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How green is your networking

When you think about what you can do to help keep the environment in good order and combat climate change, your networking habits might not be the first thing that spring to mind. After all, what difference is that mini pain au chocolat you consumed at an out-of-town conference centre last Tuesday really going to make to the Amazon?

Of course, if you add in the fuel you used to drive there, the lighting and heating used to accommodate the event, and the waste created by the meeting, the effect starts to become a little more obvious. In the scheme of things, though, it still doesn’t feel like it can be making that much difference.

Carbon footprint of business

The fact is that in-person business events create a carbon footprint each year similar in size to the entire annual emissions of the United States. When you consider that the US is responsible for more than 10% of global Co2 emissions, it starts to become clear that the problem with that breakfast pastry you regretted eating extends further than the fact it was a bit stale.

In the face of these figures, it becomes shockingly clear that business big and small has an immediate and ongoing responsibility to adjust its behaviour to help combat climate change.

Do I stop going to in-person networking events?

In a word, no.

When the world came to a standstill in March 2020, there was a necessary shift to remote working and virtual networking, and we all know by now that we can conduct our business and networking online. Even though we have started to move back to some of the pre-pandemic ways of working, more people now work remotely than ever before and, overall, we’ve seen a huge cultural shift in what it means to be ‘at work.’ After all, meeow wouldn’t exist had it not been for this global challenge!

But it’s also the case that we enjoy meeting people face-to-face. Many business people — including us — love getting together in-person with others from our network and it’s bound to be the case that on-the-ground events are not only occasionally preferable, but necessary.

So, how can you balance the environmental perspective and your own needs? Try adopting a hybrid model of working, so that we can still enjoy in-person events where they are needed while also reducing our carbon impact by moving many of our meetings and events — including networking — online.

The Internet isn’t carbon neutral though?

It certainly isn’t!

Mike Berners-Lee, who is a Fellow at Lancaster University and researches carbon footprints, estimates that your email alone generates the same amount of energy in a year as the amount it takes to drive a family car 200 miles. Even though you think you're being polite, he advises that just cutting down on those one line ‘thank you’ emails that we all send every day can make a noticeable impact. Unsubscribing from unwanted mailing lists rather than deleting unread upon receipt is another way we can all do something small in our businesses to make a big impact.

Half the world’s population now uses the Internet. Our gadgets and the systems that keep them running account for 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, and that figure is set to double by 2025. But it remains the case that when it comes to business, moving events and networking online is still more ecologically sound than travelling to venues and contributing to the waste a typical event generates.

That doesn’t mean we can’t do more though.

How else can we be green in business?

There are many examples of how to make your business greener

  • Office changes like going paperless, using energy saving lightbulbs, and using electric cars in your fleet
  • Commit to recycling your waste and make sure that you use recycled products wherever possible
  • Investing in greener energy, so we can be sure our online systems are not powered by fossil fuels. is an important step.
  • Making sure we power down our systems rather than leaving them on standby makes a difference, too.

But even though reducing carbon emissions is, of course, essential, ​all the latest evidence tells us that we also need to actively remove and store more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than we're putting in. The most effective way of doing this is by planting trees and that’s what we’ve decided to do at meeow. For every full-house meeow that takes place on the platform during the month of July, we’re planting a tree. With your help, we’d love to plant a forest.

On average, a tree absorbs 48lb of carbon dioxide a year, every year of its life. Planting more trees takes us closer to restoring biodiversity and therefore leaving the planet in something approximating a fit state for future generations.

We’re not claiming to be perfect at meeow, but we’re committed to the green agenda and are always looking for ways we can make more of a difference. Planting trees is something we can do to help.

When you're running a small business you need to meet new people. That could be by attending in-person events or relying on the Internet. But by taking a step back to think about the small adjustments we can make to our everyday behaviour, we can start creating big change to the extent we negatively impact the planet, and all start to do business for good.

meeow can help you increase your green credentials and grow your business, so book your meeting today and help us plant more trees!

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