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Etsy’s 2013 Values & Impact Annual Report

Feb 13, 2014

by Katie Hunt-Morr

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Today we’re releasing Etsy’s 2013 Progress Report to our staff and to the public. Our report is unique in that, unlike a typical annual report that focuses on financial performance, this is a measure of the delivery on our commitments to our employees, our community, and the planet.

We created our first values report in 2012, which acted as a baseline, cataloging the initial measurements of our ecological footprint and community impact.

2012 was also the year we became a certified B Corporation. We use B Lab’s rigorous analysis as a means of checking our progress against a third-party standard. Over the last year, our hard work netted an unprecedented increase of 25 points in our B Corp score.

We are proud to be a values-led business and think it’s important to be accountable to all of our stakeholders, not just our investors. We recognize that the company’s success is intrinsically tied to our collective success.

We believe all businesses are obligated to minimize their harm and maximize their benefit to people and the planet. That is why we continuously work to increase the health and happiness of our employees, contribute to our communities, and track and improve our ecological footprint.

This report is for you — our members, our employees, and our peers in the business community.

Here are some of the highlights!

Employees:
Many companies use employee engagement surveys. Our Employee Happiness Survey is different in that we measure the personal well-being of our employees, in addition to their relationships to the company. We understand that one’s personal happiness can be deeply affected by his/her work, and vice versa.

The survey revealed that our employees are a happy group, with 84% positive personal well-being.  Our overall employee engagement is 80% positive, compared to the national average of 60%.* We did exceptionally well in Values Alignment, at 91%. The category that we need to work on most is Workload at 46%.

We share our survey results with all of our employees, and publicly, because we value transparency in all of our operations.

Community:
In 2013, we formalized a policy to give all employees 40 hours of paid volunteer time every year. We helped our employees make use of their volunteer time through company-wide volunteer days, as well as customized placement with nonprofit organizations. We leveraged the professional skills of our staff to provide pro bono services to charities and mentorships to educational groups.

Our employees made the most of it by volunteering 1,151 hours with 15 nonprofits in five countries in the last year. We also hosted and mentored 48 nonprofits and education groups in our offices around the world.

Planet:
We expanded our baseline measurements to include more of our offices, business air travel, employee commuting, and domestic shipping in our marketplace. We are continuously working towards getting a completely comprehensive picture of our impact on the environment and, more importantly, reducing it.

As a technology company, our greatest greenhouse gas consumption comes from our data centers. We were surprised, however, to find that our business travel is a close second, comprising 39% of our overall greenhouse gas consumption.

In the last year, we have made our website more efficient, reducing the amount of energy we use per dollar of revenue earned. Our employees contributed to lowering our office electricity use by 19%, and reducing the amount of trash we send to the landfill by 40%.

We publish this report to hold ourselves accountable for delivering on our values and to publicly share our approach to bettering our business. We aren’t perfect, but we are improving. We have learned a lot from our members and our business peers, and we want to continue the open exchange of information.

How do you embed your values in your business?
Share in the comments below!

16 comments

  • jill2day

    jill from jill2day said 2 years ago

    Why is there not one mention of us - your customers - in this report? Is this what will now replace the weather report?

  • jill2day

    jill from jill2day said 2 years ago

    There is mention at the end of the full report (not in the above), but, I would love to see as much info on the demographics of my buyers and Etsy's sellers/customers and categories, etc, as on the environmental impact of Etsy. But that is just me and my old fashioned approach to business I guess!

  • rctees

    toni from RCTees said 2 years ago

    I'm PROUD to be a part of Etsy world. It's made toni's world a much better place!! Keep up the amazing work guys!!

  • rachelgamburd

    Rachel and Ryan from LotusLeafCreations said 2 years ago

    Great report! Glad to see that Etsy values people and planet. This is very important.

  • Akamatra

    Akamatra from Akamatra said 2 years ago

    My values are interpreted into each one of my creations. I am true to myself and my costomers and always strive to create with ethos (greek for ethical). I find this is the only way to create handmade items of quality.

  • emilybidwell Admin

    Emily Bidwell from emilybidwell said 2 years ago

    Thank you for this! As an Etsy employee, I am really excited to be able to show our community how we function as an internal organization. A report like this is important, because we can assess the quality and values of the company that facilitates the business.

  • justanotheramy

    justanotheramy said 2 years ago

    That's great about your employees, but what about the employees of sellers? I'm noticing more and more listings of clothing etc coming from high-volume sellers in places like Thailand and Indonesia and… well, I started buying on Etsy because I wanted to *avoid* sweatshops etc — and even cottage-industry sweatshops are sweatshops. It's great that people are able to use Etsy to reach an international market, but there is a line between business-minded makers and that kind of bollox. Are you doing anything to monitor, regulate, or discourage these kinds of sellers? If not, why not? And how does their proliferation and infiltration sit with your 'values'?

  • realfaery

    realfaery from realfaery said 2 years ago

    That would be great to hear more in a blog post about the volunteer work you do. Maybe you could think about founding some projects/ social enterprise/ NGO where Etsy community members could also contribute as volunteers for shorter or longer period, if not with "paid" work, but at least supporting their expenses. If you find out something like that, I would love to be the first volunteer, as this year I plan to do something like that:))))

  • shellycalnan

    Shelly Severson from MontanaBundleUp said 2 years ago

    Thank you for all your hard work and creativity in making ETSY. Selling on Etsy has made each and everyday a bit more fun and interesting. The extra cash is awesome! I love being able to work at home in the evening doing something I love.

  • beardoil

    Beard Oil from BeardOil said 2 years ago

    Great Info!

  • blisslet

    Beth McCormack from MiriTextiles said 2 years ago

    Most of the clothing available on Etsy now is manufactured in factories in countries with abysmal humanitarian and safety regulations. This is not good for anyone. Not good for Etsy. Not good for the planet. Not good for hand-crafters trying to make a living on a hand-made site. And especially not good for the employees of those factories.

  • thecyclingartist

    Tina Mammoser from GeologyArt said 2 years ago

    How about a report on your business community - your customers? Improvements in maintaining the core integrity through policing acceptable listings? Average growth of individual sellers? Increase in marketing exposure? Increase of buyer member base, to provide a healthy environment for seller members? There seems to be little report on customer service or marketplace integrity. The brief final section is about the demographics of us sellers, but no indication of performance change for us.

  • evaferguson2010

    Eva from HandmadeByEvaRose said 2 years ago

    I love everything about Etsy, including CSR. Keep up the good work guys- you do make a truly amazing company and all the sellers and etsy shoppers/buyers who value handmade and vintage make an awesome community I am very proud to be part of.

  • evaferguson2010

    Eva from HandmadeByEvaRose said 2 years ago

    I do agree with the concerns of people- I was very disappointed when Etsy allowed manufacturing. It does change the game and we do see mass produced here- a few sellers using the same photos...it is a dead giveaway. It is challenging for a growing company to pursue growth but also maintain its core identity and integrity- I hope you stay true to your roots Etsy and not just become another profit making empire.

  • staats25

    Drew from DrewsCollectibles said 2 years ago

    I'm confused by this.

  • annedelmarquette

    Anne Delmarquette said 2 years ago

    It seems great to work for Etsy!

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