At FrenCo we believe that all companies must carry their share of the burden in matters of sustainability. Although we are a small business with a relatively low environmental footprint, our goal is to become completely circular, environmental friendly, zero-emission, and flat-out green. The time is now.

On this page we want to report on our journey from grey to green. 

“The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. – Lao Tzu

Problem

Solution

Mobility

With customers ranging from the south of Germany to the North of Poland, business travel is inevitable. Mostly by car, but there also is the occasional plane ride. 

Travel is number one on the list of polluting activities from our economic activity.

Electric vehicles are not a realistic option. There are also doubts about lifecycle sustainability of currently produced electric cars, plus charging overnight creates a dependency on electricity from other sources than our own.

Other than that, we need to consider the full lifecycle of a vehicle, which starts with the manufacturing. By the time we drive a car out of the dealership (electric or fossil), our environmental footprint is already way in the hole. When we write-off and sell a vehicle, we burden the new owner with a recycling challenge once the vehicle reaches EoL.

Nissan Qashqai

1. Work from home

Prevention is always better than a cure. If mobility is the problem, then the obvious solution is to not travel any more than absolutely necessary. 
During the COVID-19 pandemic, home office solutions have become widely accepted and in many cases preferred.

2. Fuel

HVO is a renewable fuel that, unlike bio-diesel, has all the same properties as fossil diesel. Unlike fossil diesel, it is not distilled from crude oil and has way less toxic components, significantly reducing pollution.

Because it is plant based, the carbon footprint is near neutral. HVO is suitable for all diesel engines. At FrenCo we use Neste MY renewable diesel for all our vehicles.

3. Compensate

If you can’t prevent it, fix it. There are various companies that specialize in CO2 compensation through foresting.

Any inevitable mileage by any means of transportation is compensated through Trees for All. They make it easy, manageable and affordable.

4. Take it easy

This may be the hardest one yet as Francesco is somewhat of a petrol head who used to pay a small fortune in speeding tickets on a yearly basis.

However, driving responsibly costs little time and saves lots of emission. The money saved on speeding tickets alone makes it totally worthwhile.

Electricity

Most of our activities involve electrical devices
  • Server
  • Laptops and tablets
  • Smartphone
  • Routers and hubs
  • Access points
  • Mesh routers
  • Heating
  • Cooling

1. Solar panels

We installed enough solar panels to meet our electricity requirements and possibly half the neighborhood.

2. Go green

Additional electricity (after hours, cloudy days, winter in general) comes from Greenchoice, one of the most sustainable utility companies in the Netherlands, and is guaranteed 100% green. Through Greenchoice we also participate in windmill investments.

Disposables

We don’t produce tons of garbage at FrenCo, but we tend to use quite a lot of batteries, mostly due to wireless equipment.

Another waste producing activity is printing.

batteries

1. Eliminate battery operated equipment

In the office we use

  • Wired mouse and keyboard
  • Wired monitor and speakers
  • Wired everything

2. Print consciously

By printing double-sided where possible, re-using bad prints as note paper or reprint on the back, our yearly consumption (and subsequent waste) was brought down to one set of toners and about 500 sheets of paper.

3. Bottle your own

The quality of tap water in the Netherlands is exceptionally good. Instead of buying bottled water, we use refillable water bottles and fill them right in the kitchen sink. It’s easy, tasty and quite cost-efficient.

Snacks and drinks

Coffee is the drug of choice for every individual with ADD. Java consumption in the FrenCo office spikes the Colombian GNP.

Sustainable coffee

There is a lot to say about sustainable coffee. ASN published a good comparison between coffee brands.

Banking

Banks are crucial factors in a sustainable economy. By investing in sustainable projects, by supporting, culture, by donating to the right foundations. What we do with our money can and should affect what a bank does with, what is after all, our money.

Bank green

There are more banks offering sustainable banking, but often they are daughter companies of regular banks, which leaves the feeling that they are primarily a marketing tool. We do all our business with Triodos Bank, sustainable from its foundation in 1968.

Cloud services

Search engines are giant data centres using enormous amounts of resources just to help you find all the silly stuff you don’t need to know anyway.

At FrenCo we do lots and lots of research to find answers to life’s great questions and to steal solutions from peers kind enough to share their knowledge. This means we gobble up more than our fair share of resources in the process.

Most of our data storage is done on cloud services. Again this is an area where we don’t have a clear picture of the size of our footprint. We believe that in most cases the big data centres are very aware of their electricity consumption and manage their resources better than we could do if we were to create a local data centre. Of course their are other critical factors as well, which are not necessarily of an environmental nature.

Ecosia

We switched to Ecosia as our default search engine. Although somewhat skeptic towards their promises, it’s a great concept. In exchange for the advertisement they expose you to, they vow to plant lots and lots of CO2 absorbing trees. 

Not easy being green

Then again, it's really not so hard either.