Category Archives: Blog

Can carbon offsetting add value to your travel policy?

We can reduce the environmental impact of our travel with good planning, good travel policies and by making the most of technology, but unless we stop travelling altogether, we will still generate a carbon footprint. Once we’ve decided to make a journey, one of the only means to reduce its climate impact is to offset the carbon emissions.So whether you travel for business, or travel is your business, how do you do this, what should you look out for and what benefits does it bring? This article was orignally published on Sustain Travel on September 3rd 2015.

 

This year the world is re-focusing on how we tackle climate change. In the run up to the critical international climate summit in Paris this December, many influential organisations, including the UN are promoting the key role of carbon offsetting in allowing people to take responsibility for their footprint and help tackle climate change quickly and effectively. But how can you decide if carbon offsetting is right for you and your company and, if so, implement a robust carbon reduction scheme with a trusted supplier and be sure you’re maximising the positive impacts of your investment? Stella Bell, partnerships manager at climate and development experts ClimateCare shares some of the questions you should ask yourself when considering a carbon offset scheme.

 

1. What size is your carbon footprint?

 

If you use a travel management company, then it’s easy to find out. Most can provide you with a full carbon emissions report and some, like Portman Travel will also help you offset these emissions. But what about emissions generated through travel your colleagues have booked direct, or emissions from other business operations? The accounts department is usually the best place to start. They can provide information on routes travelled through expenses claims and will also have information on other emissions such as energy use. Once you have this information, online calculators can be a quick and simple way to measure the carbon impact of specific activities and to offset small volumes through reputable projects. Businesses requiring more in depth footprint analysis have an array of tools and information at their disposal. Technology is also playing its part and companies like CO2 Analytics offer software that can even make complex measurements, like the carbon footprint of your supply chain, more economically viable.

Our tip: Start with your accounting team – they have access to almost all of the data you’ll need to calculate emissions.You can’t make a footprint calculation 100% accurate, so make the most most accurate calculation you can afford, whilst still leaving enough budget to effectively reduce and offset it.

 

2. How do I choose the right offset partner?

 

There are different types of carbon offset provider, from those who simply sell on credits from carbon reduction projects run by third parties, to those who develop their own projects and offer a fully integrated solution. To select the right partner, consider:

  • How long has the organisation been established in the carbon offset market?
  • What type and level of clients do they have and how long have they worked with them?
  • Do they offer a broad selection of projects?
  • Do they develop their own projects?
  • Are they members of ICROA, the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance that sets strict codes of guidance for members.
  • Can they offer the support you need in terms of advice, guidance or management?
  • Can they help you demonstrate value by putting together an offsetting programme that meets your budget, resonates with your business and is engaging for stakeholders?

 

Our tip: Do your research. Choose an ICROA registered offset provider who is well established, with a strong reputation and who understands the needs of your business. Don’t treat this as a one-off transaction, but the beginning of a partnership activity.

 

3. What price should I pay for a carbon credit?

 

There is no set price for a carbon credit. The price reflects the cost of the project and the specific activities that reduce CO2 from the atmosphere. It also reflects market demand – with best practice and innovate projects commanding higher prices. However, offsetting your carbon footprint is probably cheaper than you think. For example the cost to offset a flight from London to New York with ClimateCare is just £5.75 Projects set up to reduce global carbon emissions rely on finance from sales of carbon credits. Take time to think about what you want to achieve through your carbon offset and what type of projects you want to support. Are you interested in supporting projects that reduce carbon emissions by improving industrial processes, that can be cheaper, or supporting best practice projects that may cost a little more, but which help your business deliver your business CSR and communications value? Or, do you favour a combination of the two?

Our tip: Think about what type of project is important for your business, as well as your budget. Buying the cheapest credits is not always the best value for money.

 

How can I make a business case for a carbon offsetting programme?

 

Carbon offsets are cost effective and immediate. They deliver real emissions reductions that are robustly measured and independently verified. Research shows that handled correctly a carbon offset programme can also deliver real value for your business as well as the environment. It offers the opportunity for your business to call itself climate neutral, demonstrates leadership, differentiates you from less responsible brands and can inspire your workforce to engage with carbon reduction activities in house.

Our tip: Use our business case for carbon offsetting to help make the case to management for offsetting your organisation’s travel and operational carbon emissions, or contact the ClimateCare team for help.

 

What type of carbon reduction projects should I support?

