Why reaching net zero emissions is important
It's no secret that we're living through a climate emergency. Our global carbon emissions are heating up the earth. This causes rising sea levels. reduced rainfall and more heatwaves.
We're already seeing the widespread impact of climate change. Increased flooding, dangerous wildfires and the loss of coral reefs to name a few. And without action, we're on track to see entire regions of the planet become uninhabitable within decades.
We have a shared responsibility for our planet and for our own survival. Governments, businesses, households and individuals have a shared interest in helping our planet survive. And reducing our carbon footprint is essential if we want to limit the damage.
Measuring Confused.com's carbon footprint
First we need to figure out how much carbon we produce. We split this into 2 phases.
Phase 1 is the Confused.com office, its facilities and business travel. This is what we're calling our 'operational footprint'.
Phase 2 covers our employees. And we're not talking about what they do during office hours. We're looking at the whole carbon output of every member of staff in their day-to-day lives.
Here's how we worked out our operational footprint:
- We gathered internal data about our facilities and transport use in 2020, as well as surveying our teams about their commuting habits.
- We assessed our Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions as outlined by the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) protocol:
Scope 1 covers business activities that we own or control. This includes aircon or gas for heating
Scope 2 is dedicated to emissions from purchasing electricity
Scope 3 is all other business activities not covered by Scope 1 or 2
- We used DEFRA's conversion factors to calculate our emissions.
- This is an ongoing process - Scope 3 emissions encompass a wide range of activities from business travel, waste disposal and employee commuting.
- Based on this data, we estimated our operational emissions, measured in CO2e. This is 'carbon dioxide equivalent' emissions, and encompasses all greenhouse gases including methane and nitrous oxide.
Confused.com's estimated operational emissions for 2020 is 113 tonnes of CO2e. For context, this is the same as burning up 262 barrels of oil.
Confused.com offices and facilities
In 2020, both our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions were zero. This is because we've ensured that our energy providers use 100% renewable energy (or offset, in the case of gas).
Commuting and business travel took up a large part of our Scope 3 operating emissions. As part of the RVU Group, Confused.com is one of a family of brands across the world. With this comes the need to share knowledge and people, so there's some international travel when restrictions allow.
This formed the lion's share of our emissions. Even a single round-trip flight gives off several tonnes of CO2e.
In response, we've ramped up our use of video calling. This way we can keep in touch with our international colleagues and massively reduce our carbon output. We also have a hybrid working policy, allowing our teams to work from home to reduce their commuting emissions.
It's worth noting that our transport emissions were down significantly compared to 2019 anyway, largely owing to travel restrictions during the early stages of the pandemic.
We want every member of Confused.com to join us in our road to net zero. To do this, we've created an initiative called ARRO: Avoid, Reduce, Replace and Offset.
This encourages everyone to make concious decisions that reduce their carbon output. And where this isn't possible, we'll aim to help them offset this.
This is still a work in progress. We're calculating the emissions of everyone using the WWF Carbon Footprint calculator. In 2020, around 60% of our staff joined us in sharing their carbon footprint, totalling 1,728 tonnes, which we offset.
All those who took part also obtained a Greenmark - an icon added to their email signature to highlight their work in helping us on the road to net zero.
Offsetting our emissions
Offsetting emissions should always be the last resort. And even then, it's important to choose offsetting projects that do measurable good for the environment.
That's why we've funded a diverse range of projects across the world that have accreditation with either Woodland Carbon Code or Gold Standard. These projects have ecological and social benefits that go beyond carbon capture:
- Afforestation projects in Wales and Scotland
- Bore hole creation in Malawi and Eritrea
- A wind power project in India
These projects increase biodiversity, increase air and water quality, and improve the lives of local commmunities in these areas.
There's much more work for us to do. By 2030, all new cars on the road will be electric. Governments and businesses are taking greater strides towards net-zero emissions. The world is waking up to the fact that we're all in the same storm. And we all need to play our part to help this change.
As part of the RVU group, we're working hard to ensure that we're all doing our bit to help the planet. And that touches on every single aspect of our business - our partners, our suppliers and our customers.