The EcoSend Podcast

We've got a fantastic show for you for Episode Two today, with two guests from the company who quite literally wrote the book on Sustainable Web Design; Tom & Marketa from Wholegrain Digital!

With 15 years of experience, Wholegrain Digital are trailblazers in the Digital Sustainability space, as well as early adopters of the highly-coveted BCorp Certification.

We're delighted to bring you this episode today, with stories and lessons learned from the frontlines trailblazing a path for Digital Sustainability!

Tom & Marketa shared a ton of insights including:
- How to run a successful digital business, while keeping sustainability and the environment at the forefront of their mission
- The importance of BCorp certification for measuring the performance of their sustainability initiatives. 
- The power of data; using Wholegrain's 'Website Carbon Tool' to calculate your site's digital footprint.
- How a passion for Sustainability led Tom and Marketa to incorporating other initiatives, such as Accessibility, Inclusivity, and Data Privacy.
- What does the future hold? Will AI help or hinder efforts to make the online experience more humane?
- How to talk about climate change so that people want to listen!
- and much more..!

If you're looking for advice on how to run a business responsibly and successfully, then look no further. Wholegrain Digital are a company who have walked the walk for years when it comes to blending commercial success with sustainability. Enjoy!

About Tom Greenwood:
Tom Greenwood is the co-founder of Wholegrain Digital, a Certified B Corp and 'green' trailblazer in the digital agency world. Tom is known for writing and speaking about how business, design, and web technology can be part of the solution to environmental issues and is author of the book, Sustainable Web Design.

About Marketa Benisek:
Marketa works as Digital Sustainability Lead at Wholegrain Digital, a London-based web design agency specialising in building low-carbon, accessible and usable websites. In her role, Marketa is helping clients understand how to make their digital products more sustainable. With a background in Marketing and Sustainable Development, she has a deep interest in storytelling for positive impact and is passionate about climate activism, having trained with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality Leader.

Further Resources from the episode:
Tom on LinkedIn:
Marta on LinkedIn:
Wholegrain's Website:
Wholegrain's Website Carbon Calculator:
Curiously Green:
'Sustainable Web Design':

Creators & Guests

James Gill
CEO of GoSquared
Marketa Benisek
Marketa is Digital Sustainability Lead at Wholegrain Digital and a Climate Reality Leader.
Tom Greenwood
Tom is the co-founder of Wholegrain Digital, a Certified B Corp and 'green' trailblazer in the digital agency world.

What is The EcoSend Podcast?

Our journey into the world of being a truly climate conscious business. Join us as we talk to fellow entrepreneurs, founders, marketing folks, and campaigners to help us build our new product, EcoSend: the climate conscious email marketing tool.

Season 3 Episode 2

[00:00:00] James Gill:

[00:00:53] Hi there. Welcome to another episode of the EcoSend podcast. The EcoSend podcast is a show we do every week. It's about half an hour, sometimes a little bit more, sometimes a little bit less, where I, your host, James Gill talk to wonderful people in the world of sustainability. Often in digital sustainability about how we can all be making the world a little bit better.

[00:01:15] Each week it may be an entrepreneur and a founder. It might be someone in the marketing world or someone just more focused on nonprofit and in, in the charitable sector that I'll be speaking to. And we are now, well and truly into series three of the show. So thank you to all of those who of you who have been listening all of all of this time.

[00:01:34] It ma means the world to us. Today I am thrilled to have two very special guests on the show who are from Wholegrain Digital. I'm joined by Tom and Marketa. Now Tom. Tom Greenwood is the co-founder of Wholegrain Digital, a certified B Corp. And Green trailblazer in the digital agency world, Tom is known for writing and speaking about how business design and web technology can be part of the solution to environmental issues and is author of the book Sustainable Web Design.