 

The answer to this question will depend on what you want to achieve and your budget. You might want to deliver maximum carbon reduction for your budget, or you might want to focus your support in specific locations. You could concentrate your support for a specific technology, like solar power, or create a programme that delivers against your company’s social and environmental outcomes addressing issues like water scarcity, women’s empowerment and health. Carbon reduction projects are not all about carbon and the environment, they can improve life for communities in developing countries. For example the award-winning LifeStraw Carbon for Water project (pictured below) cuts carbon by providing communities with safe drinking water, while the Gold Standard Gyapa Project (pictured above) manufactures more efficient cookstoves that cut carbon and in doing so tackles poverty by creating jobs and saving locals money on their fuel bills. At ClimateCare, in addition to helping clients support the most appropriate carbon reduction projects for their business, we offer bespoke project development, allowing clients to fund projects that cut carbon in their own supply chains, or in the communities where they operate.

 

Our tip: Many are excited by the possibility of developing bespoke carbon reduction projects, but in reality this takes time and most of our clients begin by supporting a portfolio of schemes that we design specifically to meet their environmental, CSR and business targets and budget.

 

Is carbon offsetting for you?

 

Whether you want to reduce your own carbon footprint, or help your business differentiate itself, carbon offsetting can be a valuable part of your toolkit – particularly where travel is concerned. And, if you want to achieve climate neutrality it’s the only option, unless you stop travelling altogether. Done right it can not only deliver positive outcomes for the environment but for the communities that matter to the long-term future of your business. Find out more at http://climatecare.org/carbon-offsetting/

 

About ClimateCare

 

From offices in the UK and Africa, ClimateCare works with businesses and governments around the world to deliver integrated Climate+Care programmes which protect the environment and improve lives. Established in 1997, to date it has improved life for over six million people whilst cutting 16.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions. It’s a Certified B Corporation and holds a Queen’s Award for outstanding contributions to tackling climate change and alleviating poverty. Find out more at www.climatecare.org

 

 

Stella helps our clients to manage their environmental impacts, advising on actions to measure, report and reduce. She devises and oversees Climate+Care programmes to cut carbon and improve lives, ensuring these deliver against our clients targets.

What does it mean to become a B Corp?

By Edward Hanrahan, CEO, ClimateCare

 

Last month, ClimateCare became a Certified B Corporation. The B Corp movement might not be something you’ve heard about yet, but it is helping to highlight the opportunity businesses have to deliver positive impacts – for communities, health, environment, economic empowerment etc., as well as profits. B Corp has most of its fast growing member base in the United States, but it is now starting to gather momentum internationally too – So what does it mean for ClimateCare and UK business?

ClimateCare’s CEO Edward Hanrahan explains.

 

What is a B Corp?

 

The B Corporation movement was born in the US. Responsible corporations wanted to redefine success in business, and the B Corp movement was born.

Unlike traditional companies, B-Corps are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only for shareholders, but also for their stakeholders – their staff, suppliers, customers and the wider community and environment.

This is not an ‘add on’ activity. B Corps must incorporate a sustainable approach into their organisation’s DNA and legal framework and are assessed and scored upon this each year.

 

How do you become a B Corp?

 

To become a Certified B Corp you need to undergo a rigorous assessment and meet a high standard of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

B Lab UK, the non-profit organisation that supports the community of B Corps, uses the online B Impact Assessment to score businesses from 0 to 200. A minimum score of 80 must be met before certification is awarded and scores are openly published on the B Corporation website.

Initial certification is just the start. What I think is most exciting about the process is that you have the ability to assess and benchmark your performance against others and see where you can continue to improve. And each spring there is a Best for World ranking, where the top performing B Corps are identified and acknowledged.

 

What does it mean for ClimateCare?

 

‘Be the Change’ is the strapline of the B Corporation and leading by example is something that we at ClimateCare firmly believe in.

For 18 years, the team at ClimateCare has been the change. We’ve been doing things differently, constantly seeking new and innovative ways to deliver positive impacts, cost effectively. When we find a formula or model that works, we then seek to replicate that – allowing us to work with leading businesses and governments around the world to deliver integrated Climate+Care projects that both protect the environment and improve lives at scale. Our B Corp score reflects this track record and is a testament to all the hard work put in by the team here over the years.

As well as our innovative project development work, we’ve created new ways to structure finance for impact, bringing public and private sectors together and developing combinations of upfront finance and payment on delivery of specified results – for example for agreed health outcomes or the amount of carbon reduced.

The Climate+Care approach we’ve created allows us to deliver multiple outcomes through a single programme. This brings great cost efficiencies and is regularly described by our clients as a ‘no-brainer’.

So where does B Corp come in? Our new certification is important for a number of reasons. For nearly two decades ClimateCare has demonstrated how to profitably deliver Social and Environmental Impact at scale. The evidence is there. But, outside our network of corporate and government partners, we’ve always felt a bit of a lone voice.

Achieving B Corp certification gives an official status to our operating model. And, it brings us together with a community of businesses who share our views and support our Profit for Purpose model. It also, provides us, for the first time, with benchmarks from other organisations who are equally committed to delivering positive impacts, without compromising commercial viability.

