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We’ve measured our carbon footprint and we are committed to net zero!

The start of Griffin’s sustainability journey

Portrait of Katy Zack
Katy ZackFriday 2 February 2024

Since inception, our founders have made it clear that we’re creating an enduring business that should have a positive impact on the world.

They even put it in an early culture code, writing:

In summary, we aim to be net positive to society. We will always minimise our environmental impact and work to fight climate change by keeping our carbon footprint small, both directly and through our supply chain.

Today, we're sharing how we've started our sustainability journey.

Measuring our baseline

We've measured our carbon footprint, working with a specialist carbon consultancy and software platform, Supercritical.

What exactly is that? A carbon footprint is a measurement of the carbon emissions associated with our business activities. This is calculated using methodology based on the global carbon accounting standard from the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, which is used by 9 in 10 corporations and governments around the world.

our carbon footprint.png

If you’re new to carbon accounting (which itself is pretty new), here's what the process entails:

  • Choosing a timeframe: We measured from October 2022‍—‌September 2023 to align with our financial year, year-end reporting and accounting periods.
  • Setting our boundaries: We mapped out our business activities to understand where we have the largest impact and what is negligible. This defines what we include and exclude:
    1. We have included home working and business travel, a core part of how we function.
    2. For the year in review, we've left out our financed emissions (which relate to the impact of our portfolio and investments) because we were in mobilisation. This will be included in next year's report.
  • Collecting data: Most of our data comes from our lovely accounting team and is based on spend. Some categories‍—‌like travel, cloud usage, hardware, and office details‍—‌come from direct sources. Others‍—‌like home working‍—‌are based on an employee survey and methodology from our partner, Supercritical. We also ensured all the spend data was correctly categorised.
  • Analysing and understanding the data: This step involves reviewing the data collected to understand the goals we’ve met and set out areas for improvement.

About the calculations: Most of our business activities don't have a straightforward emissions figure‍—‌like the amount of gas used to power a car or run a factory. They are based on the energy associated with our activities‍—‌like the power used to process data and power our systems or our workspaces. Some of them are broad estimates based on national averages and what energy use is in our national electrical grid.

Our results

  • Our footprint is 222 tonnes of CO2e - the equivalent of powering 63 houses in the UK for a year.
  • We're just about average, and that's ok, for now. Our employee intensity, the ratio of emissions per employee, is 3.47, falling slightly below the 3.5–5.5 average range of other Supercritical customers (largely digital businesses like ours).
  • Our largest impacts (may) have yet to be measured and included. Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) estimates that the emissions from financial institutions' investments, known as financed emissions, are up to 700x greater than their operations. We're just starting, so our financed emissions have not yet been added.

What we learned

  • The money we spend doesn't directly correlate with our emissions. To our accounting team's surprise, many of our top categories for spending don't have a major footprint. While travel isn't a big cost for us, it is for our footprint‍—‌it's our #1 category for emissions (That's also because we're largely remote, so our company gatherings, including our annual offsite and holiday celebration, fall under this category).
  • All data is not created equal. We know that some of our providers and suppliers provide more granularity and broader definitions of their emissions data while others are just starting out. We expect to get more data‍—‌and a bigger footprint‍—‌from some of our more established partners.
  • It's a complex journey. With only a leased office, we have small physical operations. All of our emissions here are in what's known as Scope 3 and beyond our direct ownership. We need to work with others to figure out how to reduce these.

Before starting this journey, we were convinced we'd have a light footprint since we’re a remote company. Our footprint is not the biggest, but it is significant, and something that we’ll actively manage now that we know our baseline and where our emissions come from.

Committing to net zero

We're committed to net zero and aligned with the UN Race to Zero standards, aiming to reduce our emissions as much as possible and compensate for the ones we cannot reduce. We’ve already joined Tech Zero, a group of 300+ tech companies committed to accelerating progress towards net zero. At a minimum, this requires reaching net zero by 2050 and halving our baseline emissions by 2030. We’ll share more details on our specific targets and plans in the coming months.

We're just getting started

We're building our sustainability strategy and net zero reduction plan and will share progress regularly. We know that sustainability is a starting point, not an end journey. And this marks ours.

There is a lot of work to do and we want to work with others to get it done faster. If you're a fintech company also working towards net zero or a company with some cool solutions for some of our hotspots, get in touch: