5 tips for better business practice this Earth Day

At Riot, we’re committed to being a sustainable business. We might be a small agency working in culture and entertainment – less culpable than some industries when it comes to carbon footprint – but that doesn’t mean we’re off the hook. Collective action is real and impactful, so every business and individual has a responsibility to tackle the climate emergency and hold each other to account. 

As a values-led company, we’re proud to work with changemakers like environmentalist Dr Mya Rose-Craig (Birdgirl) and design critic Alice Rawsthorn (Design Emergency), and socially-responsible brands such as Moomin Characters and Rebel Girls. We’ve got a #RiotRecommends reading list with something for all tastes and ages, which you can see over on our Litalist Earth Day shelf

However, we’re fully aware that the sustainability journey needs constant reassessment and that there is always room for improvement. It can be difficult to know where to start, but we wanted to share a few of the high-impact changes we’ve implemented at Riot. We’d love to hear yours!

Switch banks
Every penny we spend is a vote for the type of world we want to live in, but what about the money sitting in our bank accounts? Much of the banking industry succeeds by investing customers’ savings into a variety of businesses, so it’s worth taking a closer look at where your bank is investing your money. For example, Barclays is the fifth biggest investor in fossil fuels in the world – if you bank with Barclays and believe we should be moving away from a fossil-fuel market, it’s worth taking your money elsewhere. In 2021, Riot switched its bank to Co-op, which is the UK’s highest rated street bank for ESG (environmental, social and governance).

If you’re unsure where your bank currently stands in its sustainability, start with this list from New Money on the top five ethical banks, and three to avoid. It’s also worth remembering that banks are some of the best organisations in the world at greenwashing, so take any ‘green values’ page on a bank’s website with a pinch of salt!

Look at your pension

As with banking, do you know where your pension is being invested? On average, every £10 put into a pension is contributing £2 to deforestation. Make My Money Matter is a campaign founded by film director Richard Curtis to encourage people to really look at their pensions and how that money is being used. Many pension providers offer ethical and sustainable pots, but these often aren’t the default, so it’s certainly worth exploring where yours is currently being invested, and change it if it doesn’t align with your values.

Riot uses the People’s Pension, which considers the environmental impact of its investments, specifically avoiding any companies who do not meet their minimum ethical criteria. Our employee pensions are currently weighted to favour low-carbon and ESG funds.

Change your shopping habits
Every individual and business is a consumer, but how often do you question exactly where your money is going when you purchase goods and services? Look into the sustainability and ethical practices of the companies you buy from, as they may not align with your or your company’s values. There are a wealth of options when it comes to buying everything, so it’s worth digging a little deeper to find out where your money is really going, and if there’s a better place you could be spending it.

As an organisation that often needs to order books, Riot has recently switched all of our book purchases over to Bookshop.org, which financially supports local, independent bookshops, and has just been awarded B Corp status.

Sometimes, donating to causes tackling climate change can be the most effective way of creating meaningful change. Organisations like GivingWhatWeCan have already done the hard work for us, and can guide any donations to the most impactful places.

Riot has recently signed up to regularly donate to Ecologi, a Gold-standard, BCorps organisation that funds carbon reduction projects all over the world.

Recycle more – but use it as a last resort
Thanks to initiatives like TerraCycle, almost everything is recyclable these days. Question how much you are sending to landfill and explore alternatives. Soft plastics are often taken at local supermarkets. Walkers has their own nationwide recycling scheme for crisp packets. It might take a little extra effort, but if every individual and business changed their mindset from disposable to reusable, we could make an enormous difference.

At Riot, we work in a building where 75% of our waste is recycled. We work closely with our building manager to ensure that our sustainability goals align, and our landlord is currently committed to reducing the building’s overall carbon emissions to align with the IPCC’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C by 2030.

Just remember, recycling should always be a last resort in your sustainability plan. Reduce, re-use, recycle – in that order!

Illustration of Mya-Rose Craig © Julia Kuo.

Penguin Random House Children’s hires Riot for Peter Rabbit 120th anniversary campaign

Penguin Random House Children’s has hired Riot Communications to support the development and delivery of a socially impactful campaign to mark 120 years of the much-loved children’s brand Peter Rabbit. 

On behalf of Frederick Warne & Co. (owners of The World of Peter Rabbit™), Riot Communications has been working alongside Penguin Random House Children’s and non-profit garden designers Grow2Know CIC on a partnership that will see three Peter Rabbit-inspired community garden makeovers take place between now and 2024. 

The Grow With Peter Rabbit initiative will draw on Peter Rabbit’s playful nature and bring the benefits of gardening and spending time in nature to families across the UK. The three gardens and a series of bespoke How-To videos – for families to follow at home – will be designed and delivered by Grow2Know’s founders, including: semi-professional footballer, community activist and TV presenter Tayshan Hayden-Smith, garden designer and TV presenter Danny Clarke (aka ‘The Black Gardener’), and Ali Yellop, agriculturist, chef and herbalist. 

The first community garden is in development in a disused plot attached to a primary school in Kensington: the borough in which Grow2Know was founded in response to the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy in 2017, and where Peter Rabbit’s creator, Beatrix Potter, was born. It will be opened in Summer 2022 and available to pupils and the wider local community for workshops and events.

Families across the UK will be encouraged to Grow With Peter Rabbit from home during National Children’s Gardening Week 2022 (28th May to 5th June) when the How-To series will be released via www.peterrabbit.com. Supporting the campaign on social media will be TV presenter and farmer JB Gill and married couple Jake and Hannah Graf MBE, named by the Guardian as one of the UK’s most influential LBGTQ couples. Their families will be joining in to demonstrate how easy and fun it is to grow your own vegetables at home, using simple, upcycled objects and a packet of seeds.

Katy MacMillan-Scott, Director, Riot Communications, said: “This was a dream brief for us: to take a much loved, heritage brand, and to develop its core values – of mischief, of play, of the joy of being in nature – into a collaboration with integrity, legacy and real-world social impact. It’s been a joy to work with the hugely talented teams at Penguin Random House Children’s and Grow2Know to develop this campaign, and we cannot wait to see the final garden reveal. In the meantime, we hope families across the country will get growing with Peter Rabbit this May.

Izzy Richardson, Global Brands Director, Penguin Random House Children’s, said: “As custodians of The World of Peter Rabbit and publisher of Beatrix Potter’s tales, we’re in the unique position of being able to use Beatrix Potter’s timeless stories to affect change and drive positive, social impact. We were both encouraged and impressed by Riot’s credentials in this area and felt confident they were the right partner to work with on this important and exciting campaign. We are really proud of what we have managed to achieve together, and the team at Riot have been collaborative and supportive throughout.”

To find out more, get inspired, sign up for video content and grow with Peter Rabbit, visit www.peterrabbit.com or follow @officialpeterrabbit on Instagram and Facebook.