 

B Corp network photoClimateCare is proud to have become a Certified B Corporation, joining a global movement dedicated to using business as a force for good.

 

What next?

 

We’re seeing growing demand for our services from the US, where the B Corporation brand is already well recognised as a stamp of assurance for partners that we are the type of organisation they want to do business with.

And, as the brand becomes better known in the UK, we’ll be encouraging our business clients and partners to find out more about B Corporations and consider adopting some of the principles.

It’s not necessary to become a fully Certified B Corp to start making a difference. For a start, there’s a free B Impact Assessment Tool online, that any businesses can use to assess and compare their performance. And there’s a great network of support for businesses that want to improve their performance and take the step to certification.

As the B Corporation movement launches officially in the UK in September, I hope that we can help raise awareness of the power that UK business holds to address social and environmental issues. And of course, ClimateCare is well positioned to help companies moving towards B Corporation status, deliver on their social and environmental promises – be that helping them meet carbon reduction and climate neutrality targets, greening their energy supply or building Climate+Care projects to protect the environment and improve lives within their key markets and supply chains.

 

To find out about ClimateCare call +44(0)1865 591000 or visit www.climatecare.org

To see ClimateCare’s B Corp profile visit http://www.bcorporation.net/community/climatecare

To find out more about B Corporations visit www.bcorporation.uk

 

 

Edward has managed ClimateCare’s development since 2007 providing financial rigour and strategic direction across all activities. Edward works closely with our in-country teams to structure finance and strategic partnerships for our global sustainable development projects. He advises banks, international development finance institutions and governments to help enable sustainable development at scale.

 

Where to start? Tackling challenges with integrated Climate and Sustainable Development solutions

With World Environment Day coming up on the 5th June, ClimateCare’s Naomi Hicks explains how taking an integrated approach to sustainable development can help you deliver against multiple social and environmental goals.

 

Whilst integrated and systems based approaches are now accepted at policy and strategy level, for those of us tasked with delivery of programmes, the complexity involved can make it hard to act upon at a practical level.

Rallying behind a single issue with a simple strapline and linear progress monitoring is so much easier. So what can be done? How can we tackle enormous issues like climate change and poverty, whilst still feeling that our small investments are essential and making a useful difference?

Having understood these connections exist, the important thing is not to use this complexity as an excuse for inaction.

There’s no single answer, but from years of experience developing integrated Climate+Care programmes, designed from the outset to deliver against multiple social and environmental goals, here are a few ideas that might help:

 

  1. Focus on goals rather than interventions. What is it you want to achieve? Is it about supporting entrepreneurs, empowering women, creating new opportunities for school children? Focussing on the end goal will not only help you invest your money ways that will deliver maximum positive outcome, it will help you explain your actions in a simple way, despite taking complex decisions to get there.
  2. Don’t act in isolation. What do others in your organisations want to achieve? Pulling together environmental, social development and business goals can help focus activity and pool budgets allowing more effective action. Think beyond your own organisation to how you can scale by working with your supply chain, your staff, your customers and even your competitors.
  3. Identify the skill, expertise, knowledge and drive within your organisation and use this to steer your actions. For example if your skills lie in distribution, how can you engage your colleagues and unlock your logistics expertise to deliver sustainable development and environmental goals?
  4. Pick activities that are core to your business. If you are a soap manufacturer, supporting safe water and hand washing programmes in emerging countries will make more sense to your staff and your customers than investing in solar power. If you are a light bulb manufacturer, the opposite is true.
  5. Measure, report and adjust. Being able to explain the difference you have made, is key to continuing support. Even more important is using this data to inform your decision making, changing course if necessary to ensure money is spent wisely to deliver positive impacts for people and the environment.

 

Business-Benefits-Diagram

A Climate+Care programme can deliver a whole raft of business benefits

 

Case Study

 

“Integrated problems need integrated solutions” says Head of CR at Aviva, Zelda Bentham, one of ClimateCare’s clients. Back in 2006, Aviva set out to reduce its carbon footprint and offset what remained through ClimateCare, becoming the first global insurance group to offset its entire operational emissions. It has remained carbon neutral ever since.

Thanks to the Climate+Care approach, it now delivers more with its budget, supporting projects that cut carbon but also improve lives, tackling poverty and improving health. As it focusses attention towards delivery of priority Sustainable Development Goals, ClimateCare will help ensure Aviva’s budget continues to deliver at scale against multiple priorities.

“Often companies we work with start with one priority issue they want to tackle – be that empowering women, improving health or tackling climate change. As we build a relationship across the organisation, we help our clients identify other connected issues, often looked after by different departments. Taking a systems based approach helps us identify programmes that deliver multiple benefits from one budget, delivering better value for money and greater positive impact for people and the environment” says ClimateCare’s Director of Marketing, Rhiannon Szmigielski.

