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Co-Creator of Impact-Driven SustainableUX Is on a Mission to Make a Difference Through Work in the Digital Space

SustainableUX Co-Creator James Christie works as director of user experience at Mad*Pow, which partners with inspiring companies like Cigna Health and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to make their interaction with clients more inclusive and accessible.

But as Christie started tapping more and more into his internal drive for purpose, he knew he sought more of it than what he was getting there. Yes, he enjoyed teaming with fantastic nonprofit partners but wasn’t as into collaborating with other clients driven by the bottom line. Christie wanted to make more of a positive impact.

And he was increasingly scared by how quickly climate change was intensifying.

In software, I can help, but it’s not going to do you much good if the world’s on fire,” Christie says. “I began feeling increasingly irrelevant against that backdrop.” He began looking more deeply into the effects of his personal and professional carbon footprint, and how to measure digital impacts.

“What became more urgent was climate change,” he adds. “It’s become increasingly scary for me, as it has for many.” That led him to create, in a very hands-on and grassroots way, the SustainableUX Conference, where participants can dig deep into how our ubiquitous digital habits affect energy use, pollution, and more. He is also an active presenter (and writer) on topics including responsive design. In addition to SustainableUX, he has shared his research at South by Southwest (SxSW), IA Summit, UXPA International and UX Scotland.

Christie and his small volunteer team hoped the first SustainableUX conference would attract 40 visitors. It drew 400. In year two, 1,300 attended online, with hundreds watching presentations after the fact, absorbing insight into everything from green web-hosting to biomimicry in design.

This episode of the Grow Ensemble podcast dives deeper into the beginnings and inner workings of the SustainableUX initiative, Christie’s personal journey as a growing social entrepreneur, and tips he has for finding more meaning in your work. He also shares some interesting insights into the digital and design industries and the strides being made to bring both into the socially conscious space.

Want more episodes on sustainability and impact in the digital world? Listen to:

Bonus Material: Get the full show notes and extras for this episode.

Looking for a job where you can put your talents to work making the world a better place? Search for a meaningful job on B Work, the largest impact-only job search platform.

James Christie, co-creator of SustainableUX

Tune in to our insightful episode with Christie for these key takeaways:

  • How to draw purpose from work — and how to find it in your spare time too.
  • How SustainableUX grew its conference with a little goodwill, luck and few other resources.
  • The amazing amount of pollution and waste generated by the digital world and how to affect climate change from within the industry.
  • The mindfulness movement, particularly where tech is concerned.
  • Bitcoin’s carbon footprint.

Bonus material: Get the full show notes and extras for this episode.

B the Change gathers and shares the voices from within the movement of people using business as a force for good and the community of Certified B Corporations. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the nonprofit B Lab.


Digital Carbon Footprints, Passion Projects and Purposeful Work was originally published in B the Change on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Originally posted on B the Change - Medium by Grow Ensemble.


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