Wednesday 22 February 2023

Word Ferret & Environmental Sustainability

Last week, I talked about what you can do to live more sustainably. This week, I’m going to talk about what we at Word Ferret are doing to help the planet and fight the climate and nature emergency.

Environmental sustainability is immensely important to us. We are passionate about taking care of our planet and do everything we can to make a positive impact on the world. A lot of companies make similar claims while doing very little to back them up - greenwashing words are cheap -  so what do I mean by ‘do everything we can’?

At Work

To begin with, we make every effort possible to reduce our carbon footprint, rather than offset it after the damage has been done. ¹

Our power is supplied by Octopus, which gives us 100% renewable electricity. Our broadband and telephone provider, Zen Internet, is a certified B Corporation. Also, Zen only operates in the UK, and it doesn’t have any subsidiaries in tax havens.

All of Word Ferret's proofreading, copy editing, copywriting and indexing work - in fact, everything we do - is carried out remotely. There are no car journeys, no flights, and we have no need to use taxis, car rentals, trains or hotels.

We recycle as much as can be recycled. And we don’t replace electronic equipment unless we absolutely have to. Our laptops are MacBook Pros from 2011, and we’ll go on using them until they go to the Great Laptop Heaven in the Sky. We approach the replacement of mobile ‘phones in the same way. We buy only what is absolutely necessary for the performance of our work.

On a Personal Level

Wherever possible, we buy locally sourced food and other products. We always choose the organic option, and we’ve been vegetarians since time began (we also switched to oat-based dairy products, such as milk and ice cream, many moons ago). We switched to solid soap/shampoo years ago (also organic and in paper/card packing), so there are no nasty plastic bottles involved. We look for products that are environmentally friendly, made from recycled materials and that are recyclable themselves. Also, we make every effort to reduce our water usage, and we save a minimum of 600 litres per month by recycling 'grey water'.

We garden organically. We use no nasty chemicals that harm our lovely pollinators, and we always aim to create an environment that attracts them to our garden, along with birds, toads, and other little critters. We have a moderate amount of outdoor space here, but we have managed to plant twenty-seven trees so far. When we moved to our current location, a small area had been concreted over to provide parking for one car; this, of course, is bad for the local wildlife, and rain runs off it more quickly and soaks in less (especially problematic when you’re located on a hill). So, those trees are our attempt to make up for that small section of lost land; the birds love them, and, along with numerous rose bushes, they drink up rainwater like it’s going out of fashion. Many of them also provide fruit.

We buy antiques and secondhand items for our home environment, and, as with our electronics, we don’t replace household things unless they fall apart. Of course, antique and vintage things don’t tend to do that; things used to be built to last.

We also support local charities, food banks and small businesses with donations that can be sold or given to those in need. If we buy too much food, we pass on the surplus. If we have too many books, they are given to friends, local charities or schools. We aim for as little waste as possible.

As I said above, we do not travel to carry out our work duties. In our personal lives, we use a car as little as possible (and we never fly now). We walk all over the place and much prefer using our legs to a set of wheels. In addition to helping the environment, this gives us a chance to actually look at and appreciate it. And when we go out walking, we make sure we bring our litter home.

We use social media to inform others about the climate crisis. We also use it to make others aware of corporate greenwashing, of government failures in tackling the climate crisis, and of products and companies that damage the environment. We make every effort to remain informed so that we are better able to do our part in protecting our planet.

Each and every day, we look for more ways to make a difference, no matter how small, because every little bit helps.



¹ There’s some interesting information here about the potential problems of carbon offsetting: