Canva’s Cameron Adams on How They’re Building the Business for More Than ‘Net Zero’

At Canva, we are fortunate to have built a great organization based on finding huge opportunities within interesting problems. We believe there is opportunity in every challenge, and there is no greater challenge to the planet right now than climate change.

Climate change is the greatest threat to global stability, security and life on Earth. Its effects are being felt around the world: global temperatures are rising at an alarming rate, unprecedented wildfires are ravaging our landscapes, and record flooding is endangering people’s lives and homes.

That’s the bad news: Climate change is already impacting the way we live, and humanity’s actions have caused the planet to warm by at least 1.5°C.

Here’s the good news: we can still take action to stop climate change, limit warming to below 2°C and avoid catastrophizing the future.

When you look at something on the scale of an entire planetary climate system, it can seem like a huge effort to make positive changes to it. An effort that requires governments, industries and organizations to all work together. What can you do – just one person – to solve such a huge problem?

But that’s what tackling climate change needs. It needs individuals. Individuals with a voice, individuals who take action, individuals who run businesses large and small, and individuals who are making governments change their minds one step at a time.

Not one sweeping law will be passed in parliament or the closure of just one power plant that will solve this problem. It will be a multitude of efforts exploiting the small changes of a large group of people. It takes what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls “transformational change” in every sector, in every region of the world, to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. And organizations like Canva play an important role in meeting that challenge, inspiring others to take action and supporting new ways of thinking that need momentum to take off.

Our Sustainability Framework

As one of the world’s fastest growing technology companies, we are used to setting ambitious goals and figuring out what we need to do to achieve them. We have set ourselves the goal of being Net Zero by 2023 and reaching that goal by 2021. But we need to do more than just Net Zero. We address our emissions using a priority framework based on offset, reduction and removal.

Compensation is one of the easiest steps you can take to tackle emissions because it is a simple financial equation: pay for what you emit. Canva’s global operations and print services emissions are 100% offset by verified nature-based carbon credits. We look for additional benefits for the projects we support by also promoting projects aimed at protecting and managing biodiversity by traditional managers and communities.

to the right way offsets your emissions, it is important to collect the correct data. Canva is moving from a model where consultants perform custom analyzes every year to calculate our emissions, to a process where we automatically collect the right data to track our emissions. This not only helps us calculate what offsets we need, but also helps us track our progress in reducing our emissions and cutting costs.

Once you have that data, you can identify the areas where your biggest emissions are coming from and think of ways to get started Reduce them. This could be better management of your waste streams, or doing small things like changing your lighting and planning your heating and air conditioning systems.

Waste management set up in Canva offices

Canva is all about empowering people to live more sustainably and our global #sustainability club is one of the most engaged clubs we have. They meet regularly to discuss ways to reduce emissions around the office and home, and how they can impact local communities. We also focus on our printing business and understand how to reduce distance and type of delivery, right down to our packaging and the end of life of these products.

For every print job posted to Canva, we plant a tree – it’s a simple idea with a big impact

remove your use of emitting technologies is where you can have the greatest impact, as it brings you closer to the point where none of your systems and processes emit carbon. Electrification is an important step here that, in combination with 100% renewable energy, allows us to remove entire segments of our CO2 emissions while maintaining our productivity.

However, we do not intend to stop at decarbonization. we want to go beyond Net Zero† It’s not enough just to think about how much carbon you can offset. You have to think about regenerating the planet that we have put in crisis for the past few decades. This means that when you look at projects that can take you to Net Zero, you need to look beyond the numbers and consider additional benefits for biodiversity, social impact and traditional managers.

For example, projects like our One Print, One Tree initiative, where we committed to plant a tree for every print job placed with Canva. We have planted over 1 million trees to date and by the end of this year over 3.5 million will have been planted through recognized reforestation programs. Trees have been planted in 16 locations in 10 countries and we are actively looking for new locations in Nepal, Kenya and Peru.

A plantation site in the Mendocino National Forest, California

In Brazil, we partnered with Sinal do Vale, an ecosystem and community regeneration center, to afforestation 30 hectares of degraded grassland in suburban Rio de Janeiro in the Atlantic Forest biome. The Atlantic Forest is considered one of the world’s 35 hotspots for its rich biodiversity, but it is also one of the most endangered biomes in the world, containing only 12% of the original forest. The project will result in the planting of 45,000 trees consisting of more than 40 different tree species. In the area, we also restore a native hilltop forest and transform the summit into an ecotourism point for mountain biking, paragliding and hiking. We believe that a regenerative revolution is needed to reverse the effects of climate change and preserve our planet for future generations.

A plantation site in Sinal Do Vale, Brazil

In addition to the environmental benefits, our planting sites around the world currently employ more than 100 people from local communities, creating new employment opportunities for those who previously had little or no income. It is a testament to our belief that doing good for the environment is good for local communities, good for society and good for our planet.

Being a force for good

“Being a force for good” is one of the core values ​​that we at Canva are proud of. This is a value that resonates with so many Canvanauts because it directly influences the decisions we make in every aspect of the business, and consequently the real impact Canva has on the world.

Canvanauts is volunteering at Hebron Farm, one of our local food suppliers

Supporting the wider community is an incredibly important part of our mission to empower the world to design and do the best we can. More than 200,000 nonprofits use Canva . Nonprofit Organization program to share and defend important messages and causes around the world, including the Clean Air Council, Trees for the Future, Groundswell and many more.

We have a huge library of climate action templates which is constantly growing. In fact, in 2021 our Earth Day templates were downloaded more than 3 million times! We are proud of how climate-related nonprofits and the rest of our global community are using Canva to create powerful change campaigns and raise awareness about the climate crisis.

Driving the transformational change we need

This Earth Day we see a real opportunity to make a difference, and an opportunity for Australia – individual Australians, Australian companies and the Australian government – ​​to set the goals that the transformational change we need. My dream would be that we use the highly privileged position that the Australian economy places us in to create new opportunities for us on the global stage, help existing companies transition to a zero-carbon future and inspire the next wave of business leaders to move forward. and grow the industries that enable a sustainable future for the planet.

As with any problem worth solving, it inevitably requires us all to change and adapt as we solve it. Taking those first few steps is always the most important thing on any journey. So why not take your first this Earth Day?


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