothes recycling charity), then printed with vegetable-based dyes. Since it’s cheaper to buy second-hand shirts than new ones, we also donate at least £2 per shirt to TRAID’s development projects
  • Whenever possible, we buy eco-friendly bike maintenance products (what we’ve learned: chain lube and grease are easy to find, but what oh what replaces the GT-85?)

Food

  • In our shared office, we buy Fairtrade coffee, tea and sugar
  • At Otesha events, we purchase our food from a local veg delivery company, ensuring that our fruit and veg are seasonal, organic and with as little packaging as possible
  • We grow some of our own food at the office (the windowsill strawberries fared well, but the fennel had a harder time)
  • We keep reusable plastic food containers and canvas carrier bags on hand to reduce packaging from take-away lunches

Waste

  • We recycle all recyclables, compost all compostables in the office wormery, and leave a trail of repurposed tetra-paks in our wake.