With over 32 Million dollars raised on Kickstarter, Peter Dering, CEO of Peak Design is best known as the king of Kickstarter — but in environmental circles, Peter is also known as the Co-Founder of Climate Neutral — the largest carbon neutrality certification body in the world.
In today’s episode, our conversation with Peter dives deeply into two subjects — why companies should offset their emissions and the benefits of creating a value-driven business that prioritizes employee happiness. After chatting to Peter about his relentless optimism and how a strong work ethic can be developed by building the right team, we discuss the values and purpose that Peak Design is founded on. We then reflect on Peter’s goal of giving his employees the best shot at fulfillment, how outside investment affects company culture, and why value-first companies have such high employee attraction and retention.
From fostering an ideal work environment, we jump to exploring Peter’s view that companies are responsible for their environmental impact. He unpacks the reasons that companies should pay to offset their emissions before explaining the different types of carbon emissions. We talk about what it takes for companies to become truly carbon-neutral and how the failings of the limited carbon certification industry-inspired Peter to co-found Climate Neutral. Near the end of the episode, Peter pulls back the curtain and gives listeners advice on creating a successful Kickstarter campaign, along with details on the peer-to-peer marketplace that he’s developing. For the full episode, check out one of the links below:
Key Points From This Episode
A key benefit of a values-first company
Peter sees one of the biggest benefits of operating as values-first is employee attraction and retention. Peak Design has only had one person leave in company history. This not only ensures you’re attracting great talent but also by not losing employees, knowledge doesn’t leave or get lost and resources aren’t being expended on training new hires.
Why businesses should offset their carbon
Environmentalists may say that businesses shouldn’t be able to pay for the elimination of their sins — basically, you shouldn’t pay someone else to offset your carbon, you should just do it yourself. Peter argues that we don’t take our own trash to the dump, we don’t ship our own products across the ocean, and we don’t make our own backpacks because there is a service out there that does it better. So why should we not outsource our carbon elimination? It is inefficient for most companies focused on completely different products to try to figure out how to also effectively offset their carbon emissions.
What are scope 1, 2, and 3 carbon emissions?
○ Scope 1: Direct emissions- literal hydrocarbons that you burn as a business
○ Scope 2: Indirect emissions from energy- almost all purchased electricity (for office and home offices)
○ Scope 3: Other indirect emissions- everything that you’re not directly emitting. Ex: making a Peak Design backpack — go back to the collection of the recycled materials, mechanical and heat components of recycling, weaving and dying and coating process, transport between factories, etc.
There are scope 1 footprints for each factory used in the production of a product, but businesses can’t just charge the factory because it’s not really their responsibility as they’re meeting the business’s demand that is selling the finished product. If a business is patting itself on the back for eliminating scope 1 and 2 but not scope 3, they are basically greenwashing. Not every human has time to understand the difference between these scopes, so certifying companies on offsetting their carbon fully makes it easier for consumers to see.
The key to a successful Kickstarter campaign
First and foremost, make sure your product solves real problems. If your product is solving problems for which there isn’t a big enough market, you’re exaggerating the size of the problem, or you’re trying to solve a problem that has already been well solved by others, then you will struggle.
“I believe in free markets and global trade but we also care about the lives of the people who are making our products. We want them to have an equal shot at happiness and fulfillment.” — @dering_peter[0:08:40]
“If you’re going to be a participant in today’s economy, that means that you’re going to be doing many bad things for the environment. The least you can do is offset that environmental impact.” — @dering_peter[0:10:08]
“Companies have not chosen to take on the climate and the fact that every dollar of commerce has linked to it a certain amount of fossil fuel burn.” — @dering_peter[0:16:30]
The formula for a successful Kickstarter is to make sure you solve real problems for a big enough market. Don’t exaggerate the scope of the problem or make something if the problem is already solved.” — @dering_peter[0:37:26]
Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode
Benjamin Von Wong
Benjamin Von Wong Email
Peter Dering on LinkedIn
Peter Dering on Instagram
Peter Dering on Twitter
Peak Design on YouTube
Peak Design on Kickstarter
Certified Carbon Neutral
The CarbonNeutral Protocol
Natural Capital Partners
Climate Neutral Brand Emissions Estimator