When it comes to our sustainability ethos, we’ve always been focused on facing the future - what do we want the world to look like in five, ten, twenty years?
We know we want to leave the planet better than we found it, which is a lofty goal for a company which is a small fry in the large vat of boiling oil that is humanity’s impact on this planet, but we can try.
So what does that actually look like? For us, it means being carbon responsible, reducing our environmental impact using innovative solutions, and continuously investing in projects aligned with our commitment to being 100% carbon neutral.
Carbon neutral isn’t one-size-fits-all
There are a few different paths you can take when offsetting your carbon emissions. You can either turn down the route of ‘emission reduction’ or take the path of ‘carbon removal’. These routes each lead to different kinds of projects that you can invest in to offset the carbon emissions you’ve produced.
Let's talk about that first choice, because it’s the road we took last year. Projects which ‘reduce’ or ‘avoid’ emissions include things like solar farms, tesla cars, and clean cookstoves (one of the projects we supported in the past). They replace harmful environmental practises with cleaner energy - fossil fuels for solar power, electric vehicles for diesel-guzzlers, you get the point.
These projects have wide-reaching social benefits and a hell of a lot of long-term value if we’re thinking about how we’re gonna create a society that thrives without killing the planet we live on. However, they don’t snatch back carbon that’s already been released into the atmosphere. Which brings us to that other path we were talking about…
‘Carbon removal’ credits do exactly as it says on the tin - allow us to invest in projects which actively remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it either short term or long term. They are often called ‘carbon sinks’ because they sequester the carbon underground.
Short-term storage solutions tend to be nature-based and include things like planting trees, which absorb carbon as they grow, or restoring coastal wetlands. They temporarily remove carbon from the atmosphere and eventually release it again as part of the natural carbon cycle.
Long-term carbon storage solutions such as biochar, direct air capture, and carbon mineralisation are not limited to the constraints of nature and can be engineered. While both long and short-term storage solutions are necessary, long-term storage solutions are currently prohibitively expensive to use at scale.
What’s the biggest impact we can have?
This year, we wanted to remove the carbon we put in the air, back into the soil of the Earth. At our scale, the best way Minor Figures can have an impact is to restore land and plant trees.
After we shared info about the projects on Instagram, you guys - our customers/followers/casual browsers - had the chance to vote for which ones you wanted your Oat M*lk bucks to go towards.
Based on your votes, 20% of our carbon credits will go to a shade grown coffee project that helps coffee farmers in Nicaragua and 60% will go towards planting 1 million bamboo trees, transforming a degraded landscape into a flourishing, biodiverse ecosystem.
The third initiative we’ve chosen to support is the Chinchiná River Project in Colombia, which involves reforestation, agroforestry, and silvo-pastoral systems in order to increase biodiversity and improve the quantity and quality of fresh water for the region’s communities.
Read all about the organisations we’re supporting - and which ones we’ve supported in the past - by checking out our Ethos page!