The warm glow of doing the right thing

The warm glow of doing the right thing

We review Moxie’s carbon footprint regularly and do our best to minimise it. We recycle, upcycle and bicycle or walk where we can. We work with ethical suppliers and review our operations regularly. While our carbon footprint leaves a light imprint on this earth—you certainly wouldn’t be able to see it from across the road, let alone from space—it’s not zero.

Until recently, the options for achieving formal accreditation as a net zero business or the broader requirements of a B Corp felt like a big ask for a small business like ours. We were delighted when the Sustainable Business Network launched its Climate Action Toolbox at the end of last year, offering a simple set of evaluation options against which we could test our assumptions.

Although it wasn’t a surprise—we care deeply about how the impact of our operation—our assumptions held up. Our footprint is small—the main culprit is our gorgeous, charming and characterful studio. In addition to its old warehouse vibe, polished floors and high stud—you know, the stuff that makes it so charming—it leaks like a sieve when rain hits hard from the wrong direction, and it’s not very energy efficient. We can live with the leaks, but the energy bleed is something we have little control over right now. Locked into a lease as we are, we can only put pressure on our landlords to make improvements and hope they come to the party. 

Anyway, having re-confirmed our ballpark footprint, thanks to the lovely people at Toitu, we were able to purchase excess carbon credits in projects including native forest restoration, renewable energy and energy efficiency. We even have a certificate. 

Every time I look at the certificate, I get that warm glow from doing the right thing. Then I think about all the people who would like to feel good about doing good but how hard it is. In NZ and other Western countries where there is so much abundance, people are teetering on the edge of the financial abyss. An increasing proportion of us are struggling with the basics and don’t have the luxury of making conscientious choices because the cost of doing the right this is prohibitive. 

When you’re living hand to mouth from day to day, fighting to keep your family in a home, fed and clothed, ethical choices are just another thing to feel guilty about, even as you wade through the rising floodwater and know something must be done. It makes me sad and angry that there doesn’t seem to be a political will to rise to the moment and find ways to make life easier so everyone has the luxury of choosing to do the right thing. Absent that, it’s on those of us who do to continue doing it. 

On a national level, people ask why we should bother when NZ’s only responsible for about 1% of global emissions. If the big guys — e.g. US, China, India, Brazil, et al.—don’t take this seriously, why should we? But, if every small country managed to get on top of its small contribution to the global problem, it would make a big difference. If 30 countries responsible for 1% each met their targets, we’d be a third of the way there even without the big guys. 

But imagine the alternative scenario. Imagine our future if every person, business, community, city, region or country just said ‘meh, too hard, not our problem” even the big guys might not be able to do enough heavy lifting.