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Terrain

By Kirsten Buck

The third lens we use to approach Sustainability at PTHR, is Terrain.

It is the third ‘T’ term in our sustainability triangle. We have already detailed how we future proof our Team, through an economic sustainability lens; and secondly how we prioritise our broader community, supporters, and those we rely on in our Tribe, when considering social impact. With Terrain, we are referring to our commitment to being climate positive. 

Terrain is derived from the Latin word “terra” meaning Earth, and it is this one Earth we have, and without it we, as a collection of species inhabiting it, have nothing. To quote Professor Brian Cox, our world is “paradise” and a paradise we have been shaped by, and one that has been shaped by us. We may be able to look out to the universe and in the future extract resources from places beyond our planet to ensure survival, yet we must respect earth- as it is the perfect planet for us. So, what can we do at PTHR, as a micro-consultancy of twelve people to make a difference in combating the damage already done, and the damage we continue to do to our terrain? 

We are a remotely based, virtually operating, self-managed team, and so our carbon footprint from travel is relatively low compared with office based and larger organisations. Furthermore, since the Covid-19 pandemic and series of lockdowns, we made our commitment to virtual client delivery more permanent. However we have still travelled, and we all have carbon footprints as individuals working from home. Simply by going about our daily lives we are polluting. This is why we have signed up to Ecologi, a subscription that offsets our collective carbon footprint through verified offsets and planting trees. The offsetting goes above our calculated footprint which makes us proud to say we are operationally, climate positive– putting in more than we extract, as such. In fact, we are growing a PTHR forest via Ecologi, and one day we may even visit (if we offset the travel of course)!

A second initiative we are proud to say we commit to is the adoption of a honey bee hive in rural England. Bees & Co is an ethical bee farm, which by supporting companies can help to prevent the decline of the British honeybee. Sadly, without the honeybee, there would be no trees, and without trees, no you or me!

Our ecosystems are so precious and balanced. This is something we also try to keep at the forefront of our minds in our personal choices, as we believe that every conscious decision, albeit small, can tip the balance in a sustainable direction. 

Taken from our Sustainability Strategy:

“We promote and embrace greener personal practices by:

  • Encouraging support and even participation in Environmental Charities. (In the process of our CEO joining a Board of Trustees).
  • Limiting single use plastic.
  • Embracing recycling in our virtual offices.
  • Promoting cleaner commutes via walking, cycling, train or bus (although our home-working reduces this requirement during work hours).
  • Favouring meditation and mindfulness; thus enabling us to take a step back and become more aware of our environment. 
  • Sharing knowledge on how to be greener; veganism, growing vegetables, recognising and supporting green’ brands.
  • Three from our team of twelve commited to buying no-new-clothes for a year (July 2020- July 2021). This is an initiative we will commit to annually as an experiment to change behaviours and attitudes toward fast-fashion.”

None of this is innovative or new, but rather green guidance that sets us on the path to more sustainable living. We keep this mindset alive by sharing insight from brands and organisations leading the way in a bi-monthly, internal “Sustainability Spotlight” document. We are of course happy to share this with our wider community if it would be helpful.

In our pledge to our planet, we say:

“We, at PTHR, solemnly swear to do all we can, in our working lives (and personal lives where we consciously choose), to restore the damage done to our planet and protect it for future generations.”

And that is what we are committed to doing at PTHR through our climate positive actions. We are small, so the impact of this may not be big, but that doesn’t mean we should do nothing. We all have a collective responsibility to treat the Earth, our terrain, with utmost respect; not just for us, but for future generations and the species who share this ‘perfect’ planet with us. 

Rather than focusing on the problem at hand and how we fix it, perhaps we should consider what is possible and who cares? If we all care, the possibilities seem boundless and solutions even infinite.