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COP26 – Climate Change and Our Part – Virtual Cycling and Climate Impact

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A couple of years ago, as a keen ‘Zwifter’ or indoor/virtual cyclist – I tried to calculate what impact my riding my bike in the garage was having on the environment and it led me to tree planting as an offset. At the time I made the calculation, 1.5 trees per year were needed to be planted by me in order to achieve that offset.

My setup changes ever so often and probably now means 2 x trees per year! I have a flat-screen TV, a fan (or two), an Apple TV 4k, Elite Direto X, Elite Rizer, and of course the ceiling light. That’s just my energy usage and does not take into account the environmental impact of making, ships and distributing any of the gear that I use.

Whilst on this subject, surely someone someday soon will make a smart trainer that does generate electricity and not just use it?

This line of thinking also got me pondering what the leading virtual cycling platforms were doing to offset their carbon impact on the climate.

Zwift said the following: ‘Last year we set up our DEIB and Social Impact department. The early focus has been placed on diversity and inclusion on the platform. We’re at the very beginning stages of our corporate responsibility journey and starting conversations on sustainability. ‘

MyWhoosh: ‘….we are still getting that side of the business stood up fully, but definitely something we are going to be investing in. For example, we just opened a new office in a part of Abu Dhabi that is planning on being run 100% on green energy (mostly solar out here in the desert) in the near future. https://masdarcity.ae/ Nothing official on that, but just goes to show that we as a business and the UAE as a country are making massive investments into these areas. Nothing we need any attention for, just the expectation of the business and the region.’

And RGT Cycling:

‘The conversation about the environment is something close to everyone at RGT Cycling. Over the last three years, we have kept our impact in mind when making decisions on all aspects of our operation.

The biggest place we can limit our carbon footprint is by reducing the impact our primary infrastructure has on the environment. This year we completed a move of our main services to the Google cloud, this was in part due to their NetZero carbon footprint over the lifetime of their business and their commitment to move to carbon-free energy by 2030.

Although our team is small (twelve people) we limit travel, especially air travel. This is primarily due to the effect it has on the environment and this practice was in place prior to the pandemic. This continues to be considered as we come out of the COVID-19 restrictions and plan travel in the future.

But these changes have been made outside of a wider approach, and we’re far from finished. As RGT Cycling matures as a business and we find our place in the world we will be producing a Sustainability Strategy. This will set out specific targets and outline how we incorporate change into our daily operations, educate our community, and contribute to the shared goal of NetZero.’

In the broader business and therefore investment world, ‘ESG’ is becoming ever more prevalent. It will impact upon inward investment, the holding of assets depending on their ESG credentials. So-called ‘green-washing will be outed by the transparency of efficient markets and firms like MSCI, who will be providing deep-drive analysis into the strategy and tactics of companies and their impact on the planet and other ethical and social issues. I wonder how this will manifest itself with any virtual cycling platform wishing to grow its base and obtain investment?

For me, it’s trying to do things in daily life that are far less impactful on the planet, and it’s not easy. One step could well be choosing the indoor cycling platform(s) that have the least impact on the planet and getting outside to exercise far more often (that leads us on to clothing and stopping for a cake).

More thoughts on this and it would be fabulous to hear your views and what you are doing to help save our existence on Earth?

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