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We have always believed in a better, fairer way of working - with the owners of our places, brand partners, the wider community and each other. It informs everything we do, from decisions about company structure to the tea we have in the cupboard.  

Crane 29
Charitable trust
Help refugees

Our charity work

Since our first year in business we’ve donated 5% of our profits to various charities, but we recently made this commitment even stronger when we moved to a unique model of employee ownership. We formed a Charitable Trust which owns 24% of the business and will use its share of profits to support environmental causes and improve the relationship between travel and the natural world.

As well as the global stuff, we do our bit for local communities. We’ve set up a bursary which will give places of special community interest promotion through us free of charge and every employee has an extra day of leave to use for volunteering on projects of their own choosing. We have also chosen a local charity, The Forest of Avon Trust, to support over the next three years.   

While our focus is mostly on environmental causes, like when we gave all profits (around £5k) from our Crane 29 treehouse project to Friends of the Earth, there are some related human tragedies too shocking to ignore. When the refugee crisis was at its worst in 2016, we raised £40,000 for Help Refugees with a raffle to win stays at our spaces.

our employees
Pay gap 1
Pay gap 2

Being a fair company

It’s important to us that our company structure reflects the way we want the world to be - equal and fair. Our highest paid full-time employee makes five times more than our lowest paid full-time employee, which is pretty level for a small business and glassy smooth compared to most big companies. We have a 33% female board and 76% of all employees are female, including most department heads. There is, of course, no gender pay gap at all, at any level. Employee ownership has allowed us to safeguard that equality. The Chair of the Employee Council is a board member by definition, included in finance and strategy decisions at the highest level, so that we all know what’s going on. Discussions about pay, dividends and where all the men have gone are therefore not top-down, but involve the whole company.

Honest and responsible business

It should go without saying, but these days we feel the need to state that we’re a proud part of the community in which we live and work, paying our taxes rather than shifting things into offshore accounts. We deal fairly and openly with our owners, suppliers and partners, using local businesses where we can. We also give a lot of thought to who we work with and have turned down potentially lucrative associations because we didn’t agree with a potential brand partner’s ethos. Everyone, from the board members to the newest employee, believes in what we do and why we do it.  

We foster a sense of community, family and responsibility

We’re a friendly, caring company. You might imagine that we mean having a “wellbeing day” now and again, or going home 10 minutes early every 9th Friday, but we really mean it. We have flexible working hours so that everyone can keep a good work/ life balance and we’ve had nutritionists, financial advisers, massage therapists, mental health and physical health experts all come in to the office. There’s a volunteer team, called The Social Beings, who organise company outings, make sure everyone is happy and healthy, and have a gong that they bang every so often to remind everyone to get up, stretch a bit and take a break. There’s even an office choir with a song for every occasion.

Travel to work
We love tea

Reducing our footprint

Our owners create incredible buildings from straw bales and reclaimed materials, power their spaces with wind turbines or solar energy and, in one enterprising case, heat their showers with compost. We’ve pledged to emulate them as closely as we can with our office. We’re aiming to be Carbon Negative by 2025 and have an in-house team that are constantly looking for ways we can do business more sustainably. They have changed our gas and electric supplier, Fairtrade tea and coffee brands, implemented food waste collection and switched us to vegetable-based printer inks (not made from the food waste, but we can dream).

We are also very much aware of our impact outside the office. Around two thirds of our employees travel to work either by bike or on foot, reducing the impact of the daily commute to the search for somewhere to hang wet clothes in winter. We group our inspections together as much as possible to make travel more efficient and cut down on car usage, as well as examining a space’s environmental credentials as part of the inspection process. Through our expertise and deals with carefully-chosen partners like Ecover, we encourage our owners to think about sustainability, although we’re glad to say that many of them are more than one step ahead of us when it comes to being green.

This year, to make sure that we keep challenging ourselves to do more, we’re looking into applying for B Corp certification. It’s a long and complex process that requires the highest standards of environmental and social awareness. We are sure that whether or not we are successful, we’ll learn an enormous amount and be a better company for it.