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Etsy Achieves Major Certification for New HQ, Commits to Zero Waste

Our new, global headquarters has officially achieved LBC Petal certification and we’re committing to running zero waste operations worldwide by 2020.

Photo by: Emily Andrews

Today we’re sharing some major sustainability news that will continue to push us forward in achieving our mission and shaping a positive future for business. We hope that in continuing to commit to clear, sustainable practices, we’re holding not just ourselves, but the industries and communities in which we operate, to new standards. Etsy’s Global HQ: Now Officially Certified To start, our new, global headquarters in Brooklyn has officially achieved Living Building Challenge Petal certification! Our new space is currently the largest building with this certification in the world and the only project of its kind in New York City. We are also the only public technology company to achieve LBC certification. Administered by the International Living Future Institute, LBC is one of the world’s most rigorous sustainability standards for buildings. Unlike other third-party standards, LBC takes into account a building’s comprehensive impact on local communities and human health and happiness. This means that everything from materials to installation and design to how we interact with our neighbors in Brooklyn were carefully scrutinized. It’s called a challenge for a reason. To achieve this certification, we vetted thousands of items -- from handmade tables to mass-manufactured phones -- for toxic or harmful materials that are all too common in many commercial office buildings (a.k.a Red List Materials). We only used wood that was invasive, salvaged, reused, or sourced from responsibly managed forests (Forest Stewardship Council certified). We installed solar panels on our roof to help power our building. We surrounded workstations with greenery and took steps to ensure that the air quality inside is even better than it is outside. We also filled the space with art and furniture made responsibly and sustainably by local artists and Etsy sellers. And so much more. This resulted in us being the only LBC project that’s largely furnished with handmade and micro-manufactured furniture. Getting here was the result of years of thoughtful, diligent work by hundreds of people, including not just Etsy employees, but also our community of artists and sellers and many other partners. This was an incredibly rewarding process that we hope will have a lasting ripple effect, touching the building industry at large, other companies, and our local communities. We are so proud of the work we’ve done together to achieve this certification and to create a living building. Committing to Zero Waste... Today, we’re also proud to announce our commitment to running zero waste operations globally by 2020. In plain terms, this means we’ll divert at least 90 percent of our waste (generated in our 10 offices around the world) from landfill as well as attempt to reduce our total consumption and waste creation overall. By committing to zero waste and deeply integrating these principles into our operational framework, we hope to reduce our environmental impact, save money, and make a positive impact on the communities where we operate. We plan to get there by creating new internal programs that will continue to support and encourage employees and partners to recycle, compost, and divert as much waste from landfill as possible. We’re also working with our partners and vendors to reduce the materials that come into our offices. For example, to reduce excess packaging, we’ve worked with our food partners to get food items delivered in bulk rather than in single servings. What’s more, actively working to consume less and divert more can actually be good for business. We believe that our efforts to minimize our environmental impact can have a favorable impact on our operating costs in the long term, so this commitment is both good for the planet and for our bottom line. ...and Expanding Our Impact The proprietary software we use to track our progress against this commitment is something we developed internally, which we lovingly call “DIVERTsy.” Today, we’re open sourcing this software, to share with our community. As far as we know, this is the only open sourced technology of its kind that integrates hardware and software to effectively track and measure a building’s multiple waste streams. Organizations around the world need a reliable way to efficiently track their waste not only to meet many sustainability certification standards, but also to simply reduce their environmental footprint. In the coming weeks and months, we plan to pilot DIVERTsy with select organizations and assist them with implementation, data collection, and analysis. Why This Matters We’re incredibly excited to forge ahead with our commitments and play a role in minimizing our collective impact on the environment while continuing to grow Etsy as the global destination for anyone looking to start, manage and grow a creative business. We believe it’s more important now than ever that businesses do their part in creating social good and protecting the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the planet we call home. We look forward to sharing our progress in the months to come.
Devon Leahy image
Devon Leahy

Devon Leahy is Etsy's Director of Sustainability & Social Innovation, before joining Etsy she worked with a number of environmental organizations and advised companies on their sustainability strategies.