Woolman – a responsible pioneer in the world of e-commerce

Woolman provides commerce as a service, bringing businesses, brands and customers closer together. Woolman was founded by three founders in 2017 with the aim of making trading easy and uncomplicated. It has grown into an international company with over 70 employees and offices in London, Helsinki, Amsterdam and Stockholm. 

Carbon accounting as a basis for sustainability work

In 2022, Woolman started an extensive and ambitious strategy work to put sustainability at the heart of the company’s strategy.

Hanna Liimatainen, Head of Sustainability at Woolman, says that the ambitious targets were based on an up-to-date analysis of the current situation, with realistic, accurate and comprehensive carbon accounting as the cornerstone.

"We believe that in the future we will increasingly measure our impact on the world, but before that it is good to look at the baseline with up-to-date tools. That's why we opted for a GHG protocol-based, benchmarked carbon accounting as soon as sustainability was put on our company's agenda." Hanna justifies the choice.

"We also wanted to learn about the process itself, the carbon accounting, the basics and the logic behind it, because all our customers are on the subject. Consumer brands struggles with the issues of emissions reporting, but also mitigation and communication. In order to discuss with our customers, for example, LCA calculation, it is good that we are also on the ground, and have implemented a proper carbon accounting with a third party."

The sustainability programme for the staff extended the effectiveness of sustainability work throughout the organisation

Alongside the emissions inventory, Woolman launched it´s own sustainability programme for its staff. For example, they took part in the international MPP (Ma Petite Plan te) challenge, where teams compete against each other and against other teams and companies in sustainability challenges. The challenge included a focus on reducing and mitigating emissions in their daily lives. 

"The biggest lesson was that the understanding of how emissions are generated, calculated and mitigated needs to be 360 degrees - a company's carbon accounting alone is not enough if individuals don't get a personal grip on it. Sustainability is such a broad and difficult concept that it is inevitable that each employee will relate to it through their own life." Hanna explains.

Climate lunch deepened staff understanding of sustainability

It was for these reasons that Woolman wanted an carbon accounting partner to bring knowledge and understanding to the entire staff, not just act as a accounting partner behind the scenes.

"We organised a voluntary Climate lunch session for all staff, where they could have a lunch break and a lunch with a computer and a safe environment to listen to climate issues." Hanna says.

The event aimed to deepen and broaden understanding of climate issues. Everyone also had the opportunity to calculate their own carbon footprint and Green Carbon compiled the results. As well as increasing individual understanding, Woolman also gained an understanding of the carbon footprint of its staff. That result can also be linked to the results of the company’s carbon accountings. 

"Responsibility is work done, but it is also a life lived, influenced by all the choices we make. And work actually has quite a big impact on the choices individuals make now that they work remotely from home, or move away from home for work, for example. I suppose you could say that we've really calculated the Woolman effect in a broad sense." Hanna concludes.

A domestic partner for sustainability work and the bar is set high

Green Carbon was selected as Woolman’s partner as a local service provider, both for its references and its domestic presence.   

"We already decided when we were looking for an carbon accounting partner that we wanted to set the bar high. The emissions generated by professional services, including business travel, tell us nothing about the reality of our industry. The services we produce, the online stores we build - their processes, technology choices, usability, scalability, etc., are the reality of the emissions our work generates." Hanna explains.

In working on the carbon accounting, the delimitation of the calculation and the actual assessment of the impacts have created added value for Woolman. They have brought a real understanding of what it means to have emissions from technology, data or even coding and how to influence them.

"Our impact is huge and we want to see it as an opportunity. We want to be at the forefront of industry change, but to do it in a way that is timely and relevant. We have over 350 customers and the same number of online transactions made, and we now serve increasingly larger and more international brands. The choices we make matter when the consumer masses are so large. And on the other hand, we also want to be a creator of those choices in our industry", Hanna sums up.

Woolman has not yet decided what to do next. Whether to do an carbon accounting annually or to move to a different type of impact assessment.

"We are realistic about this. We choose the evaluation methods that are relevant and best available at the time, so that we can say we have done our best according to the information available at the time. That may mean carbon accounting from 2023 onwards or we may move on to more comprehensive impact calculations."

Whatever the future assessment method, Woolman is now making everyday choices to curb emissions on a weekly basis.


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