Working on sustainability across the departments

Karolina Gruszczyk

 · 04/21/2022  · 04/21/2022

Interview with François Trainar Operations Manager & Lead of Sustainability Working Group at Revolut

There are many special dates in our calendars which shouldn’t be celebrated for a day only, but all year long. Earth Day is definitely one of them. François Trainar makes sure we keep the environment in mind in our day to day work at Revolut. How? He explains how different departments are involved in Revolut’s sustainability projects, shares thoughts on how fintech can contribute to the global efforts towards a greener future, and finally – how we can make our home offices more sustainable.

You’re leading Revolut’s Sustainability Working Group, but your original role at Revolut is Operations Manager. What are your responsibilities within the Operations team?

I joined Revolut over a year ago in Global Shared Services, which is the operations focus department. There I mainly took care of operational excellence, working on customer experience and product improvements. That's where I took ownership of the Sustainability Working Group, which was an initiative started by our then COO. I was interested to get more knowledge and get more involved in it. I recently changed teams to work in the Business Department, mostly on product related tasks. I’ve still kept ownership of the Sustainability project because it’s something I’m keen to stay involved in.

What are the principles of the Sustainability Working Group? How does the Group work? Who are the members?

The major point is to ensure the sustainability of our own operations and practices. This is really the basic thing that we have to do, the first step we have to take. And then more generally, we want to work towards giving customers the ability to control their own impacts on the environment. That’s the whole ambition of that project. It starts with taking care of our own operations and then helping our customers gain control of their impact on the environment by looking at Revolut as a whole: our operations as well as our services.

We have members from the People departments with whom we work around travel, work policies, and actually any policy relating to the office and our equipment. They also help us get most of the necessary data to calculate our carbon footprint. There are also the Legal and Regulatory Compliance departments helping us keep an eye on what the future holds in terms of our reporting responsibilities and understanding general requirements. We then have Marketing and Communications with their knowledge on how to communicate around the subject area. That’s important as we want to be transparent with our users and the public about our carbon footprint, our progress, what our position is, etc. We also involve people from specific projects depending on what we are scoping.

How can the fintech sector use its qualities to contribute to the global efforts towards more sustainable living?

There are a lot of things that could be said here. Typically, the fintech sector is very good at democratising some areas of finance, like deploying sustainable financial products, making investments in sustainable projects more available to the public. ESG data is also an area of choice for fintech: it is well placed to run impact assessment of products, companies, etc., with advanced analytics - for example using transaction data to calculate carbon footprint, like our partner Watershed. Further down the line this kind of work can also allow fintechs to nudge their users towards sustainable spending behaviour. But these are only some examples of how fintech can support sustainability.

It doesn’t take much research to agree that we need green solutions more than ever to keep the Earth safe for humans and all other creatures. There’s many reasons behind climate change, and climate change itself isn’t the only threat to our planet's wellbeing. So what’s the reason for Revolut to take action on sustainability? What’s the main focus of our green strategies?

We’re becoming quite a large company so our activity can have an impact on the environment. We aren’t 10 people anymore, so it's our responsibility to ensure that our operating model evolves toward more sustainable practices. As one of the leading fintech companies in Europe we also have the opportunity to set an example.

Also, sustainability is a very important topic for many of our customers. In line with our objective of helping our customers get control over their environmental impact, we want to be transparent with them around our practices, and to feel comfortable using our services and knowing that we are evolving towards a more sustainable business model.

What are Revolut’s commitments to the greener future?

In 2021 Revolut joined Tech Zero, an initiative gathering British and global tech companies who have committed to driving green change and to fight the climate crisis through technology, data and science. As we’ve already started reporting on our footprint, we’re taking efforts to reduce it and communicate on our progress. We’re also on the mission to scope all the ways we can help our customers make sustainable choices.

What are the efforts we take within the company to reduce our negative impact on the environment?

As a tech company, what we do with our IT equipment is very important for us: this is why whenever possible, we donate or refurbish any redundant electronic equipment when it reaches its end-of-life. If it cannot be refurbished or reused, we make sure that none of our electronic equipment ends up in a landfill and is properly disposed of. We’re proud to say that the energy in our London and Vilnius offices comes from 100% renewable sources. Same time we’re reducing the size of our offices, as our employees now benefit from flexible working policies. Also, our UK employees have access to the Cycle to Work scheme to encourage the use of environmentally friendly transport.

At Revolut, we reduced the size of our offices, as our employees now benefit from flexible working policies. It means most of our employees work remotely, which is also a global trend. What are the actions you recommend taking to make our home offices more sustainable?

The commonly known but still important would be mindful usage of the light – we should use as much natural light as we can. Set up your desk according to the light in your apartment, use an energy efficient light bulb, use a sustainable energy provider if possible. You can make an effort to reduce how much you print, reuse and reduce materials and furniture since you have complete control over what you purchase. Don’t leave appliances which you don't use plugged in or on standby because they’ll still consume energy. Clean your emails – specifically emails you've already read, spam emails, unsubscribe from newsletters you may not actually read. Sending those emails and especially storing them uses energy, so the cleaner your inbox the more energy efficient it will be. Considering the amount of emails we have in the inboxes globally, it can actually make a difference. It's not going to itself be enough, but it's a quick and efficient win. A simple thing you can do today at work as an individual to give our planet a bit of relief.

To read more about sustainability at Revolut, check out this link.