“We urgently need to make changes to how we live on the only planet we depend on. Organisations and brands have the power to do that at scale. Now we can all have a say in the actions they take. And see the impact we achieve together…”

This is from Joanna Mulkeen, Founder of One Step Closer

We caught up with Founder, Joanna Mulkeen, to find out more about her new company and what she is hoping to achieve by working with companies, brands and communities…


“When I was a student (way back in 2006), I came across some research that said most people wanted to do something to improve how we live on the planet. But the scale of it was overwhelming. Climate change. Plastics in the sea. Poor air quality. It was all too big. “What can I do?”

I began working in what businesses call ‘sustainability’, finding ways to improve the environmental or social impact of what businesses do. And many were doing great things. And some just wanted to do the bare minimum they could get away with, without really changing anything.  And others just did it now and again, without any real focus. But all struggled to share the story of what they did with people like you and I, in a simple way.


What I realised is that these two things – our personal ability to take action to reduce our impact on the planet, and the action of organisations and brands in our lives – are linked. Because every time we engage with brands and organisations, we leave a footprint. And it’s a shared footprint of things like CO2 emissions, waste, plastics etc.

The problem is, as an individual it’s almost impossible to influence that shared footprint. Yes, I can decide what to buy and what not to, and possibly where to live and work, but I can’t really affect the actions of those organisations and brands.

So, I thought:

What if we let people vote on what organisations and brands do to tread lighter on the planet? If they share the choices of how they intend to minimise their footprint, I can make a difference. And when that is shared by lots of people who buy a particular brand, or work for an organisation, or study at a university, or live in a local area, or donate to a charity… that makes a powerful movement for change.

And what if the organisation or brand has to tell everyone who votes which choice “won”? That way everyone knows that their vote counts. So it’s worth doing again. And again. And again. And if that’s easy to do, from a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer, whenever it’s convenient, why wouldn’t I do it?

And finally, what if the organisation or brand has to commit to sharing the impact of each campaign? So, every time I vote, I know it will result in positive change. I get to see the difference I’ve made. And because I can vote for lots of campaigns with lots of different organisations or brands, I can grow my personal influence, one vote at a time. 


Making this idea into reality took a whole lot of hard work. Five years of technical development, prototypes, trial and error has brought us to where we are today.

Which is One Step Closer.

  • Enabling every single person to make a positive difference, whether that’s through what you buy, where you study, what happens at work or in your community. Or just by joining One Step Closer and voting regularly.
  • Giving you the opportunity to influence how the organisations and brands in your life can reduce their impact on the environment and support communities.
  • Bringing us all together, campaign by campaign, so we’re all One Step Closer to living and working in a better way.


So now it’s over to you. You can vote on any of our live campaigns. And join us to see the impact of each one, so that organisations and brands are held to account. You can vote on as many campaigns as you like. And you’ll find a record of each campaign you vote for in your personal fingerprint, so you can see the difference you are helping to make.

And if you’re a big fan of a particular brand, or you feel the place where you work or study could benefit from taking part, send them our way. Tweet, email or chat to someone in charge of their sustainability and ask them to get in touch. Most organisations have someone who is responsible these days: they might call it CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility); or they might call it ESG (Environmental Social & Governance).

The more people, organisations and brands that join us, the more positive impact we make. But we also recognise that as we grow, so does our own operational footprint.

Whilst we’re doing everything we can to minimise our Carbon footprint, we compensate for the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions we can’t eradicate through the purchase of certified gold standard carbon credits. These are deployed through the United Nations Carbon offset platform to invest in projects in developing countries that reduce, avoid or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.