Our net zero journey
In December 2019 we joined with our fellow BCorp members to declare a climate emergency. We believed that our business should take action right away and so also pledged to be compensating for all our carbon emissions by the end of 2020.
We have taken a planned approach to achieve this. Our CSR team have worked hard to develop and implement a strategy that works for our business and scale.
The two primary sources of carbon emissions that we can directly influence have been the focus for our efforts to date. At the start of 2020 we implemented the following initiatives:
Our office emissions have a very small starting point with just below 31 tonnes per annum but we are making as much difference as we can as tenants.
- We purchased energy saving equipment and automatic power off switches so that equipment is not left on for long periods of time for example overnight.
- We have a programme for removing our servers and moving our IT storage into the cloud which was mostly completed during 2020.
- Our procurement guidelines have been amended to ensure that we only purchase highly energy efficient IT equipment.
- We have adjusted temperature settings in our main office to maintain comfort levels but reduce energy consumption.
We have continued replacing any remaining CFL lighting by LEDs.
- Internal commuting initiatives, promoting car sharing, cycling and use of public transport.
- Changed our business travel hierarchy to prioritise virtual meetings in place of face to face meetings.
- Encouraging the use of public transport as opposed to using private vehicles where virtual meetings are not possible or appropriate.
There are some attributes of net zero which we are less able to implement as tenants, such as replacement of the fossil fuel-fired heating systems used for our offices.
Gold standard offsets:
While many measures are being rolled out to reduce our carbon footprint to the lowest level possible, there are inevitably emissions that remain. As such, compensating for all our carbon emissions in 2020 has been achieved by purchasing ‘Gold Standard’ carbon offsets to match our remaining footprint. The use of offsets to compensate for emissions is often contested, and the benefits of offsetting are being increasingly scrutinised. Verco, like many other companies, are committed to continue reducing our footprint as far as possible every year, to ensure offsetting becomes an increasingly small part of our solution.
The impact of Covid.
The impact of Covid has obviously been wide-reaching. We have taken the positives from the sudden change in our working practices to improve our carbon reduction strategy. For example, homeworking has been formalised to be a regular part of the working week which will further reduce our carbon emissions from travel on an ongoing basis.
For 2020, our carbon emissions from travel, especially from flying to our clients’ sites located in other continents, have necessarily been greatly reduced. As we return to a ‘new normal’, the challenge will be not to return to pre 2020 levels.
Our initial mission has been achieved.
We are proud to say that our business has compensated for all our carbon emissions in 2020 and this marks the first milestone on our net zero journey and not our end point. We will continue to strive to reduce our carbon emissions to zero.
To be continued….
Author: Dave Worthington (Managing Director)