Climate change is the single greatest threat to global stability, security and life on earth (UN Security Council, 2021). From raging bushfires, to rising sea levels and soaring global temperatures – the clock has already started.
The dangerous effects are already reverberating around the world. Like many technology companies, we’ve been vocal about our stance on climate change and the urgency in which we need to take serious action. As one of the fastest growing technology companies in the world, we’re also in a unique position to help champion this effort.
Slowing the effects of climate change is going to take the work of many. It’s why we’re excited to announce that Canva is the first Australian company to sign The Climate Pledge. Co-founded by Amazon and Global Optimism, The Climate Pledge is a global commitment to reach net-zero carbon by 2040, and meet The Paris Agreement 10 years early.
To date, The Climate Pledge signatories generate over $1.8 trillion in global annual revenues and have more than 7 million employees across 26 industries in 21 countries. By coming onboard, it’ll see us measure and report our greenhouse gas emissions as well as continue to implement decarbonisation strategies in line with the Paris agreement through business change and innovations.
Sign up for SmartCompany newsletter.
Free to your inbox every weekday
We’re pleased to be making progress in this space, but we also know there’s so much more that Canva – and others – can continue to do.
Rianne Van Veldhuizen, managing director, Amazon Web Services in Australia and New Zealand told us, “We are excited that Canva is our first customer in Australia to join The Climate Pledge, and we are looking forward to working with [them] to help achieve their sustainability goals. Amazon is committed to building a sustainable business for our customers and the planet – solving the world’s environmental and sustainability challenges is a task that no single organisation can take on alone, but working together, we can make a significant impact.”
Joining the Climate Pledge is more than a formality. It’s also a chance to create joint action and sustained momentum in collaboration with fellow signatories such as Salesforce, Schneider Electric and HEINEKEN who we’re looking forward to working alongside to address the critical climate challenges facing our planet. No single individual, organisation, or government can do this alone. Everyone must play their part.
At Canva, we are guided by a simple Two-Step Plan:
As we continue to make progress on Step 1, Step 2 becomes more important than ever. We have both an incredible opportunity and a huge responsibility to use our voice, our reach and our resources to leave our planet in a better place for the next generation. Joining The Climate Pledge is one of the first steps in a long journey as part of Canva’s commitment to sustainability. It’s also deeply aligned with one of our core values as a company – to be ‘a force for good’.
It’s a statement that steers the decisions we make, the goals we set, and the culture we create as a company. It also drives us to work harder on our journey towards sustainability.
We’ve made promising headway in this space, with our Australian operations already achieving carbon neutrality, while our Global operations are on track to hit the same milestone by the end of the year. We’re also working on transitioning our print operations to become fully carbon neutral. We hope that by turning Canva into a carbon-neutral company we will not only be contributing to tackling climate change but also inspiring other companies to join us in making the switch.
In addition, our head office in Australia is powered by 100% renewable energy and our global operations and data services will be transitioning to 100% renewable energy – thanks to collaboration with partners like AWS.
We’ve also set the huge goal of being completely climate positive by 2023. The focus is on reducing our footprint, with a target to reduce our per employee emissions by roughly 50% over the next five years. What we can’t reduce, we’ll offset with internationally recognised carbon projects, planting initiatives and other sustainable practices.
Investing in our environment
For every print order placed with Canva, we’ve committed to planting a tree. It’s part of our One Print, One Tree campaign — a 1-for-1 reforestation program that will see over 3,350,000 trees planted in its first year. We’ve partnered with Reduce. Reuse. Grow. (RRG), a Sustainability-as-a-Service business that operates programs to help offset impacts from print, consumer packaged goods and technology industries, to manage the tree planting process on our behalf.
The campaign has already committed more than 3 million trees to be planted in Kenya, Mozambique, Philippines, Tanzania, Brazil, Haiti, the United States and Madagascar.
By focusing the program on these countries, we can help restore and rejuvenate vulnerable ecosystems, contribute to the fight against climate change by planting carbon-sequestering forests and mangroves, and deliver ecological and social benefits to local populations. There’s no limit to the number of trees we can plant. Together, we can make each print order count as an investment in our environment’s health for future generations.
Another way to be kind to the environment is by going organic. Organic farming is better for the environment because its practices involve less pollution, soil erosion and energy. One of our most well-known perks is providing breakfast and lunch for our teams across the globe.
In our Sydney office, 70% of produce is sourced from regenerative agriculture & organic farms. We choose to only work with suppliers that embrace environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. Two of those are Hebron Fram and Tathra Farms. They now grow most of the veggies we use for our meals and they do it organically while using modern regenerative farming methods.
We have also partnered with Black Duck Foods who are committed to traditional food growing processes that care for Country and return economic benefits directly to Indigenous people.
We also host volunteer weekends out at Hebron farm – it’s become a really great opportunity for the team to see where our food comes from and be part of the process. We’re also extremely conscious of food waste – if there is any food left over at the end of the day, we encourage the team to take it home and share with their family and friends.
We also produce some of our own food and supplies at our Sydney office in the heart of Surry Hills. Around the world bees are in drastic decline, with whole populations being destroyed overnight as a result of introduced threats. The loss of bees will have a detrimental impact on ecosystems across the globe, with rippling effects on all plant and animal life.
Fortunately, urban beekeeping is helping to rebuild decimated populations and prevent potential extinction. It’s a practice we’ve also embraced in our Sydney office, with a beehive on the roof which has produced more than 50kg of honey. In total, we expect to produce up to 250kg a year. We use the honey in our kitchen, but beyond that, our bees also pollinate a radius of up to 1.5km around our offices.
These are just some of the initiatives we’ve introduced as we work towards a sustainable future. A carbon free future is not an impossible undertaking. It’s commitments like The Climate Pledge which will help us to set ourselves the goals which will preserve the natural environment and in doing so address the climate crisis and solve the challenges of decarbonising our economy.
We encourage other corporations to follow our footsteps and sign-up to The Climate Pledge. It’s only through collective action that we can preserve our planet for future generations.
You can learn more about Canva’s ongoing sustainability work here.
This article was first published on Medium.