 

If you’d like some help to develop an integrated Climate and Sustainable Development programme for your business, or for help to make the business case for action, do contact Naomi and the rest of the ClimateCare team on +44(0)1865 591000.

 

Naomi Hicks is ClimateCare’s Senior Programme and Partnerships Manager. Naomi works with national and international corporates alike to devise and oversee business relevant corporate social responsibility and social impact programmes, which deliver measurable social and environmental outcomes to meet both CSR and sustainability agendas, whilst also delivering business value.

 

Zelda Bentham, Aviva: Delivering Business Value Through Smart CR

Speaking today at the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves’ event in London, Zelda Bentham, Group Head of Environment & Climate Change, shares how Aviva derives business value by taking an integrated and business driven approach to delivering environmental and social impacts at scale.

At Aviva, we continually seek to maximise the long term value delivered by every element of the business, and our Corporate Responsibility (CR) programmes and investments are no different. Whether it’s work to future-proof the business against the effects of climate change, or delivering measurable social, environmental and community impacts, it’s essential we can demonstrate how this activity delivers measurable business value.

We are helped by the fact Aviva’s senior board acknowledge that action on climate change is fundamental to the long-term sustainability of our business, as climate change could make many risks uninsurable in the future. As a responsible investor, we also recognise the critical role we have to play in reducing emissions and delivering positive social and environmental impacts through our actions and investments.

We implement a robust CR strategy to deliver positive contributions to society and to communities and seek to minimise our environmental impacts as part of our commitment to help tackle climate change. We maintain a leading position in transparently reporting across a number of leading global indices, including the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, CDP and the FTSE4Good.

Within our CR programme, we have a carbon management strategy; taking responsibility for our environmental impacts and seeking internal efficiencies wherever possible. That includes investments in low-carbon technologies, internal energy & consumption efficiencies, and a target to reduce our emissions by 20% between 2010-2020 with a minimum reduction of 5% a year.  By the end of 2014 we far exceeded this target with a 32% reduction from 2010.

Yet internal actions and efficiencies can only take us so far and some carbon emissions are simply unavoidable; meaning we need to seek external emission reductions too, to continue our commitment of of carbon neutrality. That’s where smart carbon offsetting comes in.

Through our partnership with ClimateCare, we’re able to maximise the business value of our carbon offsetting activity, by making it part of an integrated Climate+Care programme. Here’s how.

Taking an integrated Climate+Care approach means delivering both positive impacts for  the “Climate”, by reducing carbon emissions, and delivering measurable “Care” or  social impacts ; whether that’s creating economic opportunities, empowering women, improving health or enabling access to education for example. Such impacts, delivered through our programme with ClimateCare underpin our overall business commitment to contribute effectively to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), build resilience and free people from fear of uncertainty, whilst all the while cutting emissions and playing a valuable role as part of our carbon management programme. The key lies in delivering multiple outcomes from single, smart interventions, coupled with robust measurement of the impacts delivered.

 

Zelda's Blog

Aviva have invested in the LifeStraw Carbon for Water project, which has distributed nearly 900,000 simple gravity fed water filters, removing the need to boil water on open fires. This saves money, reduces exposure to toxic fumes, carbon emissions and protects local forests.

With this in mind, we took a lead in reporting the full value of our Climate+Care programme; looking at the social and environmental impacts delivered and the value to our business. Working with ClimareCare’s experts, we’ve successfully measured the carbon reductions and the social value of our programme using the recognised LBG framework; it was the first ever application of the framework in this way, which has created a measurement blueprint for others to follow.

Now we’re able to quantify the social value, we can report this back to the business demonstrating that the wider value delivered by our Climate+Care programme compares favourably to our other community investments. In addition, independent reputation analysis shows that our Climate+Care programme directly contributes to Aviva’s positive reputation too.

Every business has its own challenges and targets. However in our experience, not only can a smart carbon offset programme cut emissions. If this budget is used wisely to fund integrated action, it can deliver an array of environmental and social impacts aligned with core business priorities and deliver measurable business value; bolstering reputation, enabling smart CR spend, engaging colleagues and demonstrating that we can be a good ancestor. It’s a message born of experience and one I felt compelled to share, in the hope it can inspire others and help them make the business case for action within their own organisations.

 

Zelda is Aviva’s Head of Environment & Climate Change and has worked in Aviva and its legacy companies for the last 25 years. She developed Aviva’s climate change and environment strategy and represents Aviva on various UN Environment Programme Groups. In 2006, Aviva became the first carbon neutral insurance group on a worldwide basis.

 

If you would like to learn more about how an integrated climate and development programme can deliver value for your business or to learn more about our Climate+Care Cookstove programmes, contact one of our experts today on +44 (0)1865 591000.

