GoCardless Sustainability Strategy and Net-Zero Action Plan
Last editedFeb 20223 min read
In 2021, we became co-founders of the Tech Zero coalition, a group of businesses committed to taking climate action as part of the UNFCC Race To Zero. Since this first step, it’s been a busy few months! We set out with a clear aim of reducing our impact but also seeking opportunities to create positive change on the natural world and communities. Our first step was measuring our greenhouse gas emissions for 2020, having these externally audited, and publishing them in our inaugural Climate Impact Report.
In October, a brilliantly enthusiastic group of GeeCees took part in our first Environmental Action Day, where we planted >600 native wildflowers and hedgerows to help a community project protect and enhance biodiversity. Alongside this, we became corporate partners of Plantlife, to help them continue their great work working with our natural landscapes, such as grasslands, meadows, and peatlands.
With the aim of driving collaborative action, we held our very first Climate Action Workshop which brought together GoCardless employees, Tech Zero partners, customers and other businesses. The sessions included a panel discussion with GC leadership, a Tech Zero roundtable, a focus on biodiversity and nature with the Woodland Trust and Rebalance Earth, We even held a climate hackathon, a bike-powered cinema thanks to Electric Pedals, and welcomed Toast Ale to discuss food waste. Recordings of the sessions can be found here.
In the lead up to Christmas, we ran our 12 Gifts of Climate Action campaign, aiming to help businesses and individuals take action through tools, resources, and some great prizes - including launching our own greenhouse gas calculator for businesses to use. With 90% of SMEs not measuring their emissions, this seemed like a simple first step to help others take climate action. Some other prizes included protecting two acres of nature reserves with Plantlife, giving away some brilliant beer made from bread that would otherwise go to waste with Toast Ale, sustainable-lifestyle products with Ailuna, and one amazing Solivus Arc - an innovative solar sculpture providing clean energy for one lucky winner.
Our aim of creating a positive impact on nature and communities was embodied brilliantly by our Customer Experience Team in a very special Christmas gift, as we supported Rebalance Earth to protect rainforest elephants on behalf of our customers. Rebalance Earth is a wonderful project, protecting the elephants and the ecosystem services they provide, creating a positive impact on climate, biodiversity and lifting communities out of poverty.
This January we started the year by joining the Couch to Carbon Zero campaign, aiming to help GeeCees take climate action in their personal lives, whilst we recently launched our dedicated sustainability area on our website, where we will be publishing tools and resources to help other businesses take climate action. To help us embed sustainability internally, we became corporate partners of IEMA, and will be providing affiliate membership and training to our newly formed volunteer sustainability group of GeeCees from across the globe.
Ahead of Cop26 - where both our CFO Catherine Birkett and I were invited to join panel sessions with the British Chambers of Commerce discussing the role of businesses and collaboration for Net-Zero - we became signatories of Business Ambition for 1.5°C, a global coalition of businesses committed to setting Science-Based Targets to keep global temperature rise below 1.5°C.
This means we committed to setting both short-term and long-term emissions reductions targets in line with the Science-Based Targets Net Zero standard, which was published in October 2021.
Since then, we have been developing our Sustainability Strategy and Net-Zero Action Plan which sets out our targets, and - crucially - how we achieve them, and I am delighted to say this is now published, and you can read it here.
In summary, our climate targets are:
2027: Short Term Science Based Target
2035: Long Term Science Based Target (Net-Zero)
Our Net-Zero Action Plan sets out how we will work with our customers, suppliers, and employees to hit these ambitious (but necessary) climate goals. Our Strategy builds upon our aim to not only reduce our impact (via our Net-Zero targets) but to go beyond and seek to use our platform to create a positive impact.
Ultimately; collaboration is crucial to all our aims. No business or person can take climate action alone, and to become a sustainable business, we need to help our employees, customers, and suppliers become sustainable too. And, as humans - if we care about the wellbeing of our family, friends, neighbours, colleagues, and our global society - we all need to take action on climate change alongside wider environmental and social issues where we are able.