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    April 19, 2022 5 min read

    Our Carbon Offsetting Journey


    Last year we decided to embark on our carbon offsetting journey. 

    While Essentially Natural has been involved with various environmental projects over the years, as well as launching our NPO  The One Percent Movement, which does amazing community and environmental work, we were always conscious of our carbon footprint as we deliver thousands of parcels every month - which does come at a cost to the environment, of which we are responsible for. So we decided to do something about it.


    One of our founding pillars is to be kinder to the environment. Mostly we interpret this as sourcing local and providing non-toxic ingredients, and promoting a DIY lifestyle, where we take back control of what goes onto and into our bodies and the environment. We also use and promote  eco-friendly packaging, using no plastic in our parcels, and reusing items wherever possible. We have an excellent warehouse recycling system set up, and we educate all our staff on all of these points. But the thing about sustainability is that it is truly a journey. There are always ways we can be better and do better, as a company and as people. 


    We decided to invest in carbon credits from local community projects as a way to help offset our carbon emissions and also support community initiatives. Our aim was to neutralise our carbon emissions from our parcel deliveries as a starting point, and then carry this over to our entire company operations. But we thought, why just neutralise our delivery emissions, when we could be doing even more: we could completely negate them and offer carbon negative delivery. It’s really not enough to just be neutralising carbon emissions; the world needs to produce less. And while offering a carbon negative delivery isn’t producing less greenhouse gases in itself, it is putting back into the environment through funding of projects that reduce carbon emissions. The result is net zero carbon emissions, or in our case for our parcel deliveries, a net reduction in carbon emissions.



    How Carbon Credits Work

    Projects that capture and reduce greenhouse gas emissions can vary from tree planting initiatives (trees are known for capturing or sequestering more greenhouse gasses than they produce), to gas capture projects at landfills, to anaerobic digesters at dairy farms, to clean power projects, the list goes on.


    Purchasing carbon credits is the act of investing in carbon reduction projects in order to offset your own carbon emissions. 


    Here is a break down of the carbon credit process:


    →  Projects are audited by independent auditors in order to verify the carbon emissions they claim to reduce. Carbon is a measurable entity so it can be accurately recorded.

    → Once audits are approved, the credits are logged in a carbon registry for purchase.

    → Calculate your carbon footprint in order to know how many credits to purchase for your business in order to help offset your carbon emissions.

    → Purchase from the registry and retire your carbon credits so they can’t be double counted. Credits can also be held and retired at a later point, or even sold.

    → The registry then pays the projects for the credits purchased. Projects can run sustainably and support communities.




    How Essentially Natural Calculates Its Carbon Emissions From Deliveries


    We have a tracking app installed on our site, which tracks all our deliveries including distances and parcel weight, and calculates the total carbon emissions produced. We then calculate the amount we need to offset, and we multiply this by 10 because we want our deliveries to be carbon negative. We thought x10 would be a good factor. We then purchase the calculated amount of carbon credits from reputable and audited projects via Credible Carbon, and retire the credits. We purchase our carbon credits monthly.



    Projects We Are Currently Supporting


    We decided to purchase our carbon credits through Credible Carbon, a local and accredited carbon registry that offers purchase of credits from audited carbon reduction projects. We chose two local projects to support, Kuyasa and ReCarbon Hermanus. They each approach the carbon problem in different ways, employing different strategies to improve lives and improve the environment.



    Kuyasa 

    Kuyasa is a low-carbon housing project based in Khayelitsha. Since inception, over 2000 homes in this poor suburb of Cape Town have been fitted with energy saving solar geysers, efficient lighting and thermal ceilings. Besides the measurable carbon emissions reduction from this project, co-benefits include reduced household expenditure on coal-fired electricity, local job creation, a reduction in local air pollution, and an anticipated decrease in accidents and property damage as a result of fire (lighting would otherwise be paraffin lamps and candles which are a terrible fire risk in densely populated and poorly built areas such as Khayelitsha).



    ReCarbon Hermanus

    The ReCarbon Hermanus project diverts municipal green waste from the landfill to a unique composting area. This compost is then organically certified and used for a range of sustainable gardening and agricultural projects. Carbon emissions reductions are calculated based on the amount of material that would otherwise have decayed in the landfill, leading to methane and carbon dioxide gas emissions. Revenue from the project is used to promote social development and urban farming in the community.



     

    In short:

    • Carbon offsetting forms part of our strategy to take responsibility for the greenhouse gas emissions associated with our operations.
    • We chose to offset through two local projects that reduce emissions and generate social and ecological co-benefits. Kuyasa creates healthier and better living environments for poor families, while ReCarbon diverts waste from the landfill - enhancing soil carbon and soil fertility at the same time, as part of the shift towards a circular economy.
    • We see the combination of avoiding emissions and carbon sequestration as complementary parts of our climate change response.
    • Both projects contribute to work creation in poor South African communities.
    • We chose to offset through a company that uses recognised third party auditors on all its projects and has a registry that ensures no double counting of credits.

    If you own a company or brand, we really encourage you to support local community carbon reduction projects such as those offered on Credible Carbon and other registries. They make the process incredibly easy, and you know you are supporting real projects that make a difference in people’s lives.

    And if you are a customer, you can rest assured that by purchasing from us you are not contributing to carbon emissions, because we have covered it at no cost to you.


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