[00:02:07] So that's already some pretty good credentials for being on the show. Tom and Marketa, Marketa works as digital sustainability lead at Wholegrain Digital, a London based web design agency. Specializing in building low carbon, accessible and usable websites. In her role, Marketa is helping clients understand how to make their digital products more sustainable. We have a background in marketing and sustainable development. She has a deep interest in storytelling for positive impact and is passionate about climate activism. Having trained with Al Gore to become a climate reality leader, so I could not wish for two better guests to be speaking to today.

[00:02:45] Hi Tom. Hi Marketa. How are you both doing? Awesome. Great to have you. Tom, I don't know if you wanted to start by just sharing a little bit more in your own words about how, how you're doing and, and maybe your own journey to, to where you are today. It would, it would be great to hear.

[00:03:03] Tom Greenwood: Sure. So, So, I mean, my journey to today, I'll try and keep it brief, but essentially I, I,

[00:03:10] James Gill: If you can condense your whole life into just one minute that would be great! Yeah.

[00:03:16] Tom Greenwood: I, I started my career in industrial design and a focus on sustainability. I was really passionate about sustainability and how design could help solve environmental and social problems. And, and, and kind of along the way I discovered that digital was really exciting. It kind of felt quite new and fresh at the time, and I thought it would be an amazing way to kind of create value for people without, without any environmental impact compared to like designing and making physical products.

[00:03:47] And and so that was one of the things that sort of led me to start Wholegrain Digital with my wife Vineeta, which we did 16 years ago. And that journey led us to both kind of explore how do we run a business in a sustainable way? And through that learning that, oh, crikey, digital does have an environmental impact,

[00:04:06] James Gill: Yeah.

[00:04:06] Tom Greenwood: So what is it?

[00:04:07] How do we solve it? And yeah, and from that, that kind of led to Wholegrain becoming sort of known for our, our work on digital sustainability as well.

[00:04:18] James Gill: Wow, that's, that's, it is really good to hear the story and yeah, I, I'm sure anyone who's listening who's even sort of started to be intrigued about. While the digital sustainability probably ended up stumbling upon whole grain's site or one of your resources at some point. So it's, it's great to see where it all started.

[00:04:38] And, and Marketa, how about yourself? How did you how did you get to today and again, your life story in, in one minute? That would be great. No pressure. No, no, no. Don't worry!

[00:04:50] Marketa Benisek: No, I guess I've always been passionate about sustainability and just our connection to nature. I mean, I remember hearing about, you know, like those fairytales where you would have grandmothers who would be like harvesting herbs and making teas and stuff like that. And I, I was really conscious that that was kind of disappearing and I didn't know any of those grandmothers anymore. but I guess my, my personal journey to sustainability I can really pinpoint one specific event that happened in London that was really, really kind of fatal in my journey towards sustainability and even in my, in my career. And that was when I, I, I used to listen to a podcast by Jeremy Waite, '10 words'.

[00:05:31] He stopped recording any new episodes, but I really love it. And I noticed on LinkedIn that he was hosting an event in London about climate change, and I was really, I loved his way of talking and kind of explaining even complex topics to his audiences. And, and so I signed up and I went there and within like an hour he explained climate change the way that I never heard it before, like it, it contained all the words, the how, the whys, everything was just squeezed into that one hour and it really blew my mind. It was the first time that I actually understood why sustainability is so important. Whereas before, I felt like we always we were told that we should live a sustainable life, but the why was always a bit of a mystery. You know, like as a good citizen, you kind of do recycle and you do all of the good stuff, but you know, the why, 'the big why', why we should do it for the planet and for humankind, that was always a bit of a mystery. So that event really, really changed the way that I looked at everything related to sustainability, even in my personal life and in my work life. And so I similar as Jeremy, I want, really wanted to become climate reality leader.

[00:06:45] So I joined one of those courses at the beginning of Covid actually. So I became trained as a climate reality leader. And yeah, that's that's also a similar time when I met Vineeta and Tom for the very first time, and they introduced me to the very concept of digital sustainability and digital carbon footprint.

[00:07:02] And I remember the very first meeting with Vineeta and she said, 'oh yeah, well every single email has a carbon footprint'. I was like, What, what do you mean? And, and I, I just became really obsessed about this topic. I was really passionate about it and I just started researching. Everything about it. I was reading up and we started collaborating on various different projects.

