Assessing Corporate Sustainability in International Remote Companies


In recent years, several corporations have pledged to save the environment as part of their corporate responsibility and sustainability. Regardless of industry, companies heavily rely on energy to power their business operations. 

Because of this, some are looking towards the remote work model to reduce energy and become a more sustainable corporation. 

Today, we’ll discuss how two remote-first companies, a freelancing platform, and a translation company, had implemented corporate sustainability in their work modelOpens in a new tab.. We’ll also discuss how you can make your business more sustainable under the remote work model. 

To learn more about this, keep on reading! 

What are the Three Pillars for a Sustainable Workplace?


To create a sustainable workplaceOpens in a new tab., corporations will have to consider their company goals and have them in alignment with the health, safety, and welfare of the community and the environment. To achieve this, companies must know about the three pillars of corporate sustainability, which we’ve listed below:

The first pillar of corporate sustainability is social responsibility. Through this principle, it leads to social equity. 

Remote companies incorporate social responsibility into their work model by taking accountability for their employees’ actions, like their carbon footprint and operation management in an area. 

The flexibility of remote work has allowed many corporations to hire from the global talent pool and diversify their workforce. Hiring talented workers from underdeveloped countries can boost the economy of those countries, which is another example of social responsibility. 

Social responsibility for remote companies also includes implementing policies that encourage diversity, parental leaves, paid and holiday leaves, and more pro-employee benefits. There are a lot of considerations when applying the remote work model to any business. It is why many international businesses were hesitant to become remote-first companies before the pandemic. 

But going remote would have allowed them to gain access to talented individuals anywhere in the world. Because of this, many professional translation companies opted to go remote because of the opportunities to hire native translators.

The focus on sustainability in the social corner of the sustainability triangle is to reduce inequality and provide a basic standard of living conditions for the earth’s inhabitants, according to Future LearnOpens in a new tab..

The second pillar of corporate sustainability focuses on environmental sustainability. 

Saving the planet might seem like a Herculean task to accomplish for many office-based companies trying to lower their carbon footprints. However, remote companies have long-time advocated that working from home is convenient and more sustainable in the long run.

Remote corporations have a significant advantage of lessening their carbon footprint because they don’t need an office leading to zero waste, zero water, and zero energy due to not having a physical office. Their employees don’t have to commute to workOpens in a new tab.

Many of these corporations have taken great lengths in monitoring their carbon footprint from the production to the shipment of their products. Some have provided their employees with devices that conserve energy but take up most of their employees’ work, like laptops.  

The third pillar, Profit, is usually the bottom line for businesses, like traditional profit-and-loss methods in economics. Having a sustainable business requires also having sustainable profit. This includes lessening operating costs, governance policies, community giving, and considering responsible risk management. 

However, there are still skeptics who don’t agree that remote corporations are making much of a difference in climate change and sustainability. 

Is Remote Work More Environmentally Friendly? 


Forbes published an article that questioned if the carbon emissions that we produce from going to work every day might have just shifted to an increase in the carbon footprint we make at home. On average, 25% of suburban households emit more carbon emissions each year. 

But we all can’t deny that compared to commuting to offices, working from home could potentially curb carbon emissions. National Geographic wrote that because of the international restrictions brought by the pandemic, it has lowered emissions. It stated that countries that issued stay-at-home orders for non-essential businesses saw a decline in the energy demand, leading to lower carbon emissions.

Yes, following the remote work model is potentially more sustainable than traditional work models. But what can we do to make remote work more eco-friendly? 

Below, we interviewed a freelancing platform company and translation company on how they implemented corporate sustainability into their work model. 

Corporate Sustainability in a Freelancing Platform Company

The drastic shift in the past decade to remote work has also allowed for companies like Upwork to upgrade their sustainability efforts, even as a remote service provider, in the workspace industry. Remote services like Upwork usually use sustainable methods of production for their workspace, but Upwork has upped their sustainability efforts by assessing their annual impact.

In this annual impact reportOpens in a new tab., Hayden Brown, CEO of Upwork, stated 4 points of impact: COVID-19 Resilience with the Freelancers Relief Fund, Community Action, Product Innovation, and Environmental Leadership. These innovations are people, planet, and profit-based, with their efforts to enable freelancers to build their businesses with these three pillars in mind. 

Upwork does not underscore the environmental impact on climate change of remote businesses. Brown states, “We hope our Emissions Report will serve as a model for other businesses to unlock their potential by embracing remote work, including independent freelancers long-term, ultimately contributing to the fight against the global climate crisis.”

Corporate Sustainability in a Remote Translation Company

As previously mentioned, many professional translation companies are remote-based because of their access to global talents, like native translators. By going remote-first, they can also hire local legal experts, international marketers, and other remote-based professionals with skills that would significantly benefit their company’s performance.  

We interviewed Ofer Tirosh, the CEO of Tomedes, a translation companyOpens in a new tab. company that manages 20,000 remote-based native translators and works with SMEs and Fortune 500 companies in providing language-based services worldwide. As a long-time advocate of corporate sustainability in the remote work model, Tirosh stated Tomedes has pledged an initiative “towards a more sustainable world.”  

Their company seeks to create a paperless environment and further develop a more sustainable organization. Tirosh said that he believed in diversity, equity, and inclusion, which they implemented in their language equity program. They have also conducted a hero-to-zero program for reducing: power, water, and transportation.

“Our translation company aims to achieve all this through sustainability initiatives that include more than reduction but include bridging the gap between local community practices and breaking the divide by empowering underrepresented and marginalized communities through incentives, hiring, and services,” Tirosh explained.

How We Can Make Remote Work More Sustainable

From our interview with a freelancing platform and translation company, the successful outcome of their programs comes from their work culture built on sustainability. Their work culture and company policies must align with the pillars of corporate sustainability to make it successful. 

We have gathered some tips and ways you can lower your carbon emissions and incorporate them into your business:

  • “Paperless” Programs – It’s estimated that each year around 15 billion trees are cut down, and the vast majority of them are used for paper and textbooks. Currently, with the technology that we have, we can “digitalize” most of your documents for your operations instead of using paper. The perks of implementing this type of program are that it makes access to files more fluid, and everyone can read documents simultaneously without having to print or photocopy them. 

Tip: In our interview with Tomedes, they explained that their translation company digitized their translation process and operations. Besides digitizing paper, you can review your company’s operations and automate certain aspects. 

  • Encourage Workers to do “Energy Audit” – You can educate and encourage your remote workers to conduct self “Energy Audits” and be conscious of the amount of energy they consume. By saving energy, your remote workers are saving more money. You can present them with the data on how much energy is being wasted and how much they’ve saved by saving energy.

Tip: There is various free software out there that your remote workers can use to help monitor the amount of energy they consume. 

  • Implement Environmental-Oriented Programs – You can create programs within the company that are eco-friendly activities, like coastal clean-ups and tree planting programs. You can also begin a donation drive to support local and international environmental groups. 

Tip: There are various ways on the internet you can help environmental groups. For example, there’s a search engine that lets you plant 1 tree for every 45 searches you make. You can encourage your remote employees to use this search engine to help plant trees. 

Conclusion

Many customers are wary of companies’ intent because of the past actions of some big brands. Corporate sustainability is one-way companies can gain the trust of their customers and employees. 

Remote work is a very flexible model, making it perfect for corporate sustainability. It allows employees to have autonomy over their time and productivity and reduces energy usage.

Through our suggestions and examples from the freelance platform company and translation company that we interviewed, hopefully, you can make your remote-based model more sustainable for everyone. 

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