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How Hotjar is giving back

At Hotjar, we believe that success shouldn’t be measured in profits alone, but rather in the contributions to all stakeholders; our team, customers, end-users, partners, the community, and the planet.

Which is why in 2017—on the Spanish coast at one of our bi-annual meetups—we announced that Hotjar would begin pledging 1% of our revenue to ‘giving back’. We didn’t have a solid plan on how we’d give, but we knew we wanted to do it in a meaningful way.

Behind the scenes

Last updated

29 Sep 2021

And since that day, every month, we’ve been putting aside 1% of Hotjar’s revenue—that’s our total income, not just profit—into our Giving Back fund.

Now, it’s about time we shared how it’s going.

Why are we sharing this?

One of our core values is to build trust with transparency. By sharing updates like this, we want to encourage other companies—and hopefully even investors, world leaders, and civil society—to be transparent about where, how, and why they give back.

At Hotjar, we believe in a world where all businesses treat you with love. We hope sharing our journey will inspire and help others to further contribute to this just cause.

How we got started with our Giving Back initiative

We began with a 1% ambition, but without a real plan on how we’d make it happen.

By the end of 2017, we’d raised €74,071, and members of our team began working on how we’d make donations. We donated €75,000 to five causes, including AnnieCannonsGirls Who Code, and an accommodation project.

Girls who code - Simple as PDF

We then approached the end of 2018 with €113,521 in our Giving Back fund, and knew we needed a set focus.

Focusing our efforts on the climate emergency

In 2019, Greta Thunberg was Time’s Person of the Year. Moved by Greta’s words and by students’ climate strikes around the world, we announced Hotjar would dedicate its Giving Back fund to the climate emergency.

We also pledged to become a carbon-neutral company.

What followed was an immersion into the world of carbon offsetting. We set up internal teams to help us measure and offset Hotjar’s carbon emissions, and match offset costs with donations to organizations that fight for a switch to renewable energy sources.

We started to make an impact, and then the pandemic broke out. We paused all non-essential investments and spending—but continued to build up our Giving Back fund.

Defining our four pillars of Giving Back

Towards the end of 2020, our Giving Back fund totaled €483,421, and we knew we needed further direction on how to put this money to good use.

Coincidentally, near the end of that year, a lot of the Hotjar team had watched David Attenborough’s A Life on Our Planet. The documentary was both beautiful and powerful, and it renewed our energy and belief in our cause.

So, inspired by the work of Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough, early in 2021, we created four pillars* that our Giving Back efforts are tied back to, all of which are underpinned by our commitment to climate justice.

And now, with just over €400k in the Hotjar Giving Back fund, and approaching the end of 2021, we have some exciting updates. Let’s dive into the four pillars.

*These pillars may shift over time, and so will the organizations we partner with. We’ll also support other initiatives that our people are passionate about.

1. Stop fossil fuels. Switch to renewable energy.

We’re going to invest in renewable energy through offsets and dedicated projects, while lobbying and protesting against the use of fossil fuels.

In 2020, we worked with Carbon Footprint to calculate our exact carbon footprint as a business. While we were waiting for this, we estimated and rounded up our individual carbon footprints to be 10,000 tons per person.

We offset all of this by investing in the San Antonio El Sitio Wind Power Project, the first wind project located in Guatemala. Then, just as we did in 2019, we matched the cost of these offsets with a donation of $18,000 to 350.org, a global not-for-profit standing up to the fossil fuel industry. And then we received our calculation...

After 31 Hotjar team members across 15 countries shared their data allowing us to measure Hotjar’s carbon footprint for 2020, our Carbon Footprint certification came back with a footprint figure of 535.70 tons each.

This felt much lower than expected—but then again we hardly traveled last year.

The exciting news here is that it means we’ve hit our goal of officially making Hotjar a carbon neutral organization.

Now, we’re preparing another carbon measurement exercise to give us our footprint figures for 2021. Whilst we’re waiting for this, we’re in the process of offsetting another 10,000 tons of CO2 for each person, and matching the spend with another donation to 350.org.

2. Stop deforestation. Protect trees.

Through a partnership with the World Land Trust, we’ve started to protect trees and wildlife by purchasing land.

At the end of 2020, we bought an acre of land for each of our team members. At the time, that was 130 Hotjarians, so we protected 130 acres. We’ve grown quite a bit since then, and this August we bought an acre for every new team member that joined from January 2021.

Buy an Acre

We’ve hit our goal of planting 1 million trees!

We’ve also started the conversation about actions we can take personally to help with biodiversity—namely moving to a more plant-based diet. It’s a delicate topic—but the scientific evidence presented in Life on Our Planet suggests we need to reduce the space we currently use for farmland and make space for returning wilderness.

An easy way of doing this is by changing our diets. So, we’ve been exploring the topic through data, discussions, and empowering those who want to change with a workshop on vegan cooking. We’ve started sharing recipes with one another too, whilst making sure we’re not shaming anyone into making a significant life choice.

4. Create a zero waste culture

This is our newest pillar. We’re still gathering ideas and making plans, and we’re going to be joined by an external speaker on the topic in the next few weeks. So expect more here soon.

Committing to climate justice

Our pillars are underpinned by our belief in climate justice, a movement that considers climate change an ethical and political issue, rather than one that is purely environmental or physical in nature. Climate justice brings people into the fold.

On Earth Day in 2021, we made a €100,000 donation to EarthRights International, a non-governmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, which they define as “earth rights.”

EarthRights International work to: “Expose Global Injustice. Mobilize Local Power. Demand Accountability.” Emotive words, indeed.

What’s next for Giving Back at Hotjar?

For Earth Day in 2021, we double matched any donation made to charities listed on 1% for the Planet’s global directory. Someone donating €80 received another €160 from us, effectively tripling their donation.

Because Giving Back is all about us embodying our value of ‘work with respect’, we also extended our donation matching to other causes close to the hearts of Hotjarians. This included donation matching for Black Lives Matter and Pride Month in 2020, and we’re proud to say we were able to double match for Pride Month in 2021.

We also invested our time and energy in educating ourselves, hosting a panel for Pride Month, and sharing our experts’ insights in this blog. We hope to do the same with other topics.

Finally, a big ‘thank you’

Thank you to our community and to all of our people for making this possible. And a huge thank you to all of our customers who have supported us as a company, and put us in a position where we’re able to give back in this way. We are so grateful.

As you’d expect, we’re still encouraging ideas, feedback, and further learning. We’re never done, this isn’t perfect, and we’ll continue to see how we can have a positive impact. If you have suggestions, please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

We’re excited about what’s to come for Giving Back at Hotjar.

The beautiful hero image at the top of this blog post is by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

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