For this week’s Member in Focus, we talked to Dan Horlor, Head of B2B Sales at Airly about their mission to monitor and improve air quality and why being a sustainable business is important to them.
To get started, can you tell us a bit about Airly and what it is you do?
Airly is a hardware-enabled SaaS platform for air quality data. What that really means is we help governments, businesses and citizens understand the air around them and take action to improve it. Our mission is to become the single source of truth for global air quality.
How does understanding air quality help us? What can we do with that information?
Everyone is probably aware that the air quality around isn’t great, but it’s a much more extreme problem than perhaps gets recognised. According to WHO, over 90% of people breathe unacceptably polluted air. You’d never drink brown water from a tap, but that’s effectively what we’re doing with every breath in.
More information allows citizens to lobby their elected representatives to take actions to limit pollution and improve air. A great example of this is in the creation of clean air or no-idling zones in cities – Airly’s data helps city planners know where they need to take action instead of pouring resources into unhelpful solutions.
Airly also runs the #LetSchoolsBreathe campaign; can you tell us a little more about that?
Poor air quality affects everyone, but it has huge impacts on children’s health and development. It’s vital that children have clean air to breathe, and we only need to look at the unspeakably sad case of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the nine-year-old girl who passed away due to the air pollution in her local area to know that this is an urgent problem.
Airly places our sensors at schools in the UK, US and Europe, giving them access to data that allows schools to care for children’s health, that might otherwise have been inaccessible to them. It helps answer the question ‘should we open the classroom window?’ Sadly in a lot of cases, the answer might well be no – in that case, it can help drive citizen action to improve conditions in and around schools.
There are obvious links between air quality, pollution, and climate change. Is that what made Airly passionate about being a sustainably-run business?
Absolutely – we live in a delicate ecosystem, and we know that we have to contribute in any way we can to minimise our impact and make our actions net positive.
Why did you choose to make your workforce climate positive with Play it Green?
I’ve known about Play It Green for some time and it was a natural step to make sure that our workforce is climate positive. With Play It Green we just know it’s taken care of. It’s a great benefit that helps all of us feel better while we go about our mission.
How has the team found the experience?
Super easy and rewarding – the Play It Green team have been great partners since day one.
Do you have anything planned to reduce your environmental impact even further?
We’re always looking at ways to tread lighter – we recently shrank our packaging to mean less freight weight, and our sensors are fully recyclable. Our next generation of products will be made of even more recycled and upcycled materials. We also carpool in our offices.
More generally, what does the future hold for Airly? Do you have anything exciting in the works?
We’re working on so much at the moment, including the largest air quality network in Europe in the city of Warsaw. Anyone can download the Airly app today for their phone or smartwatch and see our sensors start to appear on the map – and if it’s not happening fast enough, ask your local government or businesses, why not?
As a Play it Green business member, Airly is reducing their footprint with weekly tips and through our Net Zero Framework, planting trees to balance the carbon emissions of its entire workforce, and is regiving 10% to their chosen charity, Mind.
You can visit the Airly UK Forest Garden here; they have planted 312 trees in 4 months!
If you’re also interested in making your workforce Climate Positive, Play it Green can provide you with all the tools you need to support you on your journey.
Find out how Play It Green can help your business