Balancing out our impact on the planet is the least we can do. So, everything that Minor Figures does is now carbon neutral.
We’re super aware of how easily terms like this are banded about these days, but we wanted to explain why this is a big step for us (and what the f**k Carbon Neutral actually means!)
It takes a lot of time, effort and resources for businesses to operate from a truly pro-environmental stance, but that’s exactly where we want to be. Long gone are the days when good intention and trendy marketing lingo could dress up as progress. Words are cheap, action is everything.
We want you to hold us accountable and demand more from us. By being the kind of business that works in this way, hopefully we can inspire others to do more, too.
What does Carbon Neutral mean?
Basically, becoming Carbon Neutral means that we are ‘offsetting’ (or counteracting) the carbon emissions we create as a business by investing into projects that absorb or reduce the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere. So although this doesn’t mean that we are no longer creating carbon emissions, it does mean that we are effectively neutralising their impact on the world.
How exactly did you become Carbon Neutral?
We worked extensively with Ecofye, an independent climate action advisory, to undertake a circular assessment of our business operations activity – that’s roasting, producing, shipping, coming into the office, the lot – to get a 360 view of our environmental impact and to find where we could improve.
Then we asked the lovely folks at Climate Partner to assess our carbon footprint and to see which offset programs we could support to have the best impact. We have been able to gather enough reliable data to offset our emissions retrospectively from July 2018: as a total we produced 1,588.90 tCO2e (that’s equivalent to the carbon footprint of around 1800 return trips from London to New York), and so this was the amount we needed to offset.
We split the total we needed to offset equally between two Gold Standard Carbon Projects: Biogas in Vietnam, and Clean Cookstoves in Peru. Both of these projects are important to us because they work at a grassroots level, having a tangible impact on the daily lives of local communities, especially those most directly affected by the negative effects of climate change. These offsets help generate work and improve livelihoods, which in turn improves education, local economies and all of the good stuff.
Helping to supply Vietnam with clean energy, this offset contributes to 14 of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These small-scale plants are constructed in households throughout the country, using organic matter such as animal manure, which ferments when deprived of oxygen, to produce biogas. This is a clean and affordable source of energy that can be used for cooking, heating and fuel, and negates the need for burning wood or coal. Not only does this counteract deforestation, but it also helps improve sanitation, and as a byproduct produces a natural fertiliser that can then be used for harvesting.
This project provides clean, energy-efficient cookstoves to households across Peru who would otherwise depend on open fire in enclosed spaces. This traditional type of indoor stove wastes huge amounts of energy and is a severe health risk, leading to many respiratory and eye problems and is a major cause of deaths among millions of poor families across the world. Supplying efficient and clean cookstoves around poor, rural parts of Peru helps prevent these premature deaths and health risks, whilst cutting vast amounts of carbon emissions. The Clean Cookstoves project has so far supported around half a million families living in poverty in Peru, and contributes to 12 of the UN’s SDGs.
We thought it was important to shed some light on the specifics of what we have been doing.
Let’s be real. This isn’t going to save us all from the climate disaster we’re hurtling towards. It’s a good start, but there’s a lot more work to be done. We’ll be letting you know about the other moves we’re making real soon. Stay tuned.