Friday, March 18th 2011 | Short URL
Meet another of our great Green Hosting clients...
Please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your work.
Car Free Walks is a website for people who love walking but want to reduce their impact on the environment. We offer 100s of free, easy-to-use walking guides that show you the best places for a walk that buses and trains can take you in the UK. The project was the brainchild of Tim Woods, a freelance editor specialising in sustainability and development, who met business partner Gary Shipp through a mutual love of the outdoors. Patrik Germann brings the IT and application design & development skills to the team.
How is your business different to that of others in your industry? How do you stand out from the crowd?
The whole project is a good old fashioned ‘labour of love’ - we all work full time as well as running the website and writing articles and publications to support our work. So we stand out because we don’t make any money!
How would you say your work is ethically and / or environmentally responsible?
We set up the project because we wanted to help encourage people to think about the way that they travel to get ‘outdoors’, and we wanted to show there is an alternative to reliance on private transport and all the negative impacts that reliance on cars can create. We also wanted to relate this to wider environmental issues, helping people to make the connection between their lifestyle choices and the implications for the natural environment that they enjoy.
What motivates you to do business this way?
As the project is a not for profit venture, we are free to make decisions based on our ethics rather than compromises due to economic decisions. Quite a lovely position to be in!
It’s been wonderful to see our project grow. The number of visitors to our site has increased steadily, and we’ve started to forge links with some major national organisations that are helping us to promote what we do. So the reward is more in a sense of achievement than anything else.
How do you communicate your positive work with clients and potential clients and how do they respond?
We like to wear our hearts on our sleeves so our beliefs and passions are a common thread throughout our website and publications. However we also are conscious not to alienate people by being preachy or self-righteous as there’s fewer better ways to turn people off.
Do you see your work as part of a movement of ethical business?
We are pleased to have built up some great relationships with similarly minded businesses and organisations, where we try to trade skills, knowledge and support, rather than exchange money. This seems to be working really well and means we can continue to operate the project on a very small budget.
Share your top 3 tips on how other businesses can work more responsibly.
How do you see the future of your business and what are you most excited about?
Our website re-launch, and some important new partnerships with a few large NGO’s should see the number of visitors increase sharply over the coming months. We hope this momentum will be sustained and the whole site will grow, both in size and popularity. At the same time we are hoping to start writing more articles and features for magazines and newspapers about car-free walking, with the potential to diversify into producing publications of our own.
Find out more at www.carfreewalks.org
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