Monthly Archives: September 2013

Follow Aviva’s lead and integrate your CSR

We explain how an integrated approach to sustainability can work for businesses, people and the environment in this latest blog on the Sustain Travel website.

You may also be interested to read our recent press release about Aviva’s carbon offset programme, which has positively impacted the lives of more than 200,000 people through two projects – LifeStraw Carbon for Water in Kenya and Envirofit Efficient Stoves in India.

Zelda Bentham, Head of Environment and Climate Change at Aviva, said; “We have always been committed to offsetting our environmental impacts, but we also wanted to make sure our programmes delivered a broader community impact… This approach makes CR more joined up across our operations”.

 

 

 

Jonathon Porritt: Why it’s important to offset unavoidable emissions

Jonathon PorrittI’m in something of a personal quandary. My new book, ‘The World We Made’ is out this autumn and, as part of my outreach and promotion for that, I’ll be doing a lot of international travel. I won’t be the first environmentalist to be criticised for this, and I have no doubt that I won’t be the last.

Beyond that, Forum for the Future is growing, and it’s growing globally. We opened an office in New York back in 2010, which is now thriving. We’ve recently started working out of Mumbai and have just recruited the first staff member for our Singapore office. All hugely exciting. All hugely carbon intensive.

Both this international expansion and the global promotion of my book are strategic decisions that we believe will catalyse change. But they raise a number of questions.

What criteria need to be fulfilled before deciding to get on a plane? How can we measure whether the impact we have in a meeting, at a workshop or a conference justifies the means of travel there? What role does my book have to play in creating a world we all want to be a part of?

As you would expect, we do have a checklist for these decisions, including only flying when the equivalent train journey takes more than six hours and travelling with the most carbon-efficient airline.

Once this exhaustive list has been worked through, and we’re convinced that the journey is justified, we will travel. And, as we would recommend to any of our partners, we then offset that travel.

For many years now Forum for the Future’s offset partner of choice has been climate and development experts ClimateCare. Not only do they offset our business travel, but also our operational emissions – because we have to acknowledge that we, as an organisation, have an impact.

This emissions offsetting is a key part of the ambitious strategies of the likes of Kingfisher, Interface or M&S and their net positive / de-coupling / zeronaut ambitions (which you can read more about in this Green Futures article). Once every effort has been taken to reduce or avoid emissions, offsetting then has a crucial role to play in helping organisations give more to our environment than they take out.

It’s for these reasons that I continue to be an ardent supporter of offsetting done well (if it’s not done well with the right kind of offset provider as part of a radical carbon reduction strategy, it’s not worth doing). But far too many environmentalists fail to distinguish between “done well” and “better not done” – which is hugely unhelpful.

It’s part of our role at Forum for the Future to help people understand that crucial difference.

Enter our prize draw to win a signed copy of Jonathon’s new book – The World We Made.

 

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Related links:

–       Read more about ClimateCare’s climate and development approach here

–       Read the Green Futures Special Edition ‘Offset Postive’ here.

 

Jonathon Porritt, Co-Founder of Forum for the Future, is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development.  Established in 1996, Forum for the Future is now the UK’s leading sustainable development charity.  In addition, Porritt is Co-Director of The Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme which runs Seminars for senior executives around the world.  He is a Non-Executive of Willmott Dixon Holdings, a Trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy, and is involved in the work of many NGOs and charities as Patron, Chair or Special Adviser.

He was formerly Director of Friends of the Earth (1984-90); co-chair of the Green Party (1980-83) of which he is still a member; chairman of UNED-UK (1993-96); chairman of Sustainability South West, the South West Round Table for Sustainable Development (1999-2001); a Trustee of WWF UK (1991-2005), a member of the Board of the South West Regional Development Agency (1999-2008), a Non-Executive Director of Wessex Water (2005-2012).

He stood down as Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2009 after nine years providing high-level advice to Government Ministers.

Jonathon was installed as the Chancellor of Keele University in February 2012. He is also Visiting Professor at Loughborough University.

Jonathon received a CBE in January 2000 for services to environmental protection. 

 

Clean cookstoves hailed ‘wonder gadget’ in BBC article

Roger Harrabin explains the role clean cookstoves can have on improving people’s lives and tackling climate change in this article on the BBC website.

ClimateCare lead authored the methodology that made it possible for clean cookstove projects to secure funding through carbon finance. and since 1997 has unlocked finance from the private sector to distribute clean cookstoves to more than 750,000 families.

This article on the UN’s Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves website, explains more about how we have helped many hundreds of organisations around the world learn from and follow our approach.

