Digital agencies taking climate action: our interview with Speckle Digital

December 2023

What do the experts think...

“Whatever action you can take is better than the action you didn't take. And you can't change what you can't measure” - Ashleigh Bruders, Founder of Speckle Digital 


We recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Ashleigh Bruders, Founder of Speckle Digital, a proud Trace customer and B Corp. Importantly, this interview unearths the way that digital agencies can embeds impact into their business model and reap the benefits.

Impact is a core cultural value at Speckle that correlates with your commercial success. Why is impact part of your business' DNA and how does it impact the way you operate?

Ashleigh Bruders: For me it's just the obvious thing to do. From the early stage of my career, I found myself incredibly frustrated working at digital agencies, where there are all these amazing brains and talents that were being put towards efforts that just made big business more money. I had a real sense that there's got to be a bit more than this.  That led me to learn about the concept of B Corps. When I decided to start Speckle, it was just the obvious thing to be focused on impact. We need a new narrative and it's up to us.  It doesn't have to be profit or impact, it can be both.

In the last six months, we've pivoted to only taking on impact work going forward. It's really become fundamental to our business. We look at the UN Sustainable goals and track and measure our client base against those. Whenever we're looking at a client, we look at how they align to those sustainable goals and how the work that they're doing ultimately, gives back.

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The SDGs are such an important first step to acknowledging the role of business in a better tomorrow. Why did you decide to move beyond SDGs and into the specific realm of carbon, including measuring and reducing your carbon footprint?

Ashleigh: For a business like Speckle, it's interesting because we don't manufacture physical goods, so the opportunities to reduce our environmental impact feel more limited. However, biodiversity action and climate action are fundamentally important. For us, it was a no-brainer to use a service like Trace as it gives us a really simple way to track and measure our carbon footprint and then the opportunity to compensate and offset. We do use energy and it's incredibly challenging, particularly when working remotely to reduce. We've got a policy to use green energy wherever we can. But going beyond that, being able to then compensate is important. My goal for the next financial year is to work on carbon reduction.

Using our Trace carbon footprint measurement, and the in-app reduction tools, we could easily identify the biggest opportunities for us in the reduction space. The way we approached it was to look at our energy suppliers and to put forward a policy to the team that stipulated where there’s certain fees associated with changing, we're happy to cover those costs. We’ve also had more conversations and increased our awareness, making changes where we can and then offsetting where we can't.

Choosing to make an impact can then have ripple effects on your staff and your customers. What sort of a response do you get from your customers and from your team from being impact focused?

The response from the team is amazing. It’s a big part of why most of the team’s been there from the beginning. The sense that together we are making a difference is huge for the team. No matter how tricky something might be, if you feel like you’re doing something worthwhile that feels amazing. In terms of our clients, we are just blessed to have the most phenomenal group of clients, we work with brilliant people who care and are thinking about things bigger than themselves.

My advice to other creatives and business owners is that it's not as hard or as scary as you think and that you don't have to do everything at once. It's been a journey for us. Whatever action you can take is better than the action you didn't take. And you can't change what you can't measure. You wouldn't ignore your finances or your people's performance. To me, it's just another part of running a business, and it's actually not as much work as you think it's going to be, particularly if you put systems in place around it.

You can find out more about Speckle Digital here.

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