Tom Morton: An innovative fund for supply chain resilience

Food supply chains face a volatile future. Resilience means looking outside of the box to build long-term wellbeing in the producer communities as well as the crops. What’s often lacking is a way to invest in supply chain projects that improve health, tackle poverty and fight climate change, at scale. For instance, how can the cost of health solutions for Kenyan farm workers growing food and flowers for sale across UK and European supermarkets be factored into the financial model of the supply chain?

This article was originally published on Forum for the Future – Futures Centre on March 25 2015.

 

This is a question that we are exploring with food and beverage grower Finlays, through its Horticulture Fairtrade Association. Together, we are creating a funding model that food retailers and manufacturers can follow to deliver similar impacts around the world.

In this instance, the solution we are funding is efficient cookstoves. The Finlays workforce that these supply chains depend on, face a life-threatening challenge in the cost and health implications of cooking on traditional, inefficient stoves or open fires. These emit toxic fumes that kill 15,000 people in Kenya every year, and damage the health of many more. The UN endorses the provision of modern, efficient stoves to address this issue, but for most farm workers the latest efficient stoves are out of reach financially.

Our project makes efficient cookstoves available to agricultural workers by subsidising the initial cost of a stove and creating a revolving fund which provides an interest free loan to assist purchase. As loan repayments top up the revolving fund, the money is used again allowing the project to expand and support more families.

 

Finlays-Blog

Over two years, this project will improve the health and disposable
income of 8,000 supply chain workers

That’s not all. The fund has an innovative second source of income, beyond the loan repayments. Cleaner cookstoves help to save carbon by reducing deforestation for charcoal, and so we are generating and selling carbon credits to boost the fund. This will ensure the long-term sustainability and expansion of this project across the farm workforce community. Setting up these projects is complex. You can’t design the solution and then add on a financial model; they need to be developed hand in hand. From our offices in Nairobi, we ran extensive testing and market research with groups of workers to select the best possible stove within the budget constraints and to develop an effective distribution and retail network. At the same time, we set up a mechanism to manage the loan and repayment facility and arranged for upfront investment by DFID, Kenya.

The project is now launched and at least 8,000 agricultural workers are set to take advantage through 2015. They will benefit from the positive health impacts of a more efficient stove, and will each save approximately £125 in fuel costs every year.

And, the business benefits from a healthier, happier workforce – without which no supply chain is resilient.

To find out how to develop similar projects within your own supply chain contact Tom.Morton@ClimateCare.org

 

 

Tom leads our project development team, specialising in activities that deliver environmental and social development outcomes. Under Tom’s leadership, ClimateCare has won numerous project development awards. His team also provide consultancy services to development agencies and NGOs and advise governments on clean energy and development policy. Tom is based in the ClimateCare Africa office.

 

Edward Hanrahan: 5 Ways to Care for the Climate and People

Since 1997 ClimateCare has specialised in projects that tackle climate change and deliver sustainable development outcomes. Winners of a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development, ClimateCare recently announced targets to cut 20 million tonnes of CO2 and improve the lives of 20 million people by 2020. CEO Edward Hanrahan shares his thoughts about what makes a successful climate and development programme. This article was originally published on Connect4Climate on March 11 2015.

 

1. Use a business approach

 

There are many excellent initiatives out there, but to be most effective we must take a business approach, selecting solutions that deliver the best return on investment for people and the environment.

Rigorous assessment of value for money has demonstrated time and again that enormous synergies are possible if you tackle multiple issues such as health, poverty and climate change together.

And whilst innovation is interesting and newsworthy, focusing on proven, low risk, cost effective and scalable solutions (which are admittedly not always the most exciting), can often deliver the greatest results in the shortest time.

 

2. Unlock mainstream private sector investment

 

Why? There simply is not enough public sector budget available to meet the scale of the challenges we face. Unlocking mainstream, private sector investment and developing blended public/private finance is essential.

At ClimateCare, this is a major part of our work and we have pioneered new funding mechanisms, like carbon finance, that offer investors a low risk, results based payment method and a measurable return.

As an industry, we need to apply this type of thinking more broadly. The issues that we tackle are emotive, but to be successful in tackling them our response has to be objective and measured.

 

3. Connect people

 

Public/Private sector partnerships are much discussed, but for many years our work has relied on connecting private business, financial markets, policy makers, NGOs and project partners worldwide, to design and deliver integrated climate and development projects.

What have we learnt?
That you need a focus on shared results and that someone has to make the first move, acting as a catalyst and partnership broker to make things happen. Once they do, the results speak for themselves. Our partnerships with major global enterprises such as The Swedish Energy Agency, DFID, Aviva, Jaguar Land Rover and The Co-operative mean we now run some of the largest and most successful climate and development programmes in the world.

 

Wycliffe Omoga receives a new ethanol cooker from DFID’s Lisa Phillips at the launch of a programme to kick-start a market for clean cooking, that will
save lives and help tackle climate change.

