Q&A with Richard Dickson, Play It Green
10/11/21

Q&A with Richard Dickson, Play It Green

In 2021, Elite Dynamics exclusively partnered with sustainability business, Play It Green to increase our environmental credentials and become a climate positive workforce.

We now provide the software APIs for our holiday park customers to do the same for their own businesses, customers, and owners.

Play It Green was founded in spring 2021 by Chris Thair and Richard Dickson and the company’s unique approach to addressing the issue of climate change is based around a three-step solution of Repair, Reduce, Regive.

We spoke to co-founder and Head of Engagement, Richard, to find out a little bit more about the company, what makes them different in a noisy ‘green’ marketplace, and what we can expect from Play It Green in the future.[vc_single_image image=”8322″ img_size=”500 x 300″]

Firstly, tell us a little about Play It Green

There isn’t really a business that’s the same as ours. We’re a sustainability business that has a unique solution to climate change based on a three-step model (Repair, Reduce, Regive), and everything we do – if you strip it back – is that three-step solution. We’re careful not to do just one part, we help with all three steps, which are a part of reaching a sustainable future.

What do you mean when you say Play It Green helps with all three steps?

For us, it’s all about the big picture. Trees alone aren’t the answer, but they’re part of the answer. Carbon offset doesn’t work unless we’re reducing footprints as well, and just giving to good causes without anything else isn’t enough. With us its everything. The three-step solution. We provide the framework to have an instant impact through reforestation, which over a period will also offset your footprint. Then we have a step-by-step approach to encourage a change of behaviour, reduce impact, and help people and businesses see there’s a better way of doing things over the longer term. And then there’s the good causes. Sustainability is about people and planet and too often, it’s the people side of things that gets forgotten.

What are the benefits to holiday parks of joining Play It Green through Elite Dynamics?

It works for your business, your customers, and most importantly, leaves a better legacy for your children. It’s free to sign up and it provides you with a long list of benefits; from increased marketing opportunities and discounts on sustainable products, to creating positive booking experiences for customers – all helping take you further along the road to net zero.Another benefit is that 10% of all revenues raised through Play it Green go to a good cause of the holiday parks’ choice, providing more marketing, legacy, and positive brand association and alignment opportunities. And it doesn’t stop there, we can provide all holiday parks with carbon footprint reports and help them toward becoming carbon neutral or climate positive. We’ve got contacts for everything from green energy to solar to e-bikes – anything they can think of sustainability wise; we have a huge network we can activate for holiday parks. If a park wants to become the most sustainable holiday park on the planet, we can help them get there. Similarly, if they just want to benefit from the marketing messages to increase engagement with their own customers and holidaymakers to promote behaviour change, we can help them do that. They can take it as far as they want but ultimately with this partnership, holiday parks can become agents of change.

What does the longer-term future hold for Play It Green?

We want to be planting millions and millions of trees a month, helping millions of people change their habits to more sustainable ones and helping thousands of businesses and sports clubs on their journey to Net Zero, whilst educating the sustainability leaders of the future with our schools’ programme. That’s the goal. We’ll have a multilingual, multicurrency website with footprints for every country and really address the global impact of climate change. The website will also enable us to provide discounted sustainable products and services to our members and enable people and businesses to track their journey to Net Zero. We want Play It Green to be a recognised brand that people associate with environmental and social impact.[vc_single_image image=”8418″ img_size=”500 x 300″][vc_single_image image=”8419″ img_size=”500 x 300″]

What about the next 12 months?

We’ve taken on more staff, and we’ve already got exciting plans to update our website with more content covering the whole customer journey including the support we can offer to both businesses and individuals. As well as being able to track trees planted through receipts, soon we’ll be able to provide actual GPS coordinates and photographs of each of the three tree planting sites in Madagascar, which is huge. We’ll also be able to share monitoring data from the people in the communities who are being employed to protect them. It’s not just about planting the trees anymore, it’s the social impact of creating sustainable jobs – the environment and the community.

Do you think COP26 will drive people to be more sustainable?

We’ve talked about this as a business, and I think the ‘26’ is key here. We’ve had 26 chances to create change and it’s still not happening the way it should. We can’t wait for the Governments of the world, it’s down to us as individuals to set an example. Hopefully COP26 will direct focus and help to raise awareness. If you suddenly get five million individuals setting an example by changing their behaviour and spending habits, retailers and other manufacturers will soon realise they need to do more.

How do you address the inevitable talk of greenwashing and scepticism within the sustainability world?

There tends to be two types of scepticism. The first is the feeling you can’t make a big difference as an individual or a business (especially small businesses), but every little bit really does help. Look at it this way… just telling one person about what you’re doing is already doubling your impact.

Secondly, people want to know their trees are actually being planted, so you can follow the whole process on our website. We publish all our receipts from our planting partner and help people take the journey in a transparent, open, honest, scientific, and measurable way. We explain the science behind things and our planting partner uses scientists to create planting profiles, so the right trees are planted in the right places, not just to remove carbon, but to repair the ecosystem

How does your Play It Green work carry through into your personal and family life?

We’re a conscious capitalist business trying to create conscious consumerism, so we always go by the motto: Do I need it? No? Think twice before buying it. If I do need it, I’ll buy a sustainable product. Changing our behaviours and buying habits leads to changes in manufacturing habits. In the last 12 months, I’ve given half my wardrobe to charity, sold any tech I don’t need, and I don’t upgrade my phone anymore just to have the latest model. Buying the latest phone might have made me feel good for five minutes but what’s it doing to the rest of the planet? Our bathroom is plastic-free, and we use sustainable cleaning products so we’re doing everything we can to live the values of Play It Green. Most importantly my kids are proud. When my youngest is asked about my job, he tells people “My daddy’s saving the planet!”

For more information about Play it Green and our unique partnership to support sustainability, click here.

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