3rd July 2018
We describe ourselves as an ethical agency. We make bold statements about trying to become carbon neutral, wearing hemp pants, and buying ethical coffee. We may have fibbed about the hemp pants (though some of us do have hemp clothes). The coffee though, that’s a fact. Our coffee is ethically sourced with profits going to Sailors’ Society who are a charity supporting seafarers and their families all over the world. So what about our carbon footprint?
We’ve assessed our sustainability and developed a sustainability policy, complete with targets for the coming year. We’ve had our carbon emissions assessed and verified. We’ve been working to reduce our carbon footprint, and continue to do so, but we also want to offset the emissions we do contribute to. We want to offset more than we’ve used. We want to go further than carbon neutral. We are aiming to be carbon positive.
Our independent assessors verified our unavoidable emissions at 3.2 tonnes of carbon emissions (tCO2e) for the last year. We’ve chosen to offset 5 tCO2e.
We had many offsetting options available to us; from cooking stoves to tree planting. It is important to us that this is more than a paper exercise. We want to do something that really adds value, much like the way we approach working with our clients. We were looking for a tangible community benefit.
Tree planting looks great, especially the team building aspect of getting together and physically digging. It does take a long time for those saplings to make a genuine difference to the CO2 though. We’re hoping to get involved in some team hands-on activity with a local water buffalo farm in Hampshire later in the year. This is part of our commitment to carbon positivity.
In terms of offsetting, we’ve chosen a Ugandan borehole project. This will have an immediate and direct impact on the community, making clean water accessible and available. We are pleased to be able to officially state that we're a carbon neutral agency, and are excited that every aspect of our sustainability policy is helping us to make a positive impact on our environment and community.
Our offsetting project works with local communities to identify and repair broken boreholes. The projects is located in northern Uganda. The borehole project meets four of the 17 UN sustainable development goals (SDG).
Prior to some of the boreholes, women were spending more than 3 hours every day collecting water from a distant, unsafe water source. The impact of a safe water supply from a borehole in the heart of the community can’t be overestimated. People are now saving hours that would otherwise have been spent travelling to far away sources.
Borehole water is safe and does not need to be boiled, greatly reducing the need to gather firewood to purify the water. This saves firewood and prevents the unnecessary release of carbon emissions.
Women report that the time saved that was previously spent gathering these resources can now be invested in working on the farm and learning new skills to generate income.
Supporting the fifth SDG, gender equality, the borehole rehabilitation and maintenance in Lango sub-region, Uganda, will be the very first programme to implement the new Gender Equality methodology from the Gold Standard.
3. Good health and well-being
5. Gender equality
6. Clean water and sanitation
13. Climate action