[00:07:25] Back then, I was working in marketing and kind of SEO and so digital sustainability felt like a very, very relevant topic for me. And so I started looking into it and a few years later, you know, here I am...

[00:07:38] James Gill: Wow!

[00:07:39] Marketa Benisek: Whole Grain Digital and I'm, yeah, it's, it's really, I'm excited about all the projects that are coming up and yeah, it, it feels really great to work for such a purpose-led organisation.

[00:07:50] James Gill: Absolutely. What a, what a fascinating story. Gosh. And amazing to see how like a single sort of talk and one hour of someone speaking can have such a tremendous impact as well, and drive a message home so much. And And, and yeah. And then I, I assume when you were learning about all this, you might have come across this wonderful book that Tom's written then about digital sustainability and how, like maybe, I guess we're coming to the experts here on sustainable web design.

[00:08:22] How, like was this something that naturally just came about once? Once you were on the, on this path, Tom, like was, was it from the start like, we're gonna build a, an agency that focuses on sustainable web design and I'm gonna write a book about it and that'll be my everything sorted? Or, or how did things begin?

[00:08:44] And, and clearly they've gotten to this incredible point where you are renowned for. Both great web design by its own right, but also having this environmental and climate conscious side to, to things and yeah. How, how did, how did, how did that journey take place? And, and you said 16 years, that's also in its own right, like an incredible achievement to have built a business over that time.

[00:09:11] I'm keen to hear more about that whole, that whole journey and that story and what even is digital sustainability for those who are maybe new to this term?

[00:09:21] Tom Greenwood: Yeah, sure. Well maybe I'll give you that sort of, that backstory and then Marketa can, can do the, 'what is digital sustainability?'

[00:09:28] James Gill: Okay. Yeah. Great. Share it around. Yeah.

[00:09:30] Tom Greenwood: So, so when we started Whole Grain, we were really focused on sustainability in two, in two ways. One was we wanted to try and run our own business in a way that was sort of environmentally friendly and socially responsible, and see how far we could push that and really use it as a model for kind of experimenting with how, how responsible a business can be.

[00:09:50] Because I was conscious that a lot of environmentalists at the time, of which I sort of counted myself as one, were very critical of businesses in general. There wasn't really like an a solution on the table that I could see. It was just like, businesses are bad and they're destroying everything. And I, and I felt like, well, that's not very constructive.

[00:10:09] James Gill: Ban all business. That's the solution..!

[00:10:12] Tom Greenwood: Yeah. With business. So I thought, well, if I start a business, then I'll get to like, see how difficult it is to try and run it in an environmentally friendly way. And so it is sort of been a bit of an experiment in that sense. So that was one piece was like, how do you just run a business in a responsible way?

[00:10:29] The other piece was as a, as an agency, Let's try and work on projects that we feel are doing something positive in the world and work with clients who we feel are kind of aligned with our own values. And that was really like the two pillars of. Sustainability for like the first 10 years. And digital sustainability wasn't really a part of it.

[00:10:50] It was just let's do really good work for really good people and try and get our own house in order

[00:10:54] and then when we came, were coming up to like the 10th anniversary of Wholegrain. We decided we were gonna go through the process of trying to certify as a, as a B Corp.

[00:11:03] We sort of felt like it would be a good way of A kind of growing up a bit as a, as a company with, you know, like very kind of freeform informal organization, which we still are to some extent, but we felt like we needed to grow up a bit and and also like help us like assess like, are we doing well?

[00:11:21] Like we, for 10 years we've been trying to run this business in a responsible way. Are we actually doing a decent job or, or not? So having like an independent. View on that from, from some experts was something we thought would be really valuable to us. So we went through this process, which itself is like really, really intense and challenging.

[00:11:41] And through it they ask you about the products that you make and how do you reduce the environmental impact and measure the environmental impact. And we were like, well, we don't know. And, and this and this, like, and I was really embarrassed because I had, like, I'd studied industrial design, I had done like lifecycle assessments of like physical things in the past.