Find out more about our cookstove projects in Uganda and Ghana and read a case study about our work with the Gyapa project.

Contact us today to find out how you can help provide clean cookstoves by offsetting your unavoidable carbon emissions or calculate and offset your emissions using our online calculator.

 

 

Carbon offsetting discussed on BBC Radio 4

John Broome, Professor of Moral Philosophy and author of a book Climate Matters, was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme.

Engaged by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to report on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Professor Broome endorsed the role of carbon offsetting saying, “I have rather strong views about that, actually, which I came to in the course of writing this book – it wasn’t something I’d previously thought about. But I think elementary common sense tells you that you are not morally entitled to do harm to other people for the sake of your own benefit.

And our carbon emissions do do harm to other people, and mostly we do it for the sake of our own benefit. This is an unjust act, so we ought not to do it. So my conclusion, rather strongly, is that we should not, any of us, emit greenhouse gas.

Now the way we can achieve that, at the moment –  or a way we can achieve it – is by the process of offsetting.

It isn’t that you should donate to a carbon charity. What you should do is pay money to a company which undertakes to take out of the atmosphere, in effect, the same amount of greenhouse gases you put in it. That way, you don’t have any – make any net contribution, and you yourself do not warm the atmosphere.”   

You can listen to the full episode on BBC Radio 4’s listen again, at 50 mins 44 seconds.

The opportunity to listen again has now ended, but you can see a transcript of this interview below:

Source: BBC Radio 4 PM

Date: 11/09/2013

Event: John Broome: “Our lifetime emissions will shorten lives by six months or so”

Credit: BBC Radio 4

People:

  • Professor John Broome: Professor of Moral Philosophy and IPCC Lead Author
  • Eddie Mair: BBC journalist and presenter of PM

 

Eddie Mair: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has engaged a philosopher to help produce its forthcoming report on how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The report – the fifth of its kind since the IPCC was created in 1988 – will focus more heavily on ethical issues than previous reports. Abstract concepts, such as the relative importance of non-existent people and how much we value a second bathroom, will enter the debate, alongside how to insulate millions of lofts. John Broome, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Oxford University, is one of the lead authors of the IPCC’s report on the mitigation of climate change. His book, on the ethics of climate change, is called Climate Matters. Thanks for joining us. How are you approaching this task?

John Broome: Good afternoon. Um, diplomatically. Er, the IPCC works by consensus, and I am dealing with a lot of people who haven’t had experience with working with a philosopher before. They’re very friendly, very tolerant, but they find it difficult and I have to help them.

Eddie Mair: What – what should people know about working with a philosopher, for people who have never done it?

John Broome: Er, I think that we are broad-minded. So whereas a lot of people I deal with have their own fixed views about the foundations of value, shall we say, um, in philosophy you have to take all possibilities on board, you have to consider all options. You can end up by taking a firm view yourself, on the basis of argument, but you do need to make sure that it is well-founded and you need to consider a lot of different views.

Eddie Mair: And what sort of response do you get, when people – a lot of people have very firm views on climate change – when you poke your head up and, sort of, challenge that a bit?

John Broome: I don’t know that I challenge any of the concrete views that my colleagues have about what we ought to do. But I do challenge the basis on which they argue, sometimes. So, for instance, I deal a lot with economists, and economists have a pretty firm moral theory, that all of value depends on the satisfaction of people’s preferences. Now, that may be right – it’s certainly defensible – but there are other values that one needs to take into account. For example, to take a very simple example, it’s surely a bad thing if animals suffer, quite independently of what people’s preferences are about that. So there are many sources of values other than ones that economists tend to think of.

Eddie Mair: A question which often arises, when people discuss climate change, is how much individuals can do. Some people feel a little small, a little powerless, that whatever they do will be dwarfed, inevitably, by what corporations do or what governments do.

John Broome: Well, it is true that it will be dwarfed. As individuals, we are small contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, And the problem is going to be solved, if it ever does get solved, by action from governments and from the international community. But that doesn’t mean that what we each do, as individuals, is insignificant. It’s relatively small, but nevertheless significant. I can give you, if you like, a rough quantity. So, um, the emissions that you and I typically make, during the course of a year – one of their effects is that it’s going to shorten people’s lives, around the planet, over the next century, by a day or two in total. It’s not going to shorten any one person’s life by a day or two, but there is a lot of death that will result from climate change, and when we emit greenhouse gas we add to that. We shorten lives, and in total it will work out, from a year’s emissions, to about a day or two. Our lifetime emissions will shorten lives by six months or so. Now that’s not insignificant – I don’t think anybody would want to shorten lives by that much. But that is what our emissions will do.

