It was our favourite verbose amphibian Kermit the Frog who proclaimed “it’s not easy being green”. And, it might not always be easy, but it is important, and there are some simple steps that freelancers can take to reduce their carbon footprint and make sure they tread lightly on our precious planet. Today (22nd April) is Earth Day – the annual day of environmental action – and this year, the theme is “restore our Earth”. Each year, Earth Day attracts around a billion people taking action on the climate crisis. The movement of people coming together to campaign for solutions that are kinder, greener and more respectful of the planet speaks loudly to us at Dinghy. In this blog, we’ll explore what Dinghy is already doing to be greener and offer some simple tips to get freelancers on a greener path, so that we can all stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution.
What we do at Dinghy to be greener
There’s good news for all Dinghy freelancers – by purchasing a business insurance policy with Dinghy, you’re already helping the environment. Dinghy are registered with ecologi, who compensate our carbon footprint by funding climate projects. You can find out a bit more about our partnership and how it helps the planet on the ecologi website. Over the 14 months of being climate positive with ecologi, Dinghy have offset 295 tonnes of CO2 and planted 3586 trees in forests.
But we don’t use this as a free pass to excuse ourselves from taking further Earth-friendly steps. The Dinghy team work remotely, reducing emissions from transport by removing the need for commuting, and saving on the environmental impacts of running an office – like lighting, heating and air conditioning.
What can you do?
When faced with a problem of such scale, like climate change, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with what you – just one individual freelancer – can do. We find it best to take small steps. Even just cutting down your carbon footprint in one area can really help. Here are a few simple ideas to get you started in greening your freelance business.
The one positive we can draw from the pandemic is that meetings on Teams or Zoom generally work fine (except for poor Jackie Weaver in *that* parish council meeting…). Yes, it’s not exactly the same as face-to-face, but for routine and day-to-day business, video meetings are ideal for getting things done quickly, cheaply and greenly. Do you really need to travel for that one-hour meeting?
If you’re home alone during the working day, don’t waste energy heating the whole house. Just concentrate on the room you’re using. Using thermostatic radiator valves can help you ensure that you’re not creating saunas in rooms that no one is occupying. You can also look at switching your gas and electric to a renewable supplier so that you know that any energy you do use is 100% clean and green.
Switch it off
Just like with the heating, make sure there’s no electricity being wasted in unoccupied rooms. If you’ve been watching the news over your breakfast, turn the TV off before you head to your desk to start work. Knock the bathroom lights off once you’ve brushed your teeth. As the weather warms up, hang your washing up outside rather than just chucking it in the tumble dryer out of habit.
Try to save paper wherever you can by working on the cloud, emailing important documents and not printing things out unless it’s essential. Most banks and billing companies now have online-only or paperless options, which not only reduces the use of paper but also the carbon emissions that it takes to get them to your front door. Dinghy will never send you unnecessary paper in the post – all our policies are online and accessed through a special link to the members-only area of our website, where you can update your details, and pause or alter your policy without triggering the felling of a small forest of trees!
Buy refurbished or second-hand electronics
Our phones, laptops, tablets and other electronics are the tools of our trade as freelancers, and sometimes we need to replace them. But before you buy new, have a look to see if you could get the same spec for a cheaper price by buying a refurbished or second-hand product. Many manufacturer-refurbished electronics come with the same guarantee as new, but buying them is a lot less wasteful of the Earth’s resources. Electronic equipment is also one of the fastest-growing streams of waste in the country, with it being reported that the UK is the second highest in the world for electronic waste per person. So make sure you also dispose of your old gear in an environmentally-friendly way: using manufacturer recycling programmes, donating them to tech recycling charities or selling them on if they’re still in good working order.
Any other ideas?
We’re always looking for ways to be greener, so if you have any suggestions for Earth-friendly freelancing, please get in touch. We would love to hear your ideas, whether it’s things that we as a company could be doing, or ideas for small changes that individual freelancers can make to reduce their carbon footprint. You can contact us at [email protected].
It’s wasteful to have things running when they’re not needed. That’s why with all Dinghy policies you can switch off your cover when it’s not needed – just like switching the lights off when you leave the room. Insurance on, insurance off, at the click of the button. Find out more about our flexible business insurance for freelancers or get your quote by visiting our website today.