[00:12:02] Like that's where I started my career. And then here I was running my own company and I was like, oh, I can't even answer this question. Like, we've never, we've never even really thought about it. We just assume that digital is like, literally doesn't exist.

[00:12:15] James Gill: yeah. It doesn't, yeah, it's not like, it's not in a box anywhere. It's not come off a production line, so...

[00:12:21] Tom Greenwood: exactly. Yeah.

[00:12:22] Yeah. And so I asked like everybody that I knew who I thought might know the answer to this in like the digital world, and they all just kind of gave me a funny look and said, oh no, that's like, there's no, there's no environmental impact of like the internet and digital technology. And I was like, okay.

[00:12:40] So then I asked the B Corp assessment people and they, they said the same thing. They came straight back and they said, oh no, you leave that whole section blank. That's what all other companies in your sector do.

[00:12:51] James Gill: Oh wow. Wow.

[00:12:53] Tom Greenwood: And I was like, okay. So we did leave it blank the first time around. And, but it just really bothered me that like nobody had given me any evidence.

[00:13:02] It was just this like assumption that

[00:13:04] James Gill: Yeah. We don't talk about that.

[00:13:06] Tom Greenwood: Yeah, we don't talk about that. There's nothing to see here. So, so that was the beginning of like, very quickly from that point, like we, we started doing research to see if there was any. Actual evidence one way or the other, like, you know, just to find out what is the impact of the internet and digital technology.

[00:13:25] We very quickly found out that there is an impact. And it's really significant, particularly in terms of energy consumption. I. And then that led us on to like figuring out like, okay, like how do we quantify that in our own projects? How do we reduce that in design and development and hosting and, and then how do we tell the world about it so that we're not the only people doing this?

[00:13:42] Because that's kind of pointless if, if we're the only people who know about it. So so that, that kind of then became like a real central element of all the work we're doing at Wholegrain sort of six or so years ago.

[00:13:55] James Gill: Yeah. That you like, you embarked on that B Corp journey pretty early on, I guess in the history of B Corp. I'm not sure quite how old B Corp ... it's become a much bigger thing today, obviously. But six years ago that's ahead of the curve, right?

[00:14:11] Tom Greenwood: Yeah, there were, it was the second year that B Corp had been in the UK when we got certified. And there were, I think about 120. Companies had got certified before us in that first year. Whereas now there's over a thousand that just in the... and, and it was mostly kind of small businesses at the time, like really passionate kind of founders.

[00:14:31] Whereas now you've got like, you know, all ranges of sizes and types of

[00:14:35] James Gill: incredible. And, and so Marta, you joined was it sort of a few years ago and, and really started trying to drive the digital sustainability agenda quite a bit more. I take it?

[00:14:49] Marketa Benisek: Yeah, so I met Tom and Vineeta about it must be four or five years ago now. And as I said, we collaborated on various events everything related to digital sustainability or climate change and or sustainability in general. And then I joined Wholegrain about a year ago, and the purpose was to, yeah, just focus on this topic itself and really create a separate standalone, well not standalone, but create a department at Wholegrain Digital that kind of serves clients with this only. So, for example, we can just calculate, you know, what we do with Website Carbon, which is the tool that we, you know, that that's open source.

[00:15:33] Anyone can actually measure an estimation of carbon footprint of a webpage on the internet. And we created an advanced version of that, which is a website carbon audit. So for example, offering that to clients and just helping them understand what digital sustainability even means. You know, what it means for their teams, what it means with their websites, how can they improve it, how can they make their websites more efficient?

[00:15:55] More sustainable? And also just bringing this topic, raising awareness around this topic within other people's teams and other organizations', teams. It's still fairly niche and and relatively new to a lot of teams, you know, so there's a lot of interest around educational aspect as well which is, which is something that I'm very passionate about, so I love that.

[00:16:16] James Gill: Absolutely. I mean, most, most people are still trying to make their websites look half decent and make them work on mobile, let alone think about the, I I don't know the, the, the level of I guess there's a quite a spectrum of, of appreciation different clients can have for different aspects of web design.

