2021 Impact Report

A Message From The Neo Team

2021 was a strange year for many. Slowly trying to resurface after a global pandemic has its repercussions but we’ve tried our best to ensure all the families we helped and our employees felt supported and heard throughout the year.

 

Our goal is pretty simple: to help families have access to green and affordable funerals. And this isn’t just through our company, but throughout the whole funeralcare industry.

 

This is our 2nd annual impact report and we hope that after reading about our learnings, our trials and tribulations, and what we accomplished this year, that you’ll feel inspired as well. We are by no means done with improving and our aspiration is to continue in 2022 helping people as best we can, all over the UK.

 

At the end of the day, we hope to turn all of our shortcomings from this year to opportunities in the future.

 

Thank you for the last year.

Sincerely,
The Neo Team

Operational Highlights

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Publishing our 1st Annual Impact Report: We published our 1st annual impact report for 2020 which you can read in full, here.

Formulating a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement: To get our Certified B Corporation status, we needed to reframe how we empower and uplift our team while also ensuring that we are equalising job access to prospective employees. Enter our first Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement which you may read, here.

Attended the UN’s 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26): The Neo Care Team was able to attend COP26 in Glasgow to learn more about the climate crisis and come up with ways we can do better to reduce our carbon footprint as an organisation. Read more about our time at COP26 and the insights we learned regarding sustainability in our article, here.

Carbon Offset More Than 200% of Our Carbon Footprint: We’ve carbon offset by at least 200% via our tree planting scheme aiming to reforest the Caledonian Forest in the Scottish Highlands.

Our Biggest Highlight: Obtaining our official B Corp Certification! This took us over a year to obtain, but after undergoing interviews with the B Corp team and reformatting our internal and external policies, we finally made it.

Sustainability Trends We Saw Emerge In 2021

On the global stage, we have seen various sustainability trends emerge throughout 2021. We’ve named the top five sustainability trends we’ve pinpointed hallmarks of 2021.

 

Saying Goodbye to Greenwashing – Greta Thurnberg said it best, people and customers are able to spot greenwashing from a mile away. It is important that organisations that deem themselves “sustainable,” not only talk the talk but walk the walk.

Sustainable Businesses are Becoming the Norm – we’ve seen this trend emerge (especially amongst Gen Zers) that a sustainable way of conducting business isn’t just a “nice to have,” but a “need to have.”

Hybrid Working is Here to Stay – Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in working remotely. This is true for our own organisation where we have adopted a hybrid model (both coming into the office on “anchor days,” and working from home. To make this as sustainable as possible for our team members, we’ve given each of them an onboarding guide which outlines best practises for working remotely while preserving environmental stewardship.

Carbon Offsetting is the Mainstream – Let’s face it, everyone is planting trees these days. Carbon offsetting has become the minimum companies can do to tackle climate change. It has become the mainstream.

 

Carbon Positive will Replace Carbon Neutrality – As seen via COP26 this year, achieving carbon neutrality is simply not enough. You may have seen the term “carbon positivity,” thrown around which means that creating additional positive (or known as “net export”) contributions by putting into the grid more than what you take from it.

How Do We Define Impact?

2021 was a year full of trying to determine the best way to measure our carbon footprint. We quickly realised that this methodology is applicable across everything we do.

1. Measuring the social and environmental causes we’ve directly and indirectly supported, and tracking how much awareness we have generated by looking at our social media analytics;

2. Tracking, measuring, and then offsetting our carbon emissions emitted by our company and suppliers;

3. Benchmarking our results against the progression towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the B Corp Impact Assessment methodology.

Our Core Values

Our Company bylaws were changed to embed purpose and hold Neo accountable to be an organisation that produces a material benefit for the people it intends to serve. Through our business operations, the following values are represented. You will find that our values are themes that cascade in everything we do:

Human Rights & Progression
We promise to be committed to advance the rights of everyone. This is our B Corp standard. We aim for equity, opportunity, and justice for all communities that have been historically marginalized.
Climate Action & Responsibility

We vow to continue donating 1% of our annual net revenue to nonprofit charitable organisations that promote environmental conservation and sustainability.

Human Rights & Progression

We are committed to achieving equity, opportunity and Justice for communities across the globe that have been historically marginalised, with recognition that is tied to fair livelihoods that enable individuals, families and communities to thrive. We’ve worked to inherently support Human Rights & Progression, and the result we have seen has been a key step towards social impact and change.

Social Impact & Change

This past year we published our first Queer Funeral Guide in addition to publishing a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement. We also continued to portray social issues and enhance representation in our social channels:

 

Out of 546 posts, we dedicated X% of our social media in bringing issues surrounding: insert issues here. Out of those X% we have created the following:

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement at Neo

Celebrating Juneteenth at Neo

Give racism the #redcard

30% of posts dedicated to Women’s Empowerment

 

50% of posts relating to BAME issues

 

20% of posts lifting LGBTQ+ communities and bringing awareness to the issues these communities face in death

*As Carmen Morris explains, “active allyship means making a genuine attempt to transfer the benefits of privilege to those who lack it.” We understand true allyiship is much more than just professing allegiance online, but should be coupled with a cultural shift that takes place in organisations to help those who are marginalised.

