As people gather in Edinburgh for the city’s programme of cultural events this summer – the city’s first summer unimpeded by restrictions surrounding the coronavirus pandemic – it is important to remember that there is another global crisis we are facing. The recent historic high temperatures in the UK and Europe are indicative of the test that faces us all. Many people reportedly experience the phenomenon of “climate anxiety”, becoming distressed by the disruption that follows climate change. So, what if there was something you could do to understand, and regain some control over, the impact you have on the climate? abrdn has made global, corporate commitments – including reaching Net Zero in our operations by 2040 – and we wanted to find a way to involve our employees, empowering them to address their individual roles too. To do this, abrdn became a pioneer partner of the eco-app Pawprint, making it available to colleagues during the pandemic so they could understand their carbon footprint, and take part in company-wide challenges to reduce it.
Pawprint is an eco-app designed to help an organisation’s employees measure, understand and reduce their carbon footprint – or rather, your Pawprint. The app asks users a series of questions about their lifestyle and translates their responses into a straightforward assessment of their personal carbon footprint. Pawprint demonstrates the possibility for a business to be a driving force for good. This philosophy is shared by abrdn as we want to empower our own people to engage with an issue as acute as climate change. We firmly believe that education is the bedrock of sustainable culture change. Achieving your ambitions requires an understanding of where you are now and which changes will make the most impact.
Thankfully, there are strong foundations within abrdn which enable us to engage with our employees on the importance of sustainable practices. Our Environmental Champions, for example, are a colleague-led network who have been inspiring sustainable practice in abrdn and beyond for ten years. 2021 saw the first Pawprint Sprint, where colleagues took up the challenge to shrink their Pawprint as much as possible over the four weeks.
The Sprint – and Pawprint more widely – enables our colleagues to discover commonality and shared responsibility, conceptualise critical issues, and engage with solutions for a more sustainable future. As such, it is a valuable tool in sustainable culture change. Adapting longstanding, unsustainable habits is difficult and there is a great deal at stake. That’s why Pawprint aims to educate users in an encouraging and engaging manner, finding a positive approach to becoming carbon neutral. Pawprint plays an important role in abrdn’s Corporate Sustainability programme. Through a combination of powerful partnerships plus colleague engagement and education, we are focused on supporting projects that achieve measurable social and environmental impacts.