[00:16:34] And, the tool you mentioned there, which of course we'll, we'll link to in the notes, but, but just to summarize it, the, the website carbon calculators, is it called; and so people can put their URL in there and then out from that, what does that create, generate for them?

[00:16:53] Marketa Benisek: Yeah. So you can go to website and insert a webpage, a URL to a window, and that will basically calculate the carbon footprint of that webpage for you. So what it does is that it uses the methodology that Tom and various other people created together using the latest academic research and all the knowledge that we have up to date.

[00:17:15] You know about digital sustainability and digital carbon footprint, and basically it takes into account things like page weights and the number of visits, so page views. And based on that it can calculate the, an estimation of a carbon footprint of that particular webpage. So then you, it'll present you a results page where you can see you know, the result of that particular webpage.

[00:17:37] So whether it's a cleaner or less so, and it also compares the carbon footprint is some more tangible things like, you know, we, we try to keep it really simple. So there are things like how many cups of tea you would be able to make with the amount of energy that that particular webpage needs to be you know, to run over a year or so.

[00:17:56] So yeah, things like that.

[00:17:58] James Gill: That's, that's awesome. Yeah. I, I, I definitely, I think most of our listeners have some sort of web presence or responsible for one, so hopefully yeah. Many people find that, that fascinating and, and also, yeah, likewise with the making it understandable as well. Like, I think there's so much there's a lot of industry terms and jargon in, in the space, and so to translate even the sort of the.

[00:18:23] The carbon footprint value as a, a mathematical computed output versus what you can relate that to, I think probably has, I would imagine, has a much broader appeal and gets that message across much more successfully. Which, which is great to, great to hear.

[00:18:39] Marketa Benisek: I mean, honestly, this this is the reason why I'm so excited about digital sustainability because I think that many things under the sort of sustainability umbrella are not measurable. But when it comes to digital sustainability, we really do have all the data. You know, they may not be perfect, but we do have some sort of data about how much energy is being used every time someone visits a web page, you know every time someone plays a video, things like that.

[00:19:05] And obviously all of the data are still, or some of the data are still emerging. But it's really exciting that nowadays we can calculate the emissions and we can really work on a roadmap to make a difference, to kind of limit or reduce the emissions and the energy usage. And I think that's really exciting.

[00:19:24] We can go back to kind of being really creative and innovative and come up with exciting solutions that are just not on people's kind of, Priority list right now, and we're trying to change that.

[00:19:36] James Gill: Yeah, absolutely. I, I I know an another topic you wanted to touch on, which, you know, I'm, I'm personally extremely key, like, you know, happy to talk about, but I don't wanna steal too much of, of the show talking about this, but I know you wanted to talk about green or sustainable email marketing, and I, I know, was it, was it, Tom, did you have some thoughts on this?

[00:19:57] I know you, you have a newsletter yourself or you also run a newsletter at, at Wholegrain. So What were your thoughts on this? Because obviously it's a topic where we both have a lot of interest on, on both sides, but...

[00:20:10] Tom Greenwood: Yeah, I mean, so we, so, so we've got two newsletters. We've got the, our digital sustainability newsletter called Curiously Green. And then I've got a personal one about sustainable business call. See more on, which is on Substack. And I think it, it's an interesting topic for me, just in the sense that once you learn about, like, like digital sustainability being a thing that like there's an environmental impact.

[00:20:32] One of the first things that most people come across is the impact of emails and. And actually when you look at the impact of emails, like yes, it's the emails we're sending every day, but a huge amount of it is like marketing emails. And I think everybody is familiar with their inbox being just like absolutely flooded with like all these marketing emails.

[00:20:52] Like, did I sign up for this? I can't remember.

[00:20:54] James Gill: And G D P R solved that, obviously!

[00:20:57] Tom Greenwood: Yeah, obviously that is no longer a problem. But like so many of them are being sent every day, you know, like millions or billions in reality. And, and actually not that many of them are being read, A lot of them are kind of like low quality.

