Why We Are Carbon NeutralSustainability
As of the last few months, we are proud to say we are officially a carbon-neutral company.
This is an exciting milestone for us at Mitte, particularly because it ties into the promise we set out in our Manifesto.
We know this is the first step of many in our commitment to protecting our planet. With that in mind, we think what is especially significant about going carbon neutral is it not only mitigates our current impact but calls attention to that very impact. Ultimately, this helps us to take responsibility and see how we can do even better moving forward.
How Did We Become Carbon Neutral?
Simply put, going carbon neutral involves canceling out – or offsetting – unavoidable emissions by preventing carbon emissions created elsewhere. These are balanced out through projects like planting trees, which offset those emissions.
The theory behind it is as follows: greenhouse gases are evenly distributed into the atmosphere and greenhouse gas concentration is therefore approximately the same throughout the world. If therefore, emissions cannot be avoided locally, for global greenhouse gas concentrations and the greenhouse effect, those emissions can be mathematically offset through climate action measures at another location. This type of offsetting is possible through carbon offsetting projects – a solution we chose.
In order to measure emissions created by a company like ours, we first needed to calculate our carbon footprint. For us, this is an important first step in developing a climate action strategy: it makes it possible to identify reduction potentials, develop appropriate measures, and define our own climate action goals, for now, and the future.
ClimatePartner x Mitte
As those at Ecosia rightly point out, carbon offsetting doesn’t always work. It can be used as a means of greenwashing, where companies might be misleading in their environmental protection efforts: finding the cheapest way to offset their carbon footprint whilst continuing their negative impact, irrespective of how big that impact is. Or worse still, using offsetting projects as a cure-all incentive to create more emissions.
Cheap carbon credits are also problematic. The offsetting projects they fund might not qualify under EU climate laws and can therefore be, at best, poorly planned or ineffective, and, at worse, largely detrimental in its environmental impact.
We knew we wanted to effectively offset any unavoidable emissions we created, so we decided to look for a credible solutions provider for corporate climate action. This is where our collaboration with ClimatePartner came in.
ClimatePartner assure a Gold Standard accredited level of offsetting projects – meaning these are projects that are well–planned and are guaranteed to create true value. They are audited annually by an independent third party such as TÜV or SGS, and they make an important contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.
With this knowledge and ClimatePartner’s help, we calculated Mitte’s Corporate Carbon Footprint from 2019, based on the standards defined in the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard (GHG Protocol).
We found that through actions like corporate travel or office heating and electricity, in 2019, our business activities generated a total of 107.8 tonnes of CO2.
We came to this number by collecting all of our data – from electricity bills to how Mitte employees get to work.
After calculating, we chose two great projects that are at the core of Mitte: one that focuses on clean drinking water, and another that focuses on oceans being free of plastic waste.
Clean Drinking Water
The first project we chose is based in Odisha, India, and is rooted in the fact that only 32% of households in India have access to clean drinking water. Families therefore often have to boil their drinking water over an open fire, resulting in CO2 emissions from that burning, as well as deforestation.
This project consequently organizes water to be cleaned chemically (for example, with chlorine) or mechanically (with filters), in order to avoid these emissions.
The second project we chose offers a root-cause solution to ocean plastic.
The Clean Oceans, as of now operating in Haiti, Indonesia, and the Philippines, is a project which empowers locals to clean the oceans of plastic and take that plastic waste to their local Plastic Bank branch. They can then exchange that plastic for fresh food, money, clean water, cellular service, cooking oil, or even school tuition for their children.
Collectors are also paid a premium, as well as the market value of their plastic waste. That plastic waste is then recycled and processed to become Social Plastic – material that can be bought by manufacturers and companies, thus completing the plastic waste loop and creating a circular economy.
This project is a two-part project: it supports the plastic bank in facing the huge environmental problem of plastic waste. However, because there are no certified emission reductions from collecting plastic waste, ClimatePartner also couples this project with another international, certified project – such as their wind farm in The Philippines or their wind power project in Vader Piet, Aruba. With every tonne of CO2 ClimatePartner compensate 10 kg of plastic waste, thus guaranteeing that emissions are offset.
Becoming Better Than Before
Offsetting is our first course of action at Mitte, and as touched upon, so is identifying reduction potentials for the future. This can culminate in our new office move in the near future, where we will be choosing an 100% renewable energy supplier, or a sustainable code of conduct we are working on with our contract manufacturers.
We know that carbon neutrality should be the base requirement for unavoidable emissions, and we’re pleased that this plants our first steps in being a truly carbon-neutral company in all areas, as we continue to grow and scale.
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