Sustainable Working: Start Small and Think Big

In an enlightening conversation with Catherine Dillon, Director of Pathway to Carbon Zero, sustainability champion and former Microsoft employee, we explored the crucial role of businesses in the journey towards net zero carbon emissions. In this article, we bring to the forefront her passion and experience in guiding SMBs/SMEs in the UK towards a greener future. 

February 13th, 2024

Our Interview with Catherine Dillon - Pathway to Carbon Zero

Unveiling business opportunities in sustainability initiatives

I’ve spoken to a lot of small business owners, and there’s a common concern about green washing and getting it wrong.” 

Why Are Big Tech Giants Like Microsoft Prioritising Sustainability?

“Sustainability has long been a top priority for forward-thinking enterprises, but I believe that the rapid increase in technology adoption since the pandemic has heightened the responsibility of corporations like Microsoft even more. As people rely more on technology in daily life, the environmental impact of electronic waste, or e-waste, has only increased too.” 

“Moreover, with its vast data centre infrastructure as one of the world’s leading cloud providers, Microsoft faces challenges not only managing energy consumption, but also the cooling needs of their server farms. Because of this, companies like Microsoft have a moral obligation to ensure their operations and supply chains are as environmentally friendly as possible.”

77% of Small Companies Do Not Know How to Effectively Measure Their Carbon Emissions. Why Is This Such an Issue for Them?

“You know, there are so many answers to that question! The root of the challenge is a combination of complexity and the fear of getting it wrong. One example that comes to mind is of a business owner I spoke too recently. He attended a B Corp meeting and was alienated by all the jargon thrown around. We’ve got to keep the messaging clear and concise, so business leaders and their employees feel empowered to act.” 

“With inflation and cost of living pressures adding to their challenges, focusing on matters like sustainability can be daunting for smaller firms. Because of this, we need to focus on smaller, more manageable steps and create a sustainability strategy with simple and tangible actions, that drive the most impact in carbon reduction.” 

You Mentioned Taking Small Steps to Build a Long-Term Sustainability Strategy. What Are Some of the Small Steps Companies Can Start Making Now?

“The key to successfully embarking on the sustainability journey is to start by becoming aware of your business operations and asking questions about your usage. It’s a benchmarking process all about understanding where the business stands and identifying areas for improvement.”  

“One such initiative I talk about is a ‘lights off campaign’, which encourages energy conservation by having people turn off electronic devices when not in use. I also tell people to regularly review their energy sources, scrutinise their water usage, identify any unnecessary wastage, and to switch to renewable energy providers. Positioning sustainability as a cross cutting theme through your decision making starts to embed carbon reduction into your business operation.”  

“Westcoast Cloud lets partners use their emissions calculator free of charge, which is a real win-win for everyone.” 

How Can Westcoast Cloud Serve as a Catalyst for
Partner Sustainability?

“It’s fantastic that Westcoast Cloud is so proactive towards sustainability, the value they bring to their partners is clear to see, especially with regards to weaving sustainability into everyday business routines. By educating and helping sales teams discuss environmental issues, they have helped partners integrate sustainability into their key value propositions.

“One tool Westcoast Cloud provides is its emissions calculator, which helps partners manage their carbon footprints, particularly in relation to IT infrastructure. Also, the calculator isn’t just a measurement tool, but a resource to help partners realise the impact of their practices and the potential benefits of adopting sustainable alternatives. It really is an amazing tool!”

What Would You Like to See Companies Like Microsoft and Westcoast Cloud Do to Stay Ahead in 2024?

“When it comes to the long-term aspirations for companies like Microsoft and Westcoast Cloud, what’s most important in my view is leading by example. In doing so, they’ll empower your partners to think about and act on sustainability matters. That way, they’ll set a standard for others in the industry to follow.” 

“I must also stress the significance of education in achieving these long-term goals. I would love to see Microsoft and Westcoast Cloud join workshops and attain carbon literacy accreditations! Another important factor is integrating sustainability pledges, such as Microsoft’s Partner Pledge, into business plans to unify companies under a common goal. Keep on talking about sustainable ways of work and people will listen!”

About Cat Dillon and Pathway to Carbon Zero

With over 25 years of experience, Cat Dillon is a trusted advisor helping IT service providers transform their businesses. Recently leaving Microsoft, she now leads sustainability initiatives at Pathway to Carbon Zero – empowering companies to reduce emissions while improving quality and profitability.
A graduate of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Cat is an avid athlete who enjoys kitesurfing, snowboarding, golf, and triathlons. As a mother of three, she is passionate about protecting the planet for future generations.
Cat brings strategic insight across IT infrastructure, security, cloud, and telecom. Her technical expertise combined with business acumen enables partners to capitalise on new opportunities and achieve their environmental, social, and governance goals.

How Can Westcoast Cloud Help?

Westcoast Cloud is committed to steering partners towards a greener tomorrow.  


Through our commitment to leading by example and offering valuable tools like the Microsoft Emissions Calculator, we help partners foster a culture of education and awareness.  


In doing so, we add value to your business, in an era when customers are often willing to pay more to work with companies with a proven track record in sustainability. 


You can access the Microsoft emissions calculator by emailing 


And make sure to sign up to our upcoming webinar, “Navigating the Microsoft Sustainability Journey” with Cat on 5th March. Click the button below.


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