[00:21:13] A lot of them people, maybe they did sign up for them, maybe they didn't, but they don't remember signing up for them. But then there's this like smaller kind of core of like stuff where you actually really want it and you want, like, it is important and that stuff like kind of needs to shine through.

[00:21:29] And I think. There's an opportunity there to like deliver like really high quality content and do that in an efficient way. Because with the principles of making an email more efficient or similar to making a website more efficient in terms of, you know, like using less data, sending it to only the people who really want it.

[00:21:47] So. I think there's some really interesting things around like how you get people to sign up so that you know that they actually genuinely wanted to sign up and you're not tricking people into it. And then crafting your emails so that they're actually like really engaging content and keeping an eye on like your open rates so that you actually know that like this is something that people still want.

[00:22:06] And if they don't want, like, doing regular cleanups of people who just never open your emails, like remove them from the list. Because you're just firing emails at 'em every month or every week or whatever it is. And yeah. And then, and then also like on the email template side about looking at, and, and I have to say we need to do this again for ourselves, but like looking at the email templates, how can you redesign them to like, so that they actually use less data and, and then that will be good for people because it'll then also load faster or mobile and, and things like that.

[00:22:34] I just, yeah, there's, there's sort of, it is, for me, it's just a kind of a curious area of digital sustainability that's a little bit outside of what we do as a business, but I think it is relevant to, like most organizations, because nearly everyone does some sort of email marketing.

[00:22:48] James Gill: Absolutely. And feel almost slightly guilty talking about it on, on this podcast when it's to try and avoid it, be it being too to too much of an advert for EcoSend. But I think so much of what you're saying there, that there's so much overlap between, you know, what, what you're trying to figure out with, with the website, carbon calculator and what a webpage is. And then you think about an email and the average marketing email is basically a webpage being pushed into someone's own inbox and often whether or not they, they want it. And and I, I think, and maybe this, this very much comes onto your, the other topic, I know we wanted to talk about where so many of the approaches to, to building a more conscious, like climate conscious webpage and website, and sending email in a more climate conscious way.

[00:23:41] Also often or not at the expense of a successful marketing campaign or actual business outcomes, they're often go hand in hand with actually making it more, more successful in that the, the approach to reducing your list size and getting rid of people that are not actually opening emails maybe is gonna hurt someone's ego in a certain marketing position because their numbers are not as big.

[00:24:07] But actually the open rate and the understanding you then get for the success of that email campaign becomes better. So yeah, very naturally for me, I think that takes us into that, that that topic of, of humane web design and, and more conscious web design and marketing that branches into everything really.

[00:24:31] It's like you're not just doing stuff for the climate and everything else is gonna suffer as a result. It's quite the opposite.

[00:24:37] Tom Greenwood: Yeah, exactly. I think everything is related and we've found that when you, when you use sort of the environmental aspect as a lens through which to look at your work in digital, you end up finding like these opportunities that you hadn't seen before to just make things better. Not just to environmentally, but you know, improve user experience and improved perform web performance and improved privacy and, and things like this.

[00:25:00] And, and it sort of led us down a path of sort of just thinking more holistically about what we're doing on the web. And you know, there's other topics that you know, people talk about as being important sort of socially you know, around privacy and accessibility and things like this. And, and I think where we've got to in our thinking and, and market has really helped me with this is, is actually saying, well, hang on a minute.

[00:25:27] Like, all these things kind of seem to be talked about in silos. Client briefs often are kind of very like siloed as like, oh, we want this to be an accessible website and there's someone else who wants it to be a sustainable website. And it's like, well, we just need to like have some more like joined up thinking of like, let's try and design and build things in a way that is just considerate of the humans that are gonna be impacted.

[00:25:51] And then hopefully...

[00:25:52] James Gill: ...humans. They're always getting in the way. Yeah!

[00:25:57] Tom Greenwood: Yeah!

