The concept of carbon offsetting has been floating around for a few years now. Perhaps you’ve been considering it for your business or as an individual, but you haven’t quite got there yet? At Better Packaging Co., we’re incredibly proud of our recent Carbon Neutral certification for our business operations and we’ve sure learned a lot in the process. This is our ‘Better Beginner’s Guide to Everything you Need to Know about Carbon Offsetting and Becoming Carbon Neutral’. Here are our "Hot tips for becoming Carbon Neutral"
WHAT IS CARBON OFFSETTING AND WHY IS IT A BIG DEAL?
Pretty much everything we do as humans produces carbon dioxide (CO2) – it’s literally as natural as breathing (out). But the use of fossil fuels means we are producing too much CO2 and other greenhouse gases. These gases trap solar radiation and contribute to global climate change. That said, it is possible to reduce our use of fossil fuels: a great example would be by switching to an electric vehicle, using public transport, or even better, by walking!
For Better Packaging, our first consideration is always how to do something in a lower carbon way, but we will always have a remaining carbon footprint and wanted to counteract that. We did this by understanding the size of our carbon footprint and then investing in projects that act as carbon sinks by absorbing as much CO2 as we generate. This is called carbon offsetting.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Our business operations were analysed, including flights, freight, waste, petrol consumption and even how many nights were spent in hotels. Once we knew the extent of our carbon footprint, we engaged an agency to helped us to offset it by selling us carbon credits.
Staying in an AirBnB room has a far lower carbon footprint than a hotel room.
There's a saying that goes something like; You can't manage what you don't measure. For us, carbon offsetting is less about righting an imbalance (although that is important), and more about gaining a greater understanding of which parts of our business operations have the most negative impact.
Air freight is our biggest culprit when it comes to carbon emissions. So now, when our customers need something delivered 'super urgently', we can talk to them about the carbon impact of air freight as well as the additional cost.
I LIKE THE SOUND OF THIS CARBON OFFSETTING - DO YOU HAVE ANY HOT TIPS?
Glad you asked! We’ve learned a lot from the process and we’re happy to share what we’ve learned…
Keep details records for your shipping: departure and arrival ports, distances between ports, transport methods ... It will be easier to capture and review the information down the track.
The same applies to travel. Record your routing, number of passengers and class of travel, as all of these factors contribute to your emissions.
Ask the agency you're going to be working with about their carbon calculator. Then you can make a plan for what data you need to capture, and how.
Be conscious of waste: set limits and keep track of whether you’re achieving them.
When calculating our carbon footprint we asked all our warehouses for records of where they had shipped for us. Unfortunately none had kept track of distances delivered. But, the question so intrigued our UK warehouse/3PL that they have now implemented a carbon calculator for all their customers!
It may seem like a complex process, but we found it’s a lot like eating an elephant. Just take it one bite at a time and you’ll get there!