Sustainability should be a top priority for any business going into 2023. The last few years’ worth of extreme weather have proven that action needs to be taken now to protect our future. But where do you start?
While there are a lot of great ideas out there, it’s becoming increasingly clear that a standardised approach is needed to keep everything on track. Which is where ISO Standards come into play – having been promoted heavily at the last few COP conferences, there are a whole range of environmental Standards to help businesses manage and reduce their impact.
One of the most popular being ISO 14001 (Environmental Management), which was adopted by the subject of today’s interview – dotdigital.
dotdigital is an online marketing company who specialise in email and SMS marketing automation, tailoring customer experience and providing solid data analysis tools.
Mel is joined by Steve Shaw, Chief Product & Technology Officer at dotdigitial, to talk about the positive impacts following on from their successful ISO 14001 implementation, and to explain some of their fantastic sustainable initiatives introduced over the past few years.
- Who are dotdigital?
- How do dotdigital manage their Environmental Management System?
- What are dotdigital’s sustainable initiatives?
- What have they learned through the implementation of ISO 14001?
In this episode, we talk about:
[01:07] Listen to our previous interview with dotdigital – where we discussed their ISO 27001 (Information Security) certification.
[01:32] An introduction to Steve Shaw – He is the Chief Product & Technology Officer at dotdigtal, who oversees a lot of their innovators (which comprises of software engineers and those involved with product development and support). He also manages the various acquisitions for the group.
[03:15] Who are dotdigital? Dotdigital have been around since 1999, they have evolved and adapted to join the growing SaaS market. They provide a range of automated marketing solutions in addition to a customer experience and data platform. They recently celebrated reaching 400 employees and have become AIM listed.
[03:52] What can dotdigital’s platform do? Data collection and analysis to build a profile for single or groups of users. This data can then be used in combination with AI and machine learning to create a tailored digital journey with a brand.
[05:15] How do dotdigital manage their current ISO 14001 certified system? – Their Management System is an integrated Management System, which provides the business with a central hub to work from. They have an established team who are tasked with the management of their ISO system (this is not a dedicated role for anyone in that team). Part of their role involves looking at the businesses aspects and impacts to see where the biggest consumption of energy is happening, measuring this consumption and setting objectives to help reduce this where possible.
[06:51] dotdigital was the worlds first carbon neutral marketing automation platform that was ISO 14001 certified. They also aim to be net zero by 2030!
[07:10] They have a relatively small footprint as a primarily digital based company, only really having to consider the running of computers, air conditioning and standard office facilities. So it can be a challenge to reduce!
[08:30] What led to the success of dotgreen? – dotdigital launched a group called dotgreen, which has since thrived into a community of likeminded individuals all working together to improve and reduce dotdigital’s impact. They were fortunate to have an Executive group sponsor who can take ideas and suggestions to other leadership for consideration. This grassroots group encourages suggestions from everyone – no idea is a bad idea. Over time, the group evolved and helped to develop a sustainability programme for the business.
[10:30] What was one of the initiatives implemented from dotgreen? – They identified that existing data centers used by the business weren’t always utilising renewable energy. So, over the course of 2 years, they worked with Microsoft to build on their Azure platform to enable dotdigital to make the switch. Azure runs on renewable energy sources, and any remaining emissions can be offset through carbon credits.
[12:00] A green option for their customers – As a result of their cloud platform now being run through green partners, they can extend the environmental benefit to their customers.
[14:00] A sustainable culture shift – The introduction of dotgreen, it’s initiatives and the success of certification to ISO 14001 fostered a shift in the businesses culture. It spread to all aspects of the business – even resulting in their marketing team making the decision to not send out Christmas gifts and instead used the money to buy credits for tree planting.
[15:25] What is dotvoice? – Another pillar in the internal mechanisms of dotdigital. This voluntary group look at how they can promote awareness of different issues. One such example was organising interviews to celebrate the women in tech at dotdigital for International Women’s Day.
[17:10] Adapting – Like many businesses, they had to adapt over Covid to allow for home working. Following on from feedback, they have kept up with hybrid working. This means that meeting in-person usually becomes a big event! They ensure that all employees are taken care of, even creating another pillar called dotwellbeing to offer mental health support.
[21:53] Through the use of dotgreen and dotvoice, they promote voluntary days to assist with local initiatives and charities (many of which are their clients – such as the Woodland Trust).
[23:20] What have dotdigital learned over the years of maintaining an ISO 14001 certified system?
- Don’t rush for certification if it can be helped, take the time to put the right people and resources in place to start the process.
- It can be beneficial to enlist the help of a third party to guide you through your first Implementation.
- ISO 14001 helped to put tools in place to measure aspects and impacts – which in turn assisted with their SECR requirements
- Manage your system centrally. ISO Standards should be embedded into the business
[23:20] Steve’s top tips: Get leadership support, look for passionate individuals to get involved, let the Standard guide you and don’t be afraid to set lofty goals.
[23:20] Steve’s book recommendation: Creativity Inc – by Ed Catmull
[23:20] Steve’s favorite quote: “The only constant in life is change” / “Some people want it to happen, some wish it could happen and others make it happen”
You can find out more about dotdigital via their website.
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