[00:25:59] James Gill: Yeah, absolutely. I so that, that's actually so interesting. And so Marketa, you've been a big driving force of bringing this together. So would you say, is this the new movement we're all gonna be talking about? Is this the movement you would like to see the humane web design movement?

[00:26:16] Is that is Tom gonna have another book about this? I don't...

[00:26:20] Marketa Benisek: I, I generally hope so. I think yeah, no, I, I think it'll be necessary because at the moment it feels like when we are browsing the web it may feel like we have the choice over what is what we consume on the internet. But I think that's actually not very true because a lot of stuff is just kind of presented to us, you know, and it's and it's done in a very kind of catchy, very manipulative way so that we actually consume stuff that we wouldn't advise, consume, you know, we, we wouldn't, for example, search for it ourselves.

[00:26:54] But yeah, I think. I think it really just going back to Tom's point, I think everything is related to, you know, like digital sustainability is linked to accessibility and that is also linked to efficiency and kind of performance. And you know, it all really kind of needs to work together in order to create a really good user experience that is not manipulative and that Users kind of have the feeling that they have control over, if that makes sense.

[00:27:24] I think we really need to give the control back to users, you know, and even like on email marketing sometimes, you know, just the unsubscribe button is so hidden away, you know, and you, you unsubscribe from one list and then it's just like, you know, 10 other pops up

[00:27:39], how did I end up in this place?

[00:27:41] You know, it's really important to just be transparent, I think. And that's, that's what we're hoping to just again, just raise awareness about some of these topics and hopefully it'll spark new conversations even within teams.

[00:27:54] James Gill: Absolutely. It, it certainly so speaks to me, so like, so effortlessly really, that it, it's, and it's also such an easy thing to say, to be focused more on the, the humans in the whole design and building process of, of the web, but you only have to spend a second on the web to see how far we have gotten from really caring about that end user experience and that bringing that humane side of things back when any website that is anything to do with publishing online seems to be pushing you with popups, takes ages to load, probably doesn't look great on a phone versus on the desktop and is probably hard to share with someone else. And, and that's, you know, and how that varies for different people in different areas of the world with different abilities.

[00:28:46] It's just, yeah. The more we talk about, the more we put that, that at the top of the agenda. And I very much hope there will be more more books from you, you, Tom, especially on on this topic. I can imagine reading the first chapter right now, so.

[00:29:01] Tom Greenwood: I came so close to writing the, like, publisher's pitch for this only a few weeks ago. And, and I, and I literally like, sat down to start writing it and I was like, Tom, what are you doing? Like...

[00:29:14] James Gill: this is why you went on holiday, right?

[00:29:16] Tom Greenwood: Yeah, yeah, I, I actually did.

[00:29:20] James Gill: So I, I I know we, we are almost at time. I mean, I knew this would be an episode we'd struggle to squeeze into just half an hour, but I, I just a couple more things. Like, we always like to just pontificate on what the future might, might look like and the present is changing so much. Do we, of you have, have many, many thoughts maybe, maybe yourself, Tom, on, on the future of of, of where is going?

[00:29:48] Tom Greenwood: I mean I would be lying if I said I knew. I honestly don't know where future of, of digital's going. Especially with, especially with the rise of AI. I think, you know, that's gonna change the internet dramatically. And in, in, and I think this really ties in with the humane, of digital humane web design concept, is that actually a lot of the web is gonna become like machine generated.

[00:30:11] Machine operated and, and there's, we're gonna enter this weird world, which we're kind of already in, but it's gonna intensify where it's hard to tell like what is real and what's not, and who's, who's human and who's not. And, and, and I think we'll need somehow to like have spaces that are like designated human spaces where, you know, everyone there is a real person and the content is really like real people saying things and, and as Marketa has said, like it's not some machine trying to manipulate you.

[00:30:42] It's there to serve you rather than you being there to serve some corporation on the other side. So I guess like, I'm hoping that somehow. In the grand scheme of things, like with all these new technologies coming online, that there's enough people who care about this to actually like, try and like create pressure that the technology does serve us.

