Going Green — Becoming a carbon positive agency

A hand reaching over to plant a small tree in some wet, fertile soil in Madagascar.

Back in April, we marked the celebration of Earth Day by telling you about what we are doing to reduce our carbon footprint. Ever-conscious of what we do as a company and how it affects the environment around us, we reviewed our use of resources, scrutinised our waste production, and began working with Ecologi (previously Offset Earth) to plant trees worldwide, the majority of which has been for the Rainforest Madagascar Project.

You can read how and why we chose Ecologi in our previous installment in our Going Green series. In this piece, I want to talk a little more about how we calculated our emissions, and why we are doing this in the first place!

A finger in the air

It’s not easy to calculate carbon emissions. At a local level, we could get a fairly accurate picture of how our office and our commutes stack up in terms of energy use and emissions. But when you start to think about the dozens of technology suppliers that we use, from something as small as running an Eventbrite page, all the way up to behemoth services like AWS, it’s a little overwhelming. In most cases, this data just isn’t available. And what’s to say that these companies aren’t already offsetting their own usage? It’s a minefield.

So we did the next best thing. We overestimated, and rather than using consultants (which can be pricey) we did this ourselves through a variety of online calculators, company surveys and good old-fashioned guesswork. Our friends at Ecologi concurred with our approach. You could argue that it is better to have a verified calculation of how much carbon you are producing, which is actually required if you’re going to set what are called Science Based Targets for emissions reduction, but this all starts to get very costly, and that’s just not feasible for an agency of our size. Fundamentally, we are looking to do the right thing, and in our case, good enough is good enough.

Bigger companies go much further, and in some cases they offset over 100 times more carbon than they produce. Whilst we aren’t at that level quite yet, we have been with Ecologi for eight months, and are set to offset ten times more carbon than usage by the end of the year. In fact, we are in their Top 50 Offsetting Companies – what an achievement!


Kyan's stats from Ecologi – 9 months climate positive workforce, 441.09T of carbon reduction, 4,759 trees in their forest
Our latest Ecologi stats, as of September 2020.


Why we do this

Quite simply, it’s in my nature. I’ve always been eco-minded, so to be able to channel this through our agency and work with like-minded people in doing so is a great feeling. It ties in nicely with our company values (which you can read more about here), but in particular, the third value, Drive – ‘As a company, when you all push together, great things happen.’

We hire not only on technical aptitude, but cultural fit too, so everyone at Kyan is invested in this, and it’s great to see a workforce engaged in making the agency greener. As we’ve said previously, being a responsible employer is more than fruit bowls and Friday beers.


Harry and Gav sitting on a hay bale drinking beer during golden hour.
Having a jolly time with Harry at KyanFest 2018.


With great power comes greater responsibility

People are the largest driving force on Earth. And with that comes a responsibility. As an agency powered by people, we are stepping up to the plate to do what we can to make the world a better place for everyone. It’s a long road ahead, but a journey that we are invested in across the board. We hope to influence others along the way, so if there’s anything we can do to help you in becoming greener, let’s talk.

Are you doing anything as an individual or business with respect to the environment?
Do you have any ‘going green’ tips for agencies like ours?

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We are Kyan, a technology agency that’s powered by people.