The Castos team has long believed that one of the privileges, and even responsibilities, that come along with running a profitable company is the ability to give back to the world around us.
This can take many forms. For some it means contributing to the WordPress communities in our local towns. For others it means offering 1-on-1 guidance to other podcasters. To some, it means working to reduce the gender and race inequality in both tech and in podcasting (although the gender gap in podcasting is closing very quickly!).
But for all of us, it means running our business as environmentally soundly as possible. And where we come up short there, doing things to counteract the impact that our business has on the environment.
Inspired hugely by companies like Stripe, Quaderno, Amazon, and Hunter our company has been a carbon neutral business since its inception.
As we’re an entirely remote team we start off with a great advantage. Not having commutes or a large office building to maintain makes our carbon footprint instantly smaller.
Our distributed team works wherever and whenever they need to. This is often a home office, a coworking space, or a small office in the town they live in. Nobody on our team has a proper “commute” in the way that most would think of it.
No long car rides cuts down on our carbon footprint immensely, not to mention it makes our team happier, more productive, and better in tune with their families.
But the thing about our business that we can’t cut out entirely is server infrastructure. Podcast hosting, by its very nature, requires a fair amount of computing power. As our company’s infrastructure is largely hosted on Amazon Web Services we already are off to a pretty good start.
AWS’ Oregon facility already pledges their own set of carbon offset credits every year to make that facility essentially carbon neutral. But we have other digital infrastructure that we consider and include that in our carbon footprint calculation.
A few other things that we consider are flights (our remote team gets together once a year for an all-hands retreat for a few days) as well as other conferences we might attend. There’s also our home offices and some other work-related impact that we have (gotta power those computers somehow).
All of this goes into a pretty complex calculation of the total carbon footprint that our company has on the environment. And while minimizing this impact is the best thing for the planet, and we’re certainly trying to do that all the time, the next best thing is to offset that carbon footprint with credits.
Partnering with Stripe to Capture Carbon Emissions
To mitigate the threat of climate change, the majority of climate models agree that the world will need to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere on the scale of approximately 6 gigatons of CO2 per year by 2050. That’s roughly the equivalent of the United States’ annual emissions. The world is not on track to achieve this.
Recognizing this challenge, we’ve decided to commit 1% of our revenue to support next-generation carbon removal technologies. This is in partnership with Stripe, through their new Climate product. Our contribution is being allocated to the projects they’ve selected here, which will expand over time.
We’re excited to support these projects because they represent permanent carbon removal, with the potential to become dramatically less expensive and higher volume over the coming years. Our contribution allows us to act as early adopters of these technologies, demonstrating demand to help them improve.
Castos runs entirely on renewable energy
Through a further partnership with the Stripe Climate team in early 2022, Castos invested in alternative energy projects in the United States.
Working alongside the team from Stripe and Watershed, Castos was able to purchase Renewable Energy Credits to neutralize the impact of our team’s energy consumption.
RECs help incentivize more renewable energy capacity being built around the country. We bought ~2x the volume compared to our own usage to maximize our impact.
Prior to Mid-2020: Buying Carbon Offsets
Before joining the Stripe Carbon Capture program, Castos purchased carbon offsets to counteract our contribution to climate change each year. We chose Cool Effect as they are both a certified provider of carbon offsets, and they have a global reach (many carbon offset providers are for projects only in the United States).
In May 2019 we purchased a set of carbon offsets that included a retroactive calculation of our team, our travels, and our digital infrastructure going all the way back to our company’s inception. Making Castos a carbon neutral business is one of the core values we hold as an organization.
For this initial project we supported building more environmentally sound cooking facilities in Malawi:
Our 2019 carbon offset contribution offset 20 tons of carbon dioxide. That’s about 25 round trip flights that are around 4 hours each, or the entire carbon impact of an urban living couple for the whole year.
In 2020 our team chose to support the For Peat’s Sake project that is reinforcing peat swamps in Indonesia.
These peat swamps are vital to the prevention of forest fires, providing clean water, and enriches soil for local farmers.
Purchasing carbon offsets is really quite easy, and doesn’t cost a lot for most organizations. Our 2019 carbon offset purchase was around $400 USD.
It certainly is the least that we can all do to help minimize the impact that our companies have on the environment, and set up a world that will be better and more vibrant for generations to come.
Here are a few resources that we used to help calculate and purchase our carbon offsets, and make your way to becoming a carbon neutral business:
Whether you are a large organization or small business we can each do our part to help minimize and counteract the impact that we have on the environment. Our entire team hopes that this article helps inform and inspire you to take part in whatever way you can too.