Eddie Mair: And – I mean, I’ve been having a read of some of your writings today, and you pose an interesting question, and I wonder if you could talk through your thinking on what the answer might be. Which is worse, the death of a child in 2018 or the death of a child today?

John Broome: Oh, I think they’re the same. Um, I don’t think that all deaths are equally bad, because I think what people lose when they die is the rest of their lives. And not all of us have so much of their life left – I don’t, for example. But if we’re talking about two children with the same life expectation, about the same age, then I don’t think that the date at which they die can possibly make any difference to the badness of their death.

Eddie Mair: What do you say to people who wrestle with carbon offsetting? They might be taking a flight and think “Well, should I donate to a carbon charity?”

John Broome: I have rather strong views about that, actually, which I came to in the course of writing this book – it wasn’t something I’d previously thought about. But I think elementary common sense tells you that you are not morally entitled to do harm to other people for the sake of your own benefit. And our carbon emissions do do harm to other people, and mostly we do it for the sake of our own benefit. This is an unjust act, so we ought not to do it. So my conclusion, rather strongly, is that we should not, any of us, emit greenhouse gas. Now the way we can achieve that, at the moment –  or a way we can achieve it – is by the process of offsetting. It isn’t that you should donate to a carbon charity. What you should do is pay money to a company which undertakes to take out of the atmosphere, in effect, the same amount of greenhouse gases you put in it. That way, you don’t have any – make any net contribution, and you yourself do not warm the atmosphere.

Eddie Mair: John Broome, Professor of Moral Philosophy, thank you. He’s also the author of a book Climate Matters.

 

 

Aura Light: Improving Energy Efficiency & Offsetting

“We constantly work to improve the efficiency of our products and processes, to both help our customers to become sustainable and have sustainable operations.  In an ideal world we wouldn’t have to offset, but as long as we’re emitting carbon, offsetting not only makes sense for the planet and the generations to come, it’s good for business.  We’re very happy we chose ClimateCare,”

Gunilla Danström,
Aura Light International AB

 

SEAD-ceremony
Patrick Blake of UNEP presents Anett Grusser Pettersson of Aura Light with the Global Efficiency Medal from Inter-governmental initiative, SEAD.

 

THE CHALLENGE

Aura Light International is an award-winning company providing smart, sustainable lighting that it calls Brighter Lighting. Its lighting solutions help customers reduce their costs, energy consumption and environmental impact.

Aura Light has over 80 years’ lighting experience, and continues to strive for efficiency in production processes and ever-more energy efficient lighting solutions , offering customers up to 80% in energy savings. In 2015 it was a proud winner of the Global Efficiency Medal through The Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative. However, despite the award-winning efficiency of its products, and efforts to reduce its carbon emissions, it still has a residual carbon footprint.

With a relatively small footprint, the challenge for Aura Light was to find a supplier that could provide offsets from the innovative good quality projects it desired, at a competitive price.

 

THE SOLUTION

ClimateCare’s Mixed Portfolio is perfect for businesses with a small footprint that want to offset  emissions cost effectively, whilst still supporting integrated Climate and Development projects that protect the environment and improve people’s lives.

“We wanted to offset the emissions from the production and transport of our Aura Light products so we researched the market to find the best offset supplier” states Gunilla Danström, Marketing Director at Aura Light International AB.  “Our close cooperation with ClimateCare makes sure that we get an option providing the greatest impact.”

 

EUParlament_Foto-Julien-Luttenbacher-8
Aura Light’s Brighter Lighting at the European Parliament

 

CLIMATECARE’S ROLE

ClimateCare was able to offset Aura Light’s carbon footprint through its Mixed Portfolio. Its expert Portfolio Management team selected a combination of offsets from projects, balancing impacts on people and the environment with an affordable price per tonne.  By providing communications materials and working closely with Aura Light’s team, ClimateCare also help Aura Light tell the story of the projects it has supported and the impact it has had.

“ClimateCare regularly highlight communications opportunities to demonstrate how our support for their projects delivers against multiple sustainable development goals. This support helps us engage our staff and customers about the importance of taking action on climate change and helps to enhance our brand”, continues Gunilla.

 

THE IMPACT

Aura Light has  offset 14,000 tonnes since 2008, supporting Gold Standard projects including the award-winning LifeStraw Carbon For Water project, which is providing over 4 million people in Western Kenya with safe water, and clean cooking projects in Uganda and Ghana. It also supports wind energy projects in India.

“What’s great about working with the team at ClimateCare is that I know we are both working for the same thing – reduced emissions and happy communities. It’s a real partnership” – Gunilla Danström.