[00:31:10] I don't know exactly how that'll happen. I'm just hoping that like, somehow, like the critical mass of people who care about humans will somehow lead us all to a good future.

[00:31:22] James Gill: Absolutely. I, I think it's generally better to be optimistic than pessimistic. I, I mean, I.

[00:31:31] Tom Greenwood: I, I think so. I mean, I can easily be pessimistic, but,

[00:31:35] James Gill: It's easier to be pessimistic!. We, we'll try to wrap on a, on a more, on a more positive night there. I know you had some, or there was some, we always like to ask for advice or, or see if anyone has been given good advice in the past. I dunno if, if Marketa, you wanted to, to share any of the advice that you've received or or, or if you wanted to share any other thoughts on the future, then then please go ahead.

[00:32:03] Marketa Benisek: Yeah, no, I I think it's just really powerful. You know, I, I listened to a podcast once or was it a TED Talk? I think it's, it's a, sorry, it's a TED Talk by Katherine Hayhoe, and she's a climate scientist, and she created a TED Talk about, or recorded a TED talk about how to actually talk about climate change so that people actually want to listen.

[00:32:21] Or what's, what's the most important thing that you can even do? And actually talking about climate change is the thing, the most important thing that you can do, because. Oftentimes it's just a taboo and you know, we really need to be open and honest, and I think that there's a lot of doom and gloom around this topic, but it's it's not helpful.

[00:32:39] You know, we are just we need to talk about it. And so I'm, I'm really grateful that at Wholegrain, you know, we do have these conversations internally and even with clients, and we have the opportunity to kind of spin it you know, in a positive way and kind of focus on the solutions rather than, 'oh my gosh, like, these are all the problems and we need to, we're all gonna die.'

[00:32:57] You know, hopefully that's not gonna happen. And you know, all those solutions are there and we just need to focus on them. And so the, the one advice that I received a few years ago that's actually by Jeremy Waite, the same person who hosted the event in London. That was so fatal for me in my life.

[00:33:14] He said that you can change the world just by sharing your story.

[00:33:18] And I think this is really, really powerful. If we talk about our own experiences and how something inspired us and something like to change within our own lives, I think that other people can take inspiration from that and kind of follow.

[00:33:32] And this is also related to, you know, Climate action or sustainable living, or sustainable working or anything else? You know, you can really apply this to everyone. Just sharing your story and kind of showing leading by example is really powerful, and that's why I would definitely recommend listening to Oxymoron because it's such a good podcast about sustainable business and it doesn't necessarily always present solutions, but it's just really good to think about how it could be done.

[00:34:03] In a better way. And that's also our aim for the Humane Web project that we're working on. So yeah, lots of it's exciting stuff coming up.

[00:34:12] James Gill: Amazing. What a positive and uplifting and I would say actionable way to wrap up the show. Thank you. Thank you, Marketa. And thank you Tom. And I, I think speaking about the climate and inspiring people to take action is, I hope that maybe one or two people listening have feel that way too. And I know you've got so many resources and things that people can go check out to, like take a next step after, after hearing this.

[00:34:39] So I know that we'll, we'll link to the, the website carbon calculator and is, is the website for your business. And, and Curiously Green is the newsletter, which I believe is linked on the, on the Wholegrain site. And both of yourselves are on LinkedIn as well?

[00:34:57] Marketa Benisek: Yeah. Mm-hmm.

[00:34:59] James Gill: Thank you so much Tom, Marketa. It has been an absolute pleasure for speaking with you and I, I. I'm excited by all of the inspiration that you've shared and and hopefully many of us will go away and make many more changes and make the web a little bit, a little bit more humane after this.

[00:35:17] Tom Greenwood: Amazing.

[00:35:18] James Gill: Thank you both.

[00:35:18] Marketa Benisek: Thank you.

[00:35:20] James Gill: Thank you and thank you everybody for, for listening. If you've enjoyed today's show, as always, please let us know via whatever player or service you're using. And it really helps get more people to learn about the show and wonderful stories like this. So thank you for listening and catch you next time.