Action Leaders Q&A: Vineeta Greenwood, Wholegrain Digital

Vineeta Greenwood, our first Action Leader

Welcome to Do Nation’s Action Leaders; a celebration of the people in our communities who are leading by doing.

Do Nation is here to help keep global heating under 2 degrees, and limit devastating impact on communities near and far. For this we need radical optimism, imagination and action.

Thought leaders help push society forward, but they’re 10 a penny.
What we need now is Action Leaders.

Hello Vineeta!

We spoke with one of Do Nation’s most inspiring and longest running change makers, Vineeta. They’ve embedded every day sustainable behaviour change into the culture at Wholegrain Digital. Read on to find out how.

Vineeta co-founded Wholegrain Digital, a London-based WordPress agency that is a certified BCorp and 1% for the planet contributor. Wholegrain team crafts beautiful & fast websites that are user-friendly and naturally low in carbon emissions. Day to day, Vineeta is the guardian of relationships with Wholegrain’s mission-aligned clients and the team.

Do Nation: Hi Vineeta! Thanks so much for being our first Action Leader. Let’s kick off on a personal note. What does individual climate action mean to you?

Vineeta Greenwood: We are made of many. Everyone’s action matters.  Everything you buy – you are casting a vote. 1 vote = 1 pound. The more you are spending money on positive and climate friendly choices, the more you are funding the mitigation of climate change and improvement of human, environment and animal rights.

DN: Can you share any new habits or actions that you’re taking at the moment? Either personally or at work, and what led you to these changes?

VG: Yes, I’m learning to be led by my very motivated team members. Being a leader who is backing up other’s work is more important than always pushing your own vision forward. The best ideas come from my team and these new incentives are also pushed through by our team. I’m an enabler and a cheerleader for team’s best ideas.

DN: Business has a huge role to play in keeping global heating in check. A barrier to change can be the perception that it’s too hard, or too expensive. What impactful activities have you introduced at Wholegrain Digital that were easier to implement than you expected? 

VG: Like you said, business has a major role to play, and influence policy makers and employees alike. We incentivised staff to switch to renewable energy, no fly policy, and encouraged our team to travel by land for personal holidays through providing climate perks.)

The incentives weren’t easy as much as made easier by the eagerness of the team to implement positive changes. For example, people voted for the work meals to be vegetarian.

Some changes are inexpensive such as providing vegetarian meals to the team and clients.

The Wholegrain team have saved 77,363 bananas worth of carbon, which is also equiv. to 1.7 car trips around the world, or 179 car trips from Bristol to Brighton.

DN: From where you stand, what’s the biggest challenge for employee and community engagement right now, and do you have any solutions?

VG: There is a cultural denial of giving up things that people are used to. Therefore we need to use platforms like DoNation to highlight what can be done to reduce your personal carbon footprint. As a business, we are doing what we can, and we want to engage employees further. That’s why we discuss all of our policies and encourage a dialogue and thought provoking discussions about how to mitigate climate change through personal actions and accountability.

DN: What strategies do you use at Wholegrain Digital to engage your team in sustainable behaviour change?

VG: In addition to the things just mentioned, we encourage city cycles by offering them for free for work transport. We purchase second hand and refurbished equipment by default. We also encourage our team to think of climate friendly modes of transport including electric vehicles. 

More positive actions can be found on our about us page.

Small yet powerful, the Wholegrain Digital team are having a big impact

DN: In your personal life, how do you speak to friends and family who don’t (yet!) see what they can do to make a difference?

VG: Yes we do. It is amazing how many people believe that technology will or the government will solve the big challenges of our times. We encourage people around us to think that we are a part of the system and we are the government – so everything we vote and advocate becomes a part of the policy making one day. So never lose hope. Keep advocating for positive things.

DN: When people ask you what they can do to have a positive impact on the climate, what do you recommend?

VG: Here are my top recommendations: 

  • Become a minimalist and a conversationalist (it’s good for the planet)
  • Encourage people to adopt a plant-based diet
  • Support environmental and animal rights. 
  • Focus on nourishing your body and soul.

DN: Many people can feel overwhelmed by the hugeness of the climate problem; as if nothing they can do will make a difference. Can you share any tips for tackling feelings of helplessness and climate anxiety?

VG: The cure for depression or anxiety is action. Do something, anything that makes you feel good and has a positive effect on someone else. This could be non climate related. Help a neighbour by bringing their shopping, start a local recycling or collection project with others. Working with others relieves pressure and makes you feel a part of something bigger and more impactful. We are stronger together.

DN: “We are stronger together.” What note to end on. Thank you so much Vineeta.

Can you lead change in your workplace or community?

You can join Vineeta and the other Action Leaders at Do Nation. Just run a pledge challenge in your personal or professional life.

Find out more >

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