Fighting the climate crisis

The climate crisis is getting worse. Despite slight improvements following the COVID-19 enforced lockdowns, and growing awareness of the issue, we're seeing more examples of the climate crisis rearing its head right now — historically high heat waves, perilous wildfires, and destructive flooding. The reality is we all need to be doing much more if we're to halt and reverse the disastrous warming of our planet.

We acknowledge that we're part of an industry that creates copious amounts of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions every year. However, we are determined to be at the forefront of the necessary change that will be required across the travel industry over the coming years.

Our objective is to help reduce the planet's carbon emissions to net zero by 2030. There are two parts to this. Firstly, we will make the necessary business and operational changes to achieve net zero emissions by 2030 (if not before). And secondly, we will evolve our core product offering to promote, simplify and incentivise more sustainable travel choices.

We appreciate we're a relatively small fish in a huge pond (or ocean). But we believe we should all be doing our bit — raising awareness of the climate crisis, and taking actions to make change happen.

Net Zero by 2030

We've publicly committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2030, in line with the B Corp Climate Action commitment. This involves four things:

  1. Pledge — Our public commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, which will include our primary sources of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions at present.
  2. Plan — The steps we will take to reduce our emissions, including incremental targets and actions to meet the 2030 timeline.
  3. Proceed — Taking immediate and regular action towards our targets.
  4. Report — We will report on our progress within our quarterly report.

Measuring our emissions

We worked with Compare Your Footprint to calculate our emissions for 2020, which totalled 1.86 tonnes of CO2. As per the recommendations within the B Corp Climate commitment, we identified sources of GHG in line with the Green House Gas Protocol "Scope 1-3 Emissions" guidelines.

Scope 1 refers to direct emissions from owned or controlled sources, such as the energy required to power offices or premises that we use. Score 2 refers to indirect emissions that come from the generation of purchased energy. And scope 3 are all indirect emissions that occur within the value chain for the organisation.

Due to being a small business that operates remotely, 100% of our emissions sit within scope 3. 54% of our emissions come from the servers required to power our digital product, along with the energy usage of the devices used to access our product. The remaining emissions come from energy produced from our employees' home offices.

Our emissions are reduced thanks to some of our technology providers — including Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform — using renewal energy. Over the coming years, as more energy providers switch to renewable sources, we expect these emissions to decrease, despite usage likely increasing as the business grows.

Offsetting our emissions

With the current size of our business — and the GHG we produce — we're able to offset 100% of the emissions that we generate. However, as the business grows, and we increase our physical office presence, this will become increasingly challenging. But at the very least, we will achieve our goal of net zero by 2030.

On 7th October 2021, we purchased the equivalent of 2 tonnes of CO2 credits to offset our 2020 annual GHG emissions of 1.86. We purchased these via the Gold Standard platform, investing in The Nicaforest High Impact Reforestation Program.

Beyond Net Zero

As our business grows, we will take the necessary actions to minimise the GHG that we're producing. But due to the size of our business — and with the nature of the industry that we're operating in — the biggest impact we can have is to use our product to encourage our audience to minimise the emissions that they're producing.

Our digital travel product is the core of our business, used by tens of thousands of people all over the world. Therefore by providing tools within the product that promote, simplify and incentivise more sustainable choices, we have the opportunity to reduce the carbon emissions being released into the atmosphere as a result of travelling.

But despite the severity of the climate crisis, we appreciate that for our audience of travel lovers it's not easy to take actions that have a negative impact on their travel experience — even if it is for the greater good of the planet.

Instead, our approach will be based on looking for opportunities where sustainable travel choices can enhance the quality of the travel experience. For instance, how a 3-day train journey that meanders through the Swiss alps could actually be a better experience than being squashed onto a stuffy aeroplane.

Ultimately, we believe that the solution to reducing the negative impacts of travelling can be achieved by travelling more mindfully. By this, we mean being more conscious of the present moment whilst being aware of how your actions impact your surroundings and those around you. We believe that this approach can help people have more memorable travel experiences, enhance the relationships with people around them, and reduce the negative impact they have on their surroundings. You can read more about our perspective on mindful travel here.

So over the coming months and years, we'll be looking for opportunities to provide tools within our product that helps our audience travel more mindfully, have more memorable experiences, and reduces the impact they're having on the environment.



The two co-founders of Pluto, Alex & Harry.