 

4. Design in robust measurement at the outset

 

Businesses and investors want to see results that stand up to scrutiny. This means agreeing deliverables up front and designing a project around this.

One example is the world-first LifeStraw Carbon for Water project. ClimateCare partnered with manufacturer Vestergaard to distribute simple water filters to the entire Western Province of Kenya, providing over 4 million people with safe drinking water. Emissions are reduced because people no longer need to boil water on open fires to make it safe to drink.

The project was designed according to a UN approved methodology and every year, filter usage is monitored at a household level. Results are independently verified so that carbon reductions can be calculated and reported. The monitoring and reporting continues year on year, as the project is paid by results – based on the carbon reductions achieved.

 Women-demonstrating-the-LifeStraw-filter-near-Butere,-Kenya
 The LifeStraw Carbon for Water project provides safe drinking water to more than
4 million people in Western Kenya, and cuts carbon emissions.

 

5. Make activity relevant to funders

 

Increasingly we are working on bespoke programmes that meet multiple targets, for example designing projects to meet an organisation’s carbon neutrality, environment and CSR targets in a cost effective way, while at the same time building supply chain resilience, supporting development in emerging markets and building skills for future growth.

Making projects relevant to a business increases buy in and allows different departments to work together and pool budgets. The end result is greater value for people and the environment.

 

 

Edward has managed ClimateCare’s development since 2007 providing financial rigour and strategic direction across all activities. Edward has structured carbon finance for large scale projects including LifeStraw Carbon for Water. He advises banks, international DFIs, and is seen as the voice of the voluntary carbon market by stakeholders and media alike.

 

Marie Le Page: Why Women?

With International Women’s Day coming up on the 8th March, ClimateCare’s Marie Le Page asks why empowering women is an essential part of sustainable development.

 

It’s widely recognised that creating opportunities for women is essential to build stronger economies, achieve development goals, and improve the quality of life for whole communities. The OECD state that Women’s Economic Empowerment is a prerequisite for sustainable development, pro-poor growth and the achievement of all the MDGs[1]. But, what do we mean by ‘Women’s Empowerment’?

 

Defining empowerment

 

The Institute of Development Studies [2] defines economic empowerment as “the capacity of women to participate in, contribute to and benefit from economic activities, on terms which recognise the value of their contributions, respect their dignity and make it possible for them to negotiate a fairer distribution of returns.”

Across all economies and cultures women perform the bulk of unpaid care work [3]. Oxfam America [4] estimate that across the world, 66% of work falls on women’s shoulders, yet they earn only 10% of the world’s income. Why is this?

Many societies dictate that girls and women have the main responsibility for the care of children, the elderly and the sick, as well as for running the household, including the provision of water and energy supplies. And, whilst some of this work, particularly looking after family members, is valued by those undertaking it, much – such as water and fuel collection – is classed as drudgery and takes time away from school or generating secure incomes and better working conditions

 

Free up time and you will tackle poverty

 

Unlocking time and relieving the burden and drudgery of household tasks is the most important first step to economic empowerment [5] for women in the world’s poorest countries. And it can act as a stepping stone to tackling poverty and improving life for the household and community.

Time Poverty and Income Poverty reinforce each other [6]. Time poverty prevents women expanding their capabilities through education and skills development that could improve their ability to generate income. Lack of time also makes women less able to take part in income generating activities. So how can we free up time?

 

The need for clean energy

 

In the developing world, where 3 billion people [7] still cook and heat their homes using open fires and simple stoves – time spent collecting fuel is a major issue. In Zambia [8] for example, women spend more than 800 hours a year collecting firewood, compared to less than 50 hours spent by men. Fuel gathering limits time for other productive and income generating activities and takes children away from school. In less secure environments, women and children are also at risk of injury and violence.

Improving access to alternative sources of clean energy through improved cookstoves, clean energy and safe water programmes frees up time by eliminating the need to walk long distances to gather fuel. It also reduces exposure to indoor air pollution – a deadly killer, responsible for the death of over 4 million people every year – and affecting the health of many more. At the same time these programmes reduce deforestation and help tackle climate change by reducing emissions.

 

Find out more

 

The provision of clean energy or safe water is just one example of how integrated Climate+Care programmes are empowering women – freeing up time, creating jobs, generating prosperity and improving health – as well as protecting the environment. Check out our case studies to find out more.

 

Marie-LePage

Marie Le Page is ClimateCare’s Corporate Partnerships Manager. Marie works with national and international organisations to design business relevant climate and social impact programmes. She specialises in creating programmes that deliver measurable outcomes to meet both CSR and sustainability agendas, whilst also delivering business value.

