‘Don’t fuck*! The Planet’: Atlassian publishes a net zero guide for companies that reduce their impact on the climate | Environment
According to company reports, the title of Australian technology company Atlassian’s guide for other companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions is as direct and tasty as it gets: “Don’t F&*!” The planet.”
The company, founded by Australians Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar, says it already runs its operations with 100% renewable electricity and has a “scientific target” to reach net zero emissions by 2040.
But the guide lays out company steps in adopting its goal and warns companies that the issue of using offsets to achieve goals “faces a tremendous amount of backlash.”
The guide says any company that commits to a science-based goal “cannot make a net zero claim” until it has cut its emissions directly by 90%, with carbon offsets being used to offset the pay.
An analysis indicates that around a third of the largest publicly traded companies in the world have net zero targets. A UN expert group has said offsets should only be used once companies have worked to reduce their direct emissions.
Jess Hyman, Head of Sustainability at Atlassian, said, “It’s not enough for us to move forward alone, we must do so in collaboration with other great companies.
“We saw the business risk and, frankly, the very real opportunity to pursue it. We have to be very clear that this is a long-term success.
Consumers had high expectations and entire supply chains also needed to be mobilized to reduce emissions.
Around the world, Hyman said regulators are making it clear that climate disclosures will be a requirement for doing business.
She said: “It became a question of, how fast are you going to push, are you going to capture first-mover advantage?
“The pressure is just too great at this point, as we approach the point of peak emissions, to launch the box on the road.”
Atlassian was the first major Australian technology company to join RE100 in 2019, a global group of companies aiming for 100% use of renewable energy.
There is a need to set “ruthless” priorities, which for Atlassian meant starting with a scientific goal, Hyman said.
Atlassian’s new Sydney headquarters will be housed in the world’s tallest “hybrid wooden tower”, which claims to have 50% less construction-related CO2 emissions than conventional towers.
As more and more people work from home, company emissions must also consider other locations.
The guide tracks Atlassian’s progress and is based on more than 100 conversations with peer companies, including Australia’s Canva and other tech companies balancing rapid growth and net zero goals.
“We talked about how these goals are completely impossible alone and possible together,” Hyman said.
But there is no one-size-fits-all approach, as each company is asked to understand its own emissions profile.
She recommended starting with an emissions reduction target, having it independently verified, and then reporting on progress.
“And I advise people against setting a goal if they don’t have a plan to actually get the job done. You have to do both and you have to anticipate that your stakeholders are going to force you to do it.