How to kick start the sustainability conversation in your team? Introducing “Couch to Carbon Zero”

Getting your team on board is crucial to putting your sustainability strategy into action (see our mini-series guide) but when employees have varying levels of understanding – or interest – in sustainability getting the conversation started across the business can be tricky. Couch To Carbon Zero aims to engage with employees over a 10 day sprint to get them thinking about climate change and how as individuals they can make a difference. Designed for busy people with little time on their hands, it is a fun and engaging way to get your teams talking about sustainability.  

Aimee, tell us about who you are and what you do…

Hi, I’m Aimee and I live in Kent. In April 2019, my friend (and now co-founder) Sonia had a massive wake up call to the climate emergency and raised the alarm.

It honestly turned our world completely upside down. I’d always known the planet was warming, of course, but it had felt like a distant threat on a distant horizon.  I had no idea, until then, that we were in a Code Red situation – losing Earth – with only a short amount of time to turn it around.

We realised that people either didn’t fully know how urgent it was (just like I hadn’t) or if they did, it felt overwhelming (just like I felt). And life’s busy enough without having to save the planet on top!

But we knew this couldn’t be done without every one of us and that contrary to how we feel, we are tremendously powerful – we have wallets, choice, a voice. And speed. And nothing solves climate anxiety like ACTION. So Sonia and I set up Every One Of Us to help busy people take smart climate action and last year, in time for COP26, we launched Couch to Carbon Zero.

What is Couch to Carbon Zero?

Our initial model with Every One Of Us was to get busy people doing ONE thing a week and whilst people liked that, it felt a bit endless.

Enter Couch to Carbon Zero – the 10 day sprint.  It works because it’s impactful AND time bound. In just a few minutes a day you hit the biggies you’ve probably been meaning to getting around to for ages, you up the ante on the rest, and feel equipped and informed for the nitty gritty everyday decisions that make a big difference.

At the end of the 10 days, you’ll feel confident you’ve maxed your impact and can get on with your life feeling empowered, proud and actually a bit relieved!

What can people expect on the sprint?

All the content is delivered in sub 5 minute videos on a Monday to Friday over two weeks (the weekend off in between!) and they arrive bright and early each day so people can do it whenever suits.

The first week is about how to reduce emissions and, the second week focuses on how to restore biodiversity.

We go beyond the obvious and get into the nitty gritty – who are the three truly renewable energy suppliers? What exactly IS sustainable fish? Is your bank funding fossil fuels and, if so, who should you be banking with instead? Stuff that shifts the needle but is actionable fast.

It comes with all the cheat sheets and links you need to take immediate action, e.g., so you know the food labels you can trust when you’re in the supermarket.

How has this been working for businesses?

We’ve had businesses of all sizes and sectors engage with the sprint – it’s being used to as a positive, energising way to bring their people with them on the Race To Zero. Beyond personal changes it’s also mobilising teams and getting the conversation going, which can then help idea generation and motivation for delivering against the business’ net zero goals.

It’s free for all to join in so we’ve had micro and small businesses engaging their teams themselves and some larger SMEs getting the corporate package, which includes me or Sonia doing a presentation to get the engagement and excitement going.

Here’s what a 60-person construction business said:

“Absolutely brilliant, really inspiring, beautifully composed and relevant to everybody. Quite a few of my “sustainability sceptic” colleagues remarked on how enlightening they have found it!”

We’ve had over 1,000 people do the sprint so far and it’s been going down a storm.

Throughout this light hearted and energising 10 day sprint, Couch to Carbon Zero is a good starting point to introduce the sustainability conversation into your business.

Head to couchtocarbonzero.org to sign up for free, or if you’ve got a slightly larger team and you’d like to explore the corporate package, check out the organisation page.


Written by Fleur Record Smith, reviewed by @clairejones

Fleur Record Smithhttps://haynehouse.co.uk/
Fleur is the founder of Hayne House, an events venue based in Kent that is passionate about sustainability and driven by Fleur’s determination to bring change to a very wasteful industry. Straight out of business school Fleur pursued an entrepreneurial path gaining experience as a business owner initially in commercial property then in the events industry where she has put in practice her ability to lead, problem solve and implement strategy and processes. She has first-hand experience of the challenges that small businesses face as they transition to a sustainable operating model and wants to put her experience to use by sharing practical resources and tools. Currently undergoing B-Corp certification, graduate of Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership and ambassador for the Sustainable Wedding Alliance, Fleur is keen to include small businesses in the sustainability conversation and is invested in her industry and beyond to encourage other businesses to take action. She has recently taken part in campaigns with the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy and United Nations Global Compact aimed at raising awareness amongst SMEs, and is working on the ground with the Federation of Small Businesses by holding events to support small businesses locally to face these challenges.

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