We will always aim to reduce our emissions (where possible) before using carbon offsets to balance those that cannot be eliminated. Below are some ways in which we have reduced our emissions so far:
Switched to 100% green electricity in August 2019 for our operations
Updated our expenses policy in July 2019 to include using public transport as an alternative to car travel
Updated our flexible working policy in June 2020 to include more homeworking and a focus on avoiding non-essential travel
While absolute emissions should be reduced as much as possible, carbon offsets are an important component of balancing emissions and helping us all achieve the Paris Agreement’s objective of ‘“holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels”.
To identify potential carbon offsetting opportunities, we worked with two organisations: ACT Commodities, a global leader in connecting buyers and sellers of certificates and physical products based in Amsterdam, Netherlands and G.APP.17, a start-up focussed on matching businesses’ strategic priorities with non-profit partners based in London, UK. During the selection process, we communicated our selection criteria, which included high quality, certified offsets that are aligned with SDGs 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy, 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth and 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production. Once we had identified several potential projects, we asked all our employees to rank the projects in order of preference and selected the top three. These included:
The Guanare Forest Plantations Project in Uruguay - 470 tCO2e offset
The project, located in eastern Uruguay consists of approximately 22 thousand hectares of land and aims to convert degraded grassland with a long history of cattle grazing into beneficial forest plantations which will aid in restoring the land, by improving soil quality through water retention and delivery of micronutrients to the soil, and by preventing soil erosion.
Well managed forest plantations can obtain high value, long-lived timber products while sequestering large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Approximately 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) will be sequestered through afforestation of the project which has been verified by the international standard under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
Ripple Africa's Fuel Efficient Cook Stoves Project in Malawi - 171 tCO2e offset
This project is focussed on helping local communities to build fuel-efficient clean cookstoves. The stoves help reduce household wood use from 3 bundles of wood per week to just 1, contains the fire within the cookstove at the side of the kitchen, reducing injuries from burns, and produces substantially less smoke than the traditional three-stone fire, reducing coughing and breathing problems.
The project aims to tackle deforestation through reducing household wood use by 67%, improving the health of women and children through reducing smoke inhalation by people cooking or sitting around the fire and saving labour and money whilst educating families regarding sustainable living. It is registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and operated and administered by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Ripple Africa's Tree Planting Project in Malawi - 2021 trees planted
This project is one of the largest and most successful tree planting projects in Malawi, providing a long-term solution to fighting deforestation in Africa caused by the destruction of indigenous forest. To date, the project has helped communities’ plant over 15 million trees and manage a specialist community fruit tree nursery.
From this, thousands of households benefit from fruit trees each year. Their aim is to continue supporting the communities to plant trees and educating them on the benefits of investing in tree planting for the future. The tree planting project is NOT a verified carbon offsetting project and has not been included in our net emissions calculations.
To find out how the Optimised Group can support you on the road to zero, check out our Optimised Net Zero service.