Social responsibility: Touch Stay’s approach
When it comes to social responsibility, we know how important it is to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
Here’s what we’re doing to make sure we have a positive social and environmental impact on our world.
The importance of social responsibility
When we first approached our corporate responsibility policy, we knew that in order to make a difference as a business – and with our platform – we needed a two pronged approach. So we looked at:
- Touch Stay as a business – how we could make a tangible, positive difference to the world
- Touch Stay’s platform – how we could empower our customers, and theirs, to make a difference too
We realised that in order to make this happen, we needed to solidify social responsibility as a key value for Touch Stay. By doing this, we’d have accountability when it comes to achieving our key aims:
- Reaching carbon neutrality (and in the future carbon negativity) as a business
- Adapting our product in a way that empowers our customers to champion the social causes that matter most to them
Our ultimate aim is for us and our customers to be a force for good together – to improve lives and environments around the world, and to encourage others in our circles of influence to do the same.
We also recognise that time doesn’t stand still and we have to be nimble in our efforts to support others as well as the planet. And as generous as we are able. We continue to activity fundraise, donation-match, or donate from our own coffers to causes we believe in.
How we’re tackling our carbon footprint
As an entirely remote business (even pre-pandemic!) we knew our emissions weren’t as high as office-based companies. Having said that, we’re players in the travel industry – an industry notorious for its large carbon footprint – so we feel it vital to minimise our impact.
We began by calculating our exact carbon emissions, so that we could know the precise minimum amount that we needed to offset.
Understanding our employee carbon emissions
For us, it wasn’t enough to just estimate our carbon emissions. We needed hard data so that we could use it as a benchmark for our future carbon emissions and see our improvement.
So, we used the energy usage calculator provided by Bulb, which measures typical emissions from gas and electricity. We then cross referenced this against Ecologi’s employee footprint calculator.
The figures gave us an average of around 7.9 tonnes of carbon dioxide a month.
You can read about how we did this in more detail here.
Understanding our operational carbon emissions
We knew our other key source of emissions would be the technology that keeps our guidebooks running. So, we did some digging.
We found that our data centre runs on 100% REGO-backed green energy sources. It’s run by Equinix, who have created a handy map of their data centres’ sustainability credentials. Our data centre – LD5 – is located in Slough, UK. Find it on the map to check it out for yourself!
In other good news, the part of our site where you create your guidebook is green-hosted, as is this site. All of this adds up to say that our guidebook tech is 100% green.
Once we understood exactly what our carbon emissions were, and where they were coming from, we looked for partners to help us offset them. We found Ecologi and Stripe.
Our climate positive workforce
Ecologi helps businesses offset carbon emissions by planting trees. Working with their tree planting partner, The Eden Reforestation Project, they plant millions of trees around the world each month.
Touch Stay buys enough trees each month to offset its business carbon emissions. As a result of working with Ecologi, our business, and each of our individual staff members is carbon neutral in 2021, with the aim of becoming carbon negative from next year. We’ll do this by planting enough trees to absorb double our carbon emissions.
How does planting trees actually help?
- Trees are nature’s carbon sponges. They absorb carbon dioxide from the environment and breathe out oxygen
- Planting more trees counters years of deforestation and increased levels of human-produced carbon dioxide
- Conservation of existing woodland and forest is also vital, because the taller, wider and more mature a tree is, the greater its ability to absorb more carbon
- Trees also help to reduce flooding, cool microclimates, prevent soil erosion, clean water, and support entire ecosystems of birds and wildlife
Through organisations like Ecologi, we support both tree planting and carbon reduction projects across the world.
You can find out more about Ecologi and how they approach tree planting by heading to their website. They also have an article which explains more about reforestation.
Approaching the climate crisis from all angles
We’ve recently also become a member of the Stripe Climate programme, which means that 1% of our revenue now goes to carbon removal projects.
Stripe understands that businesses play a crucial role in tackling climate change. That’s why they’re bringing companies together to accumulate funds for carbon removal.
Whenever our customers make a purchase, 1% of the amount that they spend goes towards projects such as Climeworks and Charm, which work to permanently remove CO2 from the atmosphere.
So, now you can know that when you purchase a Touch Stay subscription, you’re directly contributing to projects which are working to protect the planet.
Making a difference with our product:
We’ve also seized the opportunity to support Touch Stay users in championing their own social responsibility interests through the use of the guidebook.
For some, this might be about offsetting guests’ vacation carbon footprints. For others, it might be about something completely different. Many of our users support charities that do good in the communities where their vacation rentals are based, and others focus on raising awareness about something that matters to them.
Either way, we wanted to make it easy for you to inspire your guests to contribute to something that matters too.
Let’s make a difference together
As we said, we’re not doing this as a box ticking exercise – social responsibility is part of Touch Stay. We’ll be publishing data about our carbon emissions and how we’re countering them, along with information about the tree planting projects we’re supporting through Ecologi.
If you have any questions about anything to do with social responsibility, just send us an email to ask, and we’ll get back to you right away. Equally, if you have any other ideas about what else we can do as a business, and to better support you – we’re all ears.
We can’t wait to see how you choose to use your “Making a Difference” section.
Questions? We’re all ears!
Got a question? Or perhaps you have an idea about how we can improve our social responsibility efforts?
Get in touch with the team – we’d be thrilled to hear from you!
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