"We're taking small steps to have big impact"


We spoke to Liene Zigure, head of finance and operations at Shoreditch-based digital agency WeAgile. She’s been working there since WeAgile started around four years ago.

The business case for going net zero 

“Obviously if you want to take your CSR action seriously, the environment has to be a part of that.”

WeAgile decided to do our course, Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action, because they were already doing work around other responsible business areas and had been on our Foundations for Responsible Business programme for a few years. They do volunteering, pro bono work for charities and free marketing webinars, but Liene had been thinking about WeAgile’s environmental impact. She wanted to start working on reaching net zero but found there was so much information online that she found it overwhelming.

Liene knew that WeAgile needed to be working towards net zero for the good of the planet and for them as a business. She read a British Business Bank study that estimates that SMEs account for 43-53% of UK business greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we want to get to net zero as a country, I can’t imagine getting there without SMEs doing something”, said Liene. The UK government doesn’t currently have any climate reporting requirements for SMEs, but Liene feels that soon, they will. That’s why it made sense to WeAgile to get ahead of that – they don’t want to be overwhelmed if that does happen.

So, they started the course in January 2022 and finished it 12 months later with a carbon footprint baseline and a plan to reach net zero by 2040. They’ve published their action plan on their website, where they have a page dedicated to sustainability to share their progress publicly and keep themselves accountable.

Getting started with jargon busting and demystification

Liene loved our first module, jargon busting and demystification. She’d done her own personal reading and research, but said she still ‘didn’t have a clue’ on most of the terminology, such as what the difference is between carbon neutral, net zero, carbon offsetting and carbon removal.

Previously, Liene had jumped into learning about measuring their carbon footprint but then realised she didn’t know the basics so wasn’t able to just get started with that. “I was very, very happy with the way the course was put together.”

Learning in your own way, at your own pace 

Liene really liked that she could do our course at her own pace. She said that everyone knows, especially in a small business, that some weeks are hectic and other weeks, you’ve got more time when you can work on extra things, like our course. She kept up with the timelines to finish each module and move on to the next one, but felt she could leave it if she needed to and pick it back up the next week.

She also found it useful to have information in a variety of formats, as people learn different things in different ways. Liene enjoyed our short videos, with additional transcripts, lots of visual diagrams and downloadable PDFS to share with her team. “There was no Googling or screen grabbing stuff trying to come up with something – everything was templated”.

Measuring WeAgile’s carbon footprint

In module 3, Liene measured WeAgile’s carbon footprint which means now they have a baseline, so they know how much to reduce by, and every year the measurement will be easier. They used our carbon footprint calculator, which takes into account hybrid working, which is something Liene was struggling to find online. They’re now at a stage where they’re offsetting their carbon emissions, a step on the way to net zero. They’re working with Climate Impact Partners to do this, investing into livelihood and health projects on a monthly basis.

Net zero benefits: cost-saving and happy people

Liene says that often, SMEs will think they don’t have the money to commit to net zero, but she found that, along their net zero journey, WeAgile has saved money. When they were looking at what they could do to reduce their carbon footprint – like having an online client meeting instead of travelling all the way to Edinburgh, or, if you do have to travel, booking a standard hotel room rather than a business suite – they found that those things are good for the planet, and they save your business money!

Being on a net zero journey has also helped with keeping employees in the business, hiring new people and winning tenders – people and clients want proof you’re actually doing something. “Your reputation is at stake. People do notice it”.

Becoming a B Corp

The future for WeAgile is hopefully to become a B Corp, which they started applying for before they started our course. Because of this, Liene had been looking into the policies they need for that and carbon footprint measurement, and found it to be an overload of information on the internet.

But everything that they’ve done over the course has helped with their B Corp application, which they’re still working towards.

“You can actually only action something when you have an understanding of it, and I think this is what this course helps every business to do – to get to the point where you can action things. Before I started the course, it was just me and Google. And then I wasn’t alone, I could ask questions and learn from other people. Since I started the course, I’ve hardly Googled anything about net zero because I can find it all in the course.”

Inspiring other SMEs 

When she was doing the course, Liene found the case studies of other SMEs inspiring, and we’re so proud that now, WeAgile has become one of those inspiring SMEs! We asked Liene why she thinks other smaller businesses should do our course and she said: “As an SME, some people will think they don’t have enough people, time or money, but a) this course was free, b) you can do it at your own pace and c) it didn’t even take that much time”.

We were so happy to see WeAgile work through our course, and are really excited to see their journey to net zero continue.

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