How should a design studio respond to the climate crisis?

We all know we’re in a climate crisis, it’s something at the forefront of a lot of our minds, especially given recent updates on global temperature and the changes we see in our climate year on year. We kinda like this planet of ours and we know that as a business, we have an influence and responsibility as part of society to work towards a better and more sustainable future for everyone.

Step Up

We’ve taken a few steps recently to properly start our climate impact journey in a way that feels more intentional than before. We’ve always been big on recycling, upcycling and reusing wherever possible at O Street. We all travel by rail, bus, bike or foot to get to the studio (or sometimes a combination of all four!) We take the same approach with our clients and suppliers – prioritising sustainable print stocks or organic and recycled merchandise. On the social impact side of things, we know the importance of life outside of work – with a remote working attitude in place well before 2020 and a more recent adoption of a four and a half day week.


Glasgow SPT Subway Archive Image - Public Transport Sustainable and Environmental Commuter Travel

There’s big love for the Glasgow SPT subway here at OHQ


But we agreed in our recent Vision Day to push ourselves beyond the bare minimum and be a business that engages actively in the climate conversation. Susan and Tessa have recently undertaken Carbon Literacy Training and a Sustainability and Communications workshop with Material Change, supported by the Glasgow Business Growth programme. Thanks to these initial steps, we are investing time and energy into formalising our plans in a proactive/focused way.


O Street Climate Impact Action Plan List - CReate SES Strategy

Starting small. We are in the foothills of our sustainability impact journey.


Our Plans

We know we’ve got a way to go, but we’re prioritising learning (and talking about it) to get us there. We are surrounded by other agencies and collaborators already on their net zero and B Corp journey, so we’re in good company. In particular, Glasgow-based Ilka were awarded B Corp accreditation in 2019—the first design agency in Scotland to do so. They’ve been transparent about this journey and the goals they’ve set through a series of posts, a valuable resource for us in these initial first steps.

Other agencies like our pals at Creative Concern are leading the way in minimising their environmental impact throughout their operations with a combination of good management, business best practice and greener alternatives wherever possible.

We’ve recently joined the SME Climate Hub and subscribed to The Circular Glasgow Network, with plans to collaborate with other businesses on our journey and formalise our emissions review. At the same time, our intuitive desire to spend time in green spaces has led us to team up with photographer and friend Peter Dibdin to get our hands in the dirt and plant some native trees in an area of woodland south of Edinburgh. Yes, we know fine well that planting a few trees won’t solve everything, but it feels damn good to take positive physical action within our community.


O Street Design For Good Climate Impact -

Grow my pretties. Grow!


We’re open-minded, eager and curious on this journey. We know one of the best things for positive climate action is talking about it and breaking through the fear of not being experts. So, let’s talk about it. We’d love to hear about a challenge you’ve faced when it comes to climate impact, or a change you’ve made recently.

We’ll be making regular updates about our strategy here on the O Street Journal and sharing them on our newsletter. At the same time we’re planning our next Beer X event along this theme of how to be a profitable, but still purpose driven company – sign up here if you want to be on the invite list!


Indigenous Peoples must be at the heart of environmental and climate action

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O Street are hiring! Team photo in from of the Bank Street Design studio in Glasgow.

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O Street Partner, Keli Mitchell portrait by Peter Dibden.

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