Tab 3 | How we offset ourselves
In order to become carbon neutral, we need to ‘offset’ all the emissions we produce as a company via something known as ‘carbon credits’, which are allocated when an organisation takes steps to reduce their emissions or invests in initiatives that have a positive environmental impact.
We worked with Ecofye ↗, an independent climate action advisory. They undertook a circular assessment of our business operations – everything from our roasting, production, and shipping practices to office practices like daily vegan meals, team commutes, and business travel.
We then asked Climate Partner ↗, to assess our carbon footprint and recommend programs we could support which would offset that footprint with the biggest impact. We have been able to gather enough reliable data to offset our emissions retrospectively from July 2018. So far, up until the end of the 2021 financial year we've offset 4,445 tC02e - which is equivalent to the carbon footprint of flying from London to New York some 1,709 times.
The emissions are split in two categories: products ↗ and corporate emissions ↗. Corporate emissions represent the team’s emissions, such as our collective commutes to the office, the vegan meals we cook daily, utilities, paper, flights, trains, and other modes of transport we take. It really is as extensive as it sounds!
Different ways to offset
The first projects we invested in were what’s known as ‘emission reduction’ projects: Clean Cookstoves, Peru, and Biogas, Vietnam. They replace harmful environmental practices with cleaner energy. They’re great long-term solutions which avoid producing more carbon. For the financial year 2019-2020 we paid $12.5 per tonne of CO2e for these projects and generated 21x the impact in return.
For the financial year 2019-2020, we chose to pivot to investing in ‘carbon removal’ projects’ on the recommendations from The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting 2020, in order to have a more significant impact. Carbon removal projects 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. You can read more about how and why we chose to support different kinds of carbon offset projects here ↗.
We also wanted all our friends, followers, and customers to have a say in how we offset our CO2e - after all, it’s all of you who help us make this happen. Based on the votes of our social media followers, we picked three carbon offset initiatives to invest in to offset our 2020-2021 carbon emissions. Read all about them below.
Shade Grown Coffee Project, Nicaragua
Coffee farming is threatened by climate change, with rising temperatures expected to reduce the size (and output) of coffee farms by 50% in Latin America. Degraded land over periods of time have left farms more susceptible to pests and diseases, prolonged draughts, landslides caused by heavy rains, and a loss of natural pest control. But new forests create habitats for animal and plant species, and opportunities for local people. Shade grown coffee reduces erosion and landslides by improving the soil while often improving the quality of the beans.
By supporting this project, we are helping to provide coffee farmers with technical and financial support; they’ll invest in high value crops and get premium prices for their coffee. This project removes carbon by enabling farmers in Nicaragua to reforest their own land and restore the areas at higher elevations which are degraded by climate change by cultivating shade-grown coffee. To date, there are 445 farming families participating and together they have reforested 915 hectares of land.
Bamboo Afforestation Project, Nicaragua
Bamboo is one of the most efficient biological tools for fighting climate change because it grows so fast. Unfortunately, it’s often used in places where it’s not native and ends up causing disruption to local ecosystems. But not this time! because Bamboo is a native species to Eastern Nicaragua
Supporting this project will help plant 1 million native giant clumping bamboo trees; transforming a degraded landscape into a flourishing, biodiverse ecosystem. The bamboo trees are harvested for use in fibers and building materials to create livelihoods for vulnerable communities in a low-carbon economy. In contrast to cutting trees, harvesting giant clumping bamboo does not kill the plant, so they can have a lifetime of 80 years. So far, the project covers 2,361 hectares while protecting an additional 1,000 hectares of old forest as a conservation zone.
Chinchiná River Forestry Project, Colombia
The rapid expansion of agriculture and cattle grazing has put Colombia's Andean watersheds under threat. Reforestation of watersheds is critical for Manizales and surrounding municipalities who are highly dependent on sufficient water supplies provided by the Chinchina River watershed.
The Chinchiná River Forestry Project involves reforestation, agroforestry and silvo-pastoral systems in order to increase biodiversity and connect strategic ecosystems in the area. Selected species are reintroduced to the areas for assisted natural regeneration, watersheds are restored, and the habitats of significant wildlife in the area are improved, such as spectacled bears and yellow eared parrots. The project also improves the supply of freshwater for local communities, promotes sustainable conservation, research and ecotourism, and generates additional income sources for local farmers and small-scale local industries.
Past initiatives we've supported
Helping to supply Vietnam with clean energy, this initiative contributes to 14 of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Clean Cookstoves, Peru
This project provides clean, energy-efficient cookstoves to households across Peru who would otherwise depend on open fire in enclosed spaces.