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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 we make to all stakeholders: our team, customers, end-users, partners, the community, and the planet.

This is why in 2017 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.

Last updated

12 Feb 2023

Reading time

7 min


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 contribute to this just cause.

How did we start 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 AnnieCannons, Girls Who Code, and an accommodation project.

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 climate justice

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 began to 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.

*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 invest in renewable energy through carbon offsets for dedicated projects, while identifying ways to reduce our footprint in the first place.

Since 2020, we have worked with Carbon Footprint to calculate our exact carbon footprint as a business. In 2020, our carbon footprint assessment came back with a footprint figure of 535.70 tons, while in 2021 it was 85 tons for the entire organization.

We offset our 2020 footprint 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. 

In 2022, we changed our partner to Climate Impact Partners, and we offset our footprint by purchasing credits for the Clean Cooking project.  

This means we’ve officially made Hotjar a carbon-neutral organization for two consecutive years.

Our next steps are to

  • Improve how we measure our carbon footprint

  • Continuously review where our footprint comes from, and proactively work on reducing it

  • Review our suppliers and work with those who are carbon neutral

2. Stop deforestation. Protect trees.

Through a partnership with the World Land Trust, we’ve started to protect trees and wildlife by purchasing acres of 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 we continue to buy an acre for every new team member that joins Hotjar and celebrates their anniversary.

Since we started the initiative, we have protected 555 acres of land. That’s bigger than Monaco and three times as big as Disneyland (but not as big as London Gatwick Airport)!

3. Restore and rewild biodiversity

We’ve now planted almost 2 million trees, and have started the conversation about actions we can take personally to help with biodiversity. 

We work closely with Eden Reforestation Project and plant 10 trees per active Hotjar customer every year.

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 to do this is change our diets. We've been exploring the topic through data, discussions, and empowering those who want to change with a workshop on vegan cooking. We’ve also 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

In 2022, we invested in educational initiatives to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle and hosted a Zero Waste workshop with Kathryn Kellogg.

Our next goal is to provide more training for the Giving Back team at Hotjar, as well as any employees interested in the topic. We’re also planning to expand this pillar into circular economy and continue educating ourselves.

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 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 works to “Expose Global Injustice. Mobilize Local Power. Demand Accountability.” 

While we’re committed to fighting for climate justice, we’re also aware of greenwashing and remain careful when choosing our partners.

What’s next for Giving Back at Hotjar?

In 2022, we put aside almost €400,000—1% of our profits—and we donated almost the entire amount to climate justice causes, as well as supporting causes nominated by our employees.

Climate justice is our mission as an organization, but unexpected events like the war in Ukraine taught us that there are other causes we care about, even though they’re not always in line with our company's pillars.

Because our Giving Back initiative is about us embodying our value of working with respect, we've also extended our donation matching to other causes close to our hearts. For every €1 our employees donate to their organization of choice, Hotjar donates another €1, doubling the impact for charities and non-profits.

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 regularly

Finally, a big ‘thank you’

Thank you to our community and all of our people for making this possible. And a huge thank you to all our customers who have supported us as a company and put us in a position where we can 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 contact us. We’d love to hear from you.

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

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