“What does green security look like?” asked our founding client at the beginning of 2020. This excellent question was passed to me as Concentric’s lead for environmental security. Having recently returned from an advisory assignment with forest rangers in Belize, I had some immediate thoughts.
Concentric manages risk to keep people safe, everywhere. There is no greater risk, to more people, in more places, than climate change. So for us, addressing the risks of climate change is entirely on-mission and on-brand as a company. With security and intelligence professionals drawn from across the national security and law enforcement spectrum, companies like Concentric have useful skills to deploy on the frontlines of environmental defense.
However, as a mid-sized enterprise employing over 300 people, there was also climate work to be done closer to home. Our first action was to join the Green Business Bureau (GBB), a fantastic organization that has inspired and guided Concentric to become a more sustainable business, through dozens of initiatives ranging from office composting to environmental volunteering. They encouraged us to form a Green Team and establish this green mission for Concentric: Less Trace, More Impact. Many sustainability initiatives later, we are Platinum level members of the GBB and sit on the Members’ Advisory Council.
It was in tackling the GBB initiatives relating to carbon emissions that we first became aware of The Climate Pledge. As risk managers we were naturally tuned in to the risk of “greenwashing” perceptions if we used opaque carbon accounting methods and bought low-quality offsets. The Climate Pledge represented the ideal forcing function for not just making a climate commitment, but also doing it right and for all to see. As we prepare for our first public reporting, that forcing function is proving itself as we imagine customers, competitors, and investigative journalists scrutinizing our carbon math and doing their due diligence on our offsets. Whether or not this paranoia is warranted, it is certainly effective.
Another appeal of a pledge organized by one of the world’s largest companies and the chief architect of the Paris Agreement is its visibility. Concentric is not the only security company to take action for the climate, but we’re one of very few in a global industry. We want our competitors to see us leading from the front on climate and following suit. Quantifying, reducing, and offsetting the impact of business on the climate must become the norm at all levels of commerce, in all sectors, if we’re to avoid the worst case scenarios. We hope that a lesser-known brand standing on the shoulders of giants will have an inspiring influence with other modestly sized companies.
In keeping with our pledge to publicly report our climate targets and progress, Concentric will be announcing its net-zero carbon target in the coming weeks. Suffice to say, our target date is not very far away. If giant Climate Pledge signatories are aiming to beat the Paris goal by 10 years, a more nimble company like Concentric should be able to accelerate to net-zero carbon emissions much faster.
To help us with robust carbon accounting, Concentric has selected GBB-partner Aclymate. In taking stock of our carbon footprint, we’ve realized Concentric is already something of a lean, green, security machine. Our early sustainability work with GBB identified many areas to reduce our energy use and waste. Post-Covid, Concentric has seized the opportunity to formalize remote work as a feature rather than a bug. In continuing to avoid the mass daily commute, we’ve reduced our emissions while increasing productivity and widening our recruitment net.
However, we’re conscious of dispersing our emissions from a couple of corporate offices to a bunch of home offices and are collaborating with our remote workers to capture an appropriate portion of their residential carbon footprint, while advising on ways to reduce emissions at home.
Another area of potential reduction is in the multitude of data services we buy to inform our intelligence assessments. We’re going to work with SaaS buying platform Vendr to evaluate the climate efforts of our current information supply chain, and identify cleaner services where necessary.
In the provision of protective security, we’ve seen an uptick in clients asking for low-emission vehicles, coinciding with a steady growth in the choice of EV and PHEV that are suitable for this kind of work. As this trend continues we aim to promote the option of cleaner-running cars for close protection to more clients.
When it comes to compensating for our unavoidable emissions, we’re intrigued by the prospect of buying offsets from a local biochar non-profit that reduces the risk of wildfires in our beloved Northwest by turning forest waste into a high-sequestration product that enriches our agricultural soil.
So, what does green security look like? I’m proud to say it looks a lot like Concentric.