Eliga’s Operations Support Manager, Alicia Wilkerson, details the preparation required for becoming a carbon-neutral company – and the great reward the hard work brings.
When David, our head of operations, first told me we were going to work with ClimatePartner to offset our 2021 emissions, I was pretty excited! What an amazing project for the company to invest in.
I went into the initial meeting eager to learn more, but I came away thinking “this is going to be A LOT of work”. Not that I wasn’t excited anymore, but the reality of how to undergo such a project really hit home.
It was December 2021 and we had decided to offset our 2021 emissions, meaning I could get started with January–November right away.
Gathering and calculating company data for offsetting carbon emissions
ClimatePartner required every little piece of the puzzle to know how many tonnes of Co2 we needed to offset. This broke down into several categories:
- Purchased Goods and Services
- Business Travel
- Employee Commuting
Electricity was not a fun category. I’m not sure how many people can honestly say they fully understand every inch of their monthly electric bill, but it can’t be many! I went through the bills for every month with a fine-tooth comb, adding up the consumption in kWh to provide the total number.
The same could be said for the heating bills. Do you know if you are using biogas? Or natural gas? Have you asked your energy supplier recently exactly where the energy has come from? Didn’t think so… But I did!
As tedious as gathering all the data was, it felt worthwhile.
After gathering all the data and submitting it, ClimatePartner calculated exactly how many tonnes of Co2 we had emitted in 2021 and therefore how much we needed to offset.
Next came the fun part – choosing the projects!
Selecting which climate action projects Eliga would support
I was told to choose three projects that I felt were right for us to support as a company.
First, I wanted to choose something in the UK. I chose the Afforestation in the UK project. Although more expensive to support, surely it was important to help our immediate home. This project works to restore rough pasture for wildlife which in turn increases biodiversity. Added bonus – a sustainable forest can rapidly absorb much larger quantities of carbon too, BINGO!
Clean Oceans Worldwide
Next, I wanted to support the world’s massive plastic crisis, something that’s also close to David’s heart. I chose to support Clean Oceans Worldwide.
We are all aware of the plastic crisis that has dominated the news for the last several years. With an increase of awareness, not least thanks to David Attenborough’s TV programmes, I felt it was important for us to also look at a clean oceans project.
This particular project works with ‘Plastic Bank’ which has a programme to encourage the collection of plastic in areas such as Haiti, Indonesia, Brazil, and the Philippines. This plastic is exchanged for money, food, water or even fees for school. The collected plastic is then recycled and turned into ‘social plastic’, which is used to create new products.
I loved the message and initiatives of this project as it wasn’t aimed at first-world countries for massive monetary gain, but instead as an incentive for those in need to receive basic provisions.
We would all admit to being less likely to travel to recycle something (even if we know we should) because the gain is minimal to our immediate lives. But if you need food or water for that day, this is a safe way to get it while supporting the planet’s waters too!
Solar energy in Namibia project
Finally, I chose to support the Solar energy in Namibia project. This project felt especially important given the current energy