The start of a new year often brings with it a sense of optimism. A fresh year with so many possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead.
At Upgrade Pack, we’re looking at the next 12 months with particular optimism as we prepare to launch our highly anticipated app that will provide travellers with the most efficient and cost-effective way to secure upgrades on flights and hotels around the world.
We’re starting 2020 by unveiling our Corporate Social Responsibility strategy, which we’re titling, ‘Inspiring Change.’
Establishing a corporate social responsibility strategy for a company so young is a rarity, made even more pleasing considering the significant scale and growth we experienced in 2019. However, from the day we incorporated Upgrade Pack, my co-founder Craig and I were determined to establish a company with a difference, both in terms of the impact our market first product has on clients, partners and users, and in a much larger sense.
As we continue to grow in 2020, we want to do so responsibly, give back to the world, and help inspire the next round of entrepreneurs.
Tackling our carbon footprint
We’ve started by looking inward, at the direct impact our employees are having on the environment. Sustainability is a key principle of our intent to be a responsible business. We always recycle, we work under energy efficient lights and try to be as paperless as possible. And whilst our business is in travel, we aim to fly the least amount we can, holding meetings virtually with partners, clients and our APAC team in Singapore.
This year we begin offsetting our collective carbon footprint by working with EcoSphere, to ensure Upgrade Pack operates as a carbon neutral business. There are many companies that help offset emissions around the world, however Ecosphere’s transparency around the projects they fund and their impact, for us made them stand out above the rest.
Working for a more sustainable travel industry
Carbon emissions and sustainability are topics frequently associated with aviation and hospitality. Both industries face significant challenges to transform and adapt to operate more sustainably, especially when it comes to energy and fuel use. We believe the only way to tackle these challenges is by coming together as industries to implement the changes needed for a greener future for both. That’s why we’re proud to be members of the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) and the Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC), both leading bodies striving to bring airlines and hotels’ impact on the environment within sustainable limits.
Membership of these important associations gives us the opportunity to better understand the challenges our travel partners face and, crucially, help advocate and shape the implementation of more sustainably focused actions now and in the future.
Walking the walk on diversity and inclusion
As mentioned before, Upgrade Pack was established with a purpose to be a different kind of company. Difference starts with our product and runs right through our company, culture and employees.
Building a culture that celebrates individuality and flexibility at work is, and will continue to be something very important to us as founders. Upgrade Pack represents inclusion in the workplace, regardless of race, religion, age or gender. We believe that building a company on inclusion-driven values fosters the best company culture possible, something that we had reaffirmed after being recognised as one of Real Business’ Top SME Culture Leaders in the UK.
Following our newly opened Singapore office we reached thirty employees, representing 20 nationalities. We also have a strong female presence across the company, being 59% female across our employees and 57% at director level. As Group COO, co-founder and Scottish-Indian, I represent a very small minority of female C-level executives in the UK tech space.
Nurturing the next wave of female entrepreneurs
Inclusion is something we’re looking to promote and foster in technology this year with the launch of our foundation, Shaking-UP the Tech World.
Shaking-UP the Tech World is our commitment to helping the next wave of female entrepreneurs launch and scale their business by passing along what we’ve learned as a company.
Being one of the few tech companies in the world with a female co-founder, we understand better than most the challenges that exist for aspiring female tech disruptors. Through Shaking-UP the Tech World, we’ll open our doors to female tech entrepreneurs providing access to our leadership, product, marketing and commercial teams to impart valuable insights into taking a business from idea to launch to scale.
Shaking-UP the Tech World will be hosted alongside our international offices in London, Toronto and Singapore, with more details to be announced in the weeks ahead.