How to make your remote company sustainable – and avoid greenwashing
In 2020, when every office shut down, we saw some positive effects on the environment - including significant decreases in energy demand, emissions, and overall consumption. Remote leaders took this as a win. But as human activity picks up again, it's become clear that when it comes to remote work and sustainability, the relationship is complicated. We've always been curious about this - in fact, we did some research on remote emissions back in 2020.
And as it turns out, remote companies are just as accountable as everyone else.
As remote workers, we like to pride ourselves on doing good for the planet. The most common PR talking points on how remote work reduces carbon emissions are:
But, as an excellent HBR article published earlier this year points out, these benefits can easily be canceled out by:
If we're not careful, we can easily surpass pre-COVID emissions rates while working remotely.
Time is of the essence. CEOs, technical leaders, and People teams need to be proactive about sustainability practices from the second they decide to go remote.
Here are some ways you can manage impact from day 1:
Each of these steps can be taken without sacrificing your competitive status, the global diversity of your team, beloved company perks, and using the latest technology — it's about reduction, not elimination.
That being said here are some steps that are not as effective. Read more about micromanagement here
Some companies (cough cough, major corporations) try to mask their harmful effects on the environment with greenwashing measures. Some of these to avoid, if you truly want to build a sustainable business:
Melanie Broder is on the Marketing team at Slite, where she works on all things content. She helps Slite users gain new skills through guides, templates, and videos. She lives in New York City, where she likes to read novels and run loops around Central Park.