In 2021 we improved access to our service in the following key ways:

  • Reworked our marketing material to include transparent, itemised pricing and clear language so that there is no ambiguity in our service and that families know exactly what they are paying for.
  • Adding flexible payment options to our booking form: allowing families to pay “via a loved one’s estate,” and through the “DWP Funeral Expenses Payment.”
  • Communicated our monthly payment option for our funeral plan as well as a 0% interest option if paid across 12 months.
  • We also fully assist families in making applications to then send the UK government for the Funeral Expenses Payment.
Human Rights & Progression Improvement Plan

Our work to advance Human Rights & Progression does not stop there. In 2022 we want to:

1. Again, just as in 2020 and 2021 for 2022 we aim to increase the visibility of marginalised communities on our social media. That means giving more share of voice to the communities we champion and strive to help.

2. See a substantial increase in diverse management and management from underrepresented populations.

3. Partake more in the community and give back to our local communities. We want to give employees the time and the space to do this.

Climate & Sustainability

Our founding ethos is projecting a commitment to a positive, life-giving environmental impact that restores degraded natural environments and enables increased diversity and abundance of ecosystems. Climate change activism is a life-long plight, and we are excited to continue progressing in environmental stewardship. We pursue our value of climate action & responsibility through carbon offsetting and climate stewardship. We go into detail about these below.

We aim to help industry participants reduce their emissions. We carry out due diligence to select only the most environmentally friendly operators in the UK.

We operate as a carbon-neutral enterprise. We measure the total emissions of our operations and then implement a carbon offset scheme that results in a neutral footprint.

Every cremation we carry out includes a minimum 200% carbon offset using our tree planting charity partners.

In order to offset the emissions created by our organisation, we first calculate the CO2 produced in all operational activities. We continue to review these elements so that we continuously improve.

Transportation: This includes all the emissions created from the collection of the deceased and the delivery of the ashes back to the next of kin.

Administration: We take into consideration the emissions produced in our administrative operations, which include the energy used in our co-working space and our travel to and from work.

Place of Rest: We have calculated the emissions created while the loved one is in our care by taking into account the electricity and resources a mortuary uses.

Cremation: We calculate the emissions produced from every cremation we carry out. We are also mindful to use the most efficient and state of the art crematoriums in the industry.

Neo’s total carbon emission was determined using a carbon footprint calculator.

CO2 Emmissions and Offset 2021 Graph

In 2021 Neo emitted 39.77 tonnes of CO2. This is broken down into the following:

In 2021, we offset a total of 131 tonnes of CO2.

 

*Carbon positive in this context means that the organisation’s activity goes beyond reaching net-zero emissions. This means Neo has in turn created an environmental benefit by eliminating more carbon dioxide from the environment.

Climate Stewardship

We had the privilege of attending COP26 in Glasgow where team members were able to meet with peers and discuss the climate crisis. You can read more about their experience in our article, Neo Goes to COP26 in Glasgow.

 

We also have committed ourselves to calculating and reporting our climate action plans to the UN every year. In this year’s report we received a bronze award. You may read our full report on the UN Climate Change website.

Climate Action & Responsibility Improvement Plan

For 2022 we need to use more evidence-based frameworks to reduce our carbon emissions and make headway in tracking Scope 1 to Scope 3 emissions. We also need to engage more within our value chain regarding climate-related issues.

 

In addition, we aim to make a stronger push towards focusing on not only what is on land but also what is at sea. Our team is looking first to make a local impact on our local water source, the Thames, with nearby volunteer organisations. We are planning volunteer days to collect trash at the tide and make an impact here locally.

Applying the B Corp Methodology to everything we do

Just like how we underwent a due diligence process to achieve our B Corp certification (which we achieved in November 2021), we are applying this philosophy to measure our sustainability partnerships. Conducting due diligence reporting allows us to assess the efficacy of our partners.

 

We check on whether or not they publish an impact report, who they are governed, and where their funding comes from. We also do a great deal in staying engaged with our partners and we bring to light the initiatives that they implement through our social media and website articles.

Did We Achieve Our Objectives for 2021?

Our goals for 2021 are shown below along with the outcomes we achieved:

Our Focus for 2022

Employee wellbeing: 2021 proved how important “checking in” can be for employees and people in general. In funeralcare especially, it is integral to conduct more mental health and wellbeing checks throughout the year. We’ve acknowledged the emotional burden that can arise from working day in and day out in funeralcare, and we make it a point to host employee lunches and activities to boost morale.

 

Eradicating our carbon footprint: This one is a given and will most likely always be on our agenda. Everything we do has a carbon impact. Our aim is to measure, reduce, and offset everything we emit. Our main goal is to track Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and publish a manifesto about reaching our carbon neutrality.

 

Giving back more effectively: Oftentimes it is hard for smaller companies to think about giving back. The mentality of “we are barely able to keep our heads above the water, how are we supposed to give more??” may set in. Our ethos is that we give what we can. All Neo employees are entitled to one day of paid annual leave to do volunteer work with one of our charity partners or a social / environmental cause that is close to their hearts.

When do you need our service?

A loved one has passed

I’m planning ahead

Let us guide you

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