Except Integrated Sustainability

Environmental Policy

The sum of our individual actions can, and should, add up to greater societal transformations. We commit to a sustainable society in our work and our actions. This is expressed most significantly in the Except Principles stated below.

Despite being a small company and not causing much environmental impact through our normal operations, we do everything we can to bring that impact as close as possible to zero. This commitment extends into our personal lives.

We also hold our partners to high standards and choose to work with companies that prioritize responsible behavior with regards to both people and the environment.

Our working environment:

Our office setup is consistent with this philosophy. Our main office is a self-renovated space which previously stood empty over 10 years, entirely outfitted in furniture made of waste wood and other scrap materials, uses LED lights exclusively, is naturally ventilated and has many plants with a wide variety.

The principles below translate much of our ambition into a clear and communicable format. We strive to improve these commitments in an ongoing process.

The Except Principles

V2.3, revised March 2012


Except’s foundation for decisionmaking is based on the following principles.

We abide by these at all times, and they guarantee the commitment of each invidual member of our organization, as well as the organization as a whole. All Except partners agree with these principles and we ask them to contribute.

1: A Sustainable Future

We commit to socially and environmentally sustainable practices.

  1. Except applies the Symbiosis in Development definition of sustainability:

    “Sustainability is a state of a complex, dynamic system. In this state a system can continue to flourish without leading to its internal collapse or requiring inputs from outside its defined system boundaries.

    Applied to our civilization, this state is consistent with an equitable and healthy society, as well as thriving ecosystems and a beautiful planet.”  
  2. We commit to finding, developing and executing exemplary sustainable  projects that go beyond the focus on simple material and energy efficiency, and establish fundamental, systemic change in society.
  3. On a fundamental level, we understand and apply Life Cycle Thinking; we use peer-reviewed data in our sustainability decision making; we support ecological economics; and we “offset” our carbon by direct action rather than through financial mechanisms.
  4. We have shared facilities and resources; we avoid overcapacity in our  equipment; we have a preference for super-used, reused, or recycled materials;  we only travel when necessary and preferably by human power or public transport; we use efficient lighting and appliances; we avoid disposable products; we use non-toxic and ecological materials; we buy fair trade products; we recycle; our official events are vegetarian and smoke-free; and we grow lots of plants.

2: Long-Term & Multi-Scale

We think globally and long term, but act locally and in the present.

  1. Though we focus on our local community, we keep in mind the consequences our actions might have on other parts of the world or at some point in the future.
  2. We search for the optimal balance between centralized and decentralized systems, and we aim to help “decomplexify” society so that it can become more efficient and streamlined.
  3. We seek solutions that prevent war, harm, and suffering; locally and globally; in the short term and in the foreseeable future.

3: Beyond Profit

We believe in creating value rather than just profit.

  1. We don’t believe that profit is an end in itself. Our actions recognize the existence of other values: cultural, aesthetic, historical, personal experience, quality of life, and the intrinsic value of ecosystems and species.
  2. We are 100% privately owned, without any financial profit interests from 3rd parties.
  3. We address wrongdoings and crimes against humanity or the environment directly and without reserve, regardless of the financial consequences  of doing so.

4: Networked & Open Source

We support freedom of information and knowledge.

  1. We are committed to supporting a free and open flow of knowledge. 
  2. We  use open source software and non-proprietary technologies whenever  available. We share the fruits of our work with others.
  3. In line with these objectives, our work is published under Creative Commons  licensing whenever possible.

5: Collaboration

We work collaboratively and across disciplines

  1. We never approach projects from the perspective of a single discipline:  there are always hidden insights in the wide-angle view.
  2. We collaborate actively with colleagues, partners, clients and stakeholders,  through horizontal as well as vertical chains of communication.

6: Freedom & responsibility

We believe people are at their best when acting freely and responsibly

  1. We feel that a sustainable society is one where people take responsibility  for their actions. We actively establish the balance between responsibility  and freedom in our projects and work.
  2. This extends to everyone who works with Except. We offer every individual  the choice between working independently or as an employee. We  believe people that have greater degrees of freedom take on greater degrees  of responsibility. Within this framework, each individual can shape  his or her own future and position within the company.