How we offset ourselves
In order to become carbon neutral, we need to ‘offset’ all the emissions we generate in the manufacturing process of all Minor Figures products. We do this 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, who undertook a circular assessment of our business operations.
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.
By offsetting our emissions from July 2018 to the end of the financial year 2021 alone, we offset 4,445 tC02e. That’s equivalent to the carbon footprint of flying from London to New York some 1,709 times.
Different types of offsetting
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.
While carbon removal projects remove carbon that’s already been released into the atmosphere, projects which ‘reduce’ or ‘avoid’ emissions prevent excessive carbon emissions at the source. They replace harmful environmental practices with cleaner energy - fossil fuels for solar power, electric vehicles for diesel-guzzlers, energy-efficient cookstoves for communities which rely on them.
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. For the financial year 2019-2020 we paid $12.5 per tonne of CO2e for these projects and generated 21x the impact in return.
We support a range of projects, last year’s being carbon removal projects (see below for details). This year we are once again supporting a carbon reduction project, investing all our carbon credits in one initiative to concentrate the impact we’re able to have.
What project are we currently supporting?
Solar Energy, India
This is a renewable energy project based in the small village of Surel in the Gujarat region of India. A photovoltaic plant was built with a capacity of 25 megawatts that provides sustainable, clean energy to India’s NEWNE grid, which supplies energy all over the northern, eastern, and western parts of India. This renewable energy source replaces some of the energy from fossil fuels, saving about 32,760 tons of CO2e per year.
The growth of renewable energy production is essential to prevent global warming and secure energy supplies for the future. Investing in this solar project not only supports the avoidance of harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but also supports the local community by strengthening the economy.
Past initiatives we've supported
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.
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.