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The impact of the digital industry: raising awareness by being vulnerable

by Neil Clark

In Part 10 of our Digital Impact blog series, we explore what vulnerability has to do with the environmental impact of the digital industry and how it can help us raise awareness.

Estimated page impact: 0.37g CO2e per page view

Vulnerability as a word is not usually a positive as far as digital goes — but I’m using it in the sense Brene Brown describes it. People won’t be loved unless they’re vulnerable. And that’s not to be misconstrued as weakness or feeling pity for that person.

It’s about people being open and honest, and not claiming to know it all. It’s about being willing to share thoughts and opinions in order to listen to what other people feel about them. It’s about wanting and needing support because you know that makes you stronger, not weaker, and acknowledging when you get stuff wrong (and learning from it). 

I think all of the above applies to organisations. Once an organisation knows reducing their impact on the planet is a key part of its vision they should come out and say it. They shouldn’t worry about spinning it, instead, just tell the world why it’s important to the organisation and what’s being done about it.

Keep the conversation open

From that point, it’s equally important to keep the conversation open. Keep people up to date on what went well as well as what didn’t. Organisations need to understand that this isn’t a ‘one time fix’, digital impact requires a permanent seat at the table.

If other organisations learn from those actions, or if they inspire someone to apply for a job, or a new partnership or customer comes about, or some much deserved respect is earned – then that’s a bonus. 

Be confident in your vision

“When it comes to sustainability, we don’t see ourselves competing with one another, but competing for the future. If we don’t bring about change quickly, there won’t be a future to speak of.” Tim Brown, Allbirds’ co-founder

Being vulnerable in this way also means standing up for what you believe in because you know it’s the right thing to do. Yes, you might get some flack for it, but having educated yourself and considered the unintended consequences, you will be confident in justifying your vision. 

Some of my favourite examples are Stripe purchasing carbon captureWholegrain Digital going vegetarianMMT declaring their pledge to become carbon negative and Futerra being transparent through clear facts and figures.

Neil Clark's avatar

Neil Clark

Planet Officer and Service Design Lead

Contact Neil

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