Social and environmental policy

Mission statement: Helping organisations tell stories that communicate how, and why, people can protect the ocean.

As a freelance writer and consultant working in with marine conservation and sustainability organisations, I recognise my responsibility to the environment beyond legal and regulatory requirements. As such, I am committed to reducing my negative environmental and social impact and continually improving performance as an integral part of my business strategy. The commitments listed below outline the ethics that will guide myself and my business:

Partners and suppliers

  • I do not work with companies who are involved in the production, operation, trade, or sale of any the following: alcohol; tobacco; gambling; firearms weapons; fossil fuels; mining; nuclear power or hazardous materials; pornography; payday, short term, or high interest lending; prisons; volunteer placement to orphanages; illegal products; or industries at risk of human rights violations
  • I reserve the right not to work with clients who do not align with my ethos
  • Continue to use Ecosia as my preferred search engine
  • Continue to use Starling for my business banking, which has a 'great' sustainable banking score according to Bank.Green
  • Encourage clients, suppliers and partners to adopt sustainable and responsible practices
  • Signed the Clean Creatives movement which brings together PR professionals to set a new industry standard that agencies should not work with fossil fuel companies or their front groups 
  • Signed the ethical move movement in service of a new marketing standard based on transparency, trust, and honesty.

Energy and water

  • Renewable energy provided by Octopus
  • Switch off all lights and electrical equipment when not in use
  • Adjust heating with energy consumption in mind
  • Website hosting 100% powered by UK wind farms ( and an energy-efficient London-based datacentre
  • Take energy consumption and efficiency of new products into account when purchasing
  • Offsetting carbon emissions by planting trees through TreeApp and Ecologi

Office supplies and materials

  • Evaluate the environmental impact of any products I intend to purchase
  • Favour more environmentally friendly and efficient products wherever possible
  • Minimise the use of paper in the office and reuse and recycle all paper where possible
  • Seek to buy recycled and recyclable paper products
  • Use cleaning materials that are as environmentally friendly as possible
  • Reuse and recycle wherever possible
  • Keep my digital carbon footprint low by regularly clearing out emails and cloud storage
  • Use local labour and materials where available to reduce CO2 and help the community

Transportation, travel and meetings

  • Walk, cycle or use public transport wherever possible
  • Seeking to reduce unnecessary travel where possible and promote travel alternatives such as email or video/phone conferencing rather than face-to-face meetings
  • Use voice calls instead of video conferencing where possible to reduce related emissions

Giving back

  • Donate 1% of every cleared payment to Project Seagrass via Work for Good
  • I am a member of the Ecologi Climate Committee and, as such, am helping to guide the company's climate impact strategy as well as offsetting emissions through my Ecologi forest
  • Donate a minimum of five days each year in the form of pro-bono or voluntary services

Conflict of interests

  • As both a journalist who writes about conservation / sustainability related issues and a PR professional / consultant who works with organisations in these fields, I will always be transparent about the nature of my relationships (e.g. if pitching an article related to a company I have worked with or am working with)

Bribery and corruption

  • Conducting business in an ethical, honest manner with zero-tolerance for bribery and corrupt activities
  • Acting professionally, fairly and with integrity in all business dealings and relationships
  • Uphold the laws of the UK relating to anti-bribery and corruption, including the Bribery Act 2010, with regards to conduct both at home and abroad
  • Accept normal and appropriate gestures of hospitality and goodwill (whether given to/received from third parties) so long as the gift meets the following requirements: a. It is not made with the intention of influencing the party to whom it is being given, to obtain or reward the retention of a business or a business advantage, or as an explicit or implicit exchange for favours or benefits (for example, a positive article / review) b. It is not made with the suggestion a return favour is expected. c. It is in compliance with local law. d. It is given in the name of the company, not in an individual’s name. e. It does not include cash or a cash equivalent (e.g. a voucher or gift certificate). f. It is appropriate for the circumstances (e.g. giving small gifts around Christmas). g. It is of an appropriate type and value and given at an appropriate time, taking into account the reason for the gift. H. It is given/received openly, not secretly. i. It is not selectively given to a key, influential person with the intention of influencing them. j. It is not of excessive value.

Information and confidentiality

  • Committed to protecting the privacy and accuracy of confidential information and remaining compliant to GDPR regulations

Monitoring and improvement

  • I use Giki to measure my carbon footprint (having switched from the WWF Footprint Calculator in 2022 as I felt Giki lets me be more accurate in my measurements as you can adjust for more criteria). Please see below for my footprint:
  • 2024 = 7.38 tonnes (as of Feb '23 based on current estimates for this year)
  • 2023 = 8.48 tonnes (moving house and having to buy several new items - where second hand wasn't feasible - had a big impact)
  • 2022 = 7.9 tonnes (/8.25 tonnes using the WWF calculator)
  • My business' footprint makes up around 1.3 tonnes of my overall footprint (Clean Growth UK). However, as a freelancer who works from home, I track my personal footprint to gain a full picture of what I should reduce
  • While I do come in lower than the UK average (10.5 tonnes), I am continually seeking ways to reduce my impact with the initial aim of reaching 5 tonnes.
  • Comply with all relevant regulatory requirements
  • Continue to learn about how to improve and reduce my environmental impact (both business and personal)
  • Incorporate environmental factors into business decisions
  • Make efforts to continually improve environmental performance
  • Ensure clients and the general public can easily access my environmental policy
  • Review and update this policy at least once annually

Areas to work on

I believe there's no such thing as perfection when it comes to sustainability and there's lots I need to work on. A few places where I could improve include:

  • I'm flexitarian but not fully plant-based. I still eat a little bit of meat and dairy but am working on reducing my intake
  • I'm not yet fully paper-free. I don't have a printer anymore, which has reduced my paper use but I could do better
  • I want to switch to a renewable energy provider (when the energy crisis subsides and makes it more feasible to switch)
  • I'm not yet flight-free (I know, I know). I'm trying to be as mindful as possible about my flying habits and looking at whether I can use trains etc. for short-haul journeys but haven't cut out flying altogether. It's not the perfect solution but I offset flights I do take (e.g. for holidays) with Ecologi.

Signed: Melissa Hobson

First created: 10 March 2021 / Last updated: 11 February 2024

The Ocean Writer Ltd. Registered company number: 14772669

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I support Project Seagrass by donating 1% of every cleared payment from my services via Work for Good

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N.B. I do not work with the fossil fuel industry. If that's you, please look for support elsewhere. Thank you.

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