 

 

References

[1] http://www.oecd.org/dac/povertyreduction/50157530.pdf

[2] The Institute of Development Studies, in their report on Empowerment and Participation: bridging the gap between understanding and practice

[3] The unpaid “care economy”, an analysis by the OECD, Women Economic Empowerment

[4] http://www.internationalwomensday.com/oxfamamerica

[5] Women’s Economic Empowerment: The OECD DAC Network on Gender equality: http://www.oecd.org/dac/povertyreduction/50157530.pdf

[6] World Bank Working Paper No.73: Gender, Time Use and Povery in Sub-Saharan Africa

[7] World Health Organisation March 2014

[8] ICW

 

Robert Stevens: The Inside Track

Robert Stevens shares the CSR investment trends emerging amongst leading corporates. This article was originally published in Corporate Citizenship Briefing on February 5 2015.

 

For leading corporates, gone are the days of arm’s length Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes. Business leaders now recognise the value of integrating CSR into the core of their business and maximising the impact of every dollar or pound spent. As CSR becomes integral, there is increased pressure to demonstrate investment value and robustly report impacts.

Smart corporates are always on the look-out for ever more innovative ways to make their CSR investments deliver more. Here are three ways our partners are driving innovation, delivering positive impacts and maximising the value of CSR investment.

 

Innovative impact assessment to inform smart decision-making

 

A key focus for our partners is measuring the social, environmental and business impacts delivered by their CSR investments. Take Aviva, who partnered with ClimateCare to deliver their carbon offset programme; supporting projects designed at the outset to deliver robust emission reductions for the company and improve people’s lives.

Using the LBG framework, which the company already used to measure the impact of its wider community investment programme, we helped Aviva lead the market and measure the impact delivered through their programme, reporting that in just two years it had cut 126,000 tonnes of CO2 (which it used to help meet carbon neutrality targets) and at the same time improved the lives of 200,000 people.

By applying the LBG framework in this way, Aviva was able to compare the impacts delivered by its different CR investments side-by-side. As Zelda Bentham, Group Head of Environment and Climate Change at Aviva noted; “what was interesting was how favourably ClimateCare’s integrated Climate and Development projects compared [to other CR investments] in terms of community impact”.

Other businesses now use this same methodology to measure the social impacts of their investment in offsetting. And smart corporates are now taking such impact measurement and reporting to the next level; incorporating this into their investment decision-making to maximise value from CSR programmes.

 

Integrated programmes to achieve multiple CSR targets

 

As investment decisions become subject to increasing financial scrutiny, our business partners are opting for longer-term, integrated partnerships that can deliver measurable and sustainable impacts at scale, have legacy value and which are measured, and sometimes even paid for, on a results basis.

There is an increasing pool of evidence that achieving both environmental and social responsibility targets through a single investment delivers value for the business. Take Jaguar Land Rover, a company with ambitious responsible business targets to create opportunities for 12 million people by 2020 whilst continuing to offset their UK manufacturing emissions.

Jaguar Land Rover is taking an integrated approach to achieving its CSR goals, by supporting ClimateCare programmes which demonstrably improve lives and deliver emission reductions. Through this smart CSR investment, Jaguar Land Rover has and continues to deliver social & community impacts at scale; whether that’s improving health through access to safe water, or scaling-up renewable technologies, supporting community entrepreneurs, creating local jobs and cutting emissions. This has enabled the company to robustly report lives improved against its corporate target, whilst achieving carbon neutral manufacturing through the same investment.

In the words of Jaguar Land Rover’s CSR Director Jonathan Garrett, “Supporting sustainable development projects that transform people’s lives and also reduce carbon emissions makes clear business sense”. Going forward, companies should seek to derive maximum value from their CSR investments by selecting programmes that can deliver against multiple social and environmental goals, offering value for the business, its employees and stakeholders.

 

Investing in insetting

 

OLKARIA - CLIMATE CARE

Schoolchildren using water filters provided by The Co-operative’s insetting project – photo credit Kate Holt/ClimateCare

There is an increasing case for investing in projects within your sphere of influence and in particular into what are now called ‘insetting’ projects – projects that reduce carbon within your own supply chain. In our experience, projects like these turn a cost centre – paying to deliver CSR and carbon outcomes – into a valuable investment that can bolster supply-chain resilience, help to future-proof a business, and deliver positive impacts for communities a business relies on.

Take The Co-operative Group. Working with their tea growing communities in Kenya they identified access to safe water as a key issue. The Co-operative worked with ClimateCare to develop a bespoke insetting project providing safe water for the first time to 14,000 people with this supply chain. As well as improving lives, increasing productivity and strengthening relations with communities the business relies on, this project is also delivering measurable emission reductions.

As more corporates recognise CSR as core business, we expect to see more robust impact measurement to inform decision-making, a growth in integrated programmes to achieve multiple goals and increasingly smart investments within supply chains and other spheres of business influence or interest that turn cost centres into sources of resilience.

 

Rob-Stevens

Robert Stevens is ClimateCare’s Head of Partnerships and oversees our client relationship team from the UK office in Oxford. He also manages our bespoke services team developing tailored sustainability programmes for businesses and orchestrating public/private partnerships to increase impact.

 

Small Team, Big Impact

I couldn’t believe my luck when I got the chance to come and work at ClimateCare.

I’m a Masters student studying Leadership for Sustainable Development with Forum for the Future. My final placement was set to be finance based and I was unsure what I would end up with. A bank? An insurer? No, I was lucky enough to be assigned to ClimateCare and I now have the chance to work on a project that will help secure finance for high quality Climate and Development projects across the world.

Securing finance for what…?

ClimateCare works with partner organisations to create and manage Climate and Development projects across the globe. These projects are designed from the outset to both tackle climate change and improve lives. For example, the Gyapa Stoves project in Ghana reduces indoor air pollution for people who buy a more efficient ‘Gyapa’ cookstove. It also stimulates the local economy, supporting entrepreneurs who manufacture and sell the stoves. On top of this, as the stoves need much less fuel, the project both cuts greenhouse gas emissions and reduces deforestation.

ClimateCare is well known for using carbon finance to support Climate and Development projects like this – generating emissions reduction credits and securing buyers for them, to provide an ongoing finance stream. However, I’ve discovered that carbon finance is just one of the financing structures ClimateCare use. And their impact is huge. The week before I arrived, the team won a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development for its ‘outstanding contribution to tackling climate change and alleviating poverty’ having cut over 16.5 million tonnes of CO2 and improved the lives of more than 6 million people.

As you might expect, it’s a results focussed environment and in my first couple of weeks I have already been involved with research into innovative models that will allow projects like these to scale up further and make an even bigger difference.

The team in Oxford is small and dynamic. Everyone is encouraged to have an understanding of all areas of the business. A typical day might lead from a project update call in the morning with the Nairobi office, to a partnership meeting in the afternoon with a UK-based client. The pace is fast and exciting with new business developments impacting the whole team on a weekly basis. I have just under a month of my placement at ClimateCare left. I hope it continues as it started!

Sam Gillick is a Forum for the Future student, currently working as an intern at ClimateCare as part of his Masters course.

 

Useful links

> Read more about how ClimateCare secures finance for Climate and Development projects

Woodland Trust: Act global, think local

No matter where greenhouse gases are emitted they exert a global warming effect. This is the logic that enables carbon offsetting, where emissions in one place are neutralised by emissions reductions elsewhere. This globalises the carbon problem, allowing those responsible for emissions to seek out the most effective means of mitigation.

However, our activities also have local impacts. Issues such as air and groundwater pollution are often associated with high emissions sources. Addressing environmental impacts doesn’t stop at carbon and many businesses seek to address other concerns at the same time.

Good carbon offset projects deliver multiple outcomes for people as well as the environment. For example, ClimateCare’s excellent LifeStraw and clean cookstove projects help improve people’s health as well as delivering carbon savings.

Woodland creation also provides a particularly rich raft of benefits. Trees and woods provide habitat for wildlife, recreational spaces for people and a renewable source of materials and fuel. They also help regulate and purify water flows and quality and increase the resilience of the landscape to withstand impacts…the list goes on.

Businesses value being able to show their staff and customers where they are making a difference. For businesses with a footprint in the UK, this is where the Woodland Trust’s partnership with ClimateCare comes into its own.

Working in partnership, Climate Care and the Woodland Trust have a unique offer to businesses seeking to offset their residual emissions and also take action in the UK. Called Offset-PLUS, the product combines internationally certified Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) with a contribution to the Woodland Trust, which is used to support its Woodland Carbon initiatives.

Following the Government-approved Woodland Carbon Code, the Trust’s offer to businesses enables the creation of more native woods in one of Europe’s least wooded countries.

The Code requires project developers to use standard carbon sequestration models, to conform to the UK Forestry Standard, and to have carbon stocks independently verified by an UCAS-accredited inspector. The aim is to instil investor confidence in projects in much the same way as international marques, such as the Gold Standard, provide.

Our landscape needs more trees. As the climate changes there will be more frequent and severe storms, floods and drought. A more diverse mosaic of habitats will help us withstand these events and enable wildlife to move around more easily to track the changing climate envelope. Trees are a vital part of this.

By investing in OffsetPLUS you are going well beyond mitigating your carbon impact. You’re helping provide people and wildlife with a better, more resilient future. Sometimes acting global means thinking local.

Nick Atkinson Woodland Trust

 

Nick Atkinson is the Woodland Trust’s carbon specialist. The Trust is an environmental charity that aims to protect the UK’s existing trees and woods, create a better wooded landscape and inspire people to enjoy it.

Useful links
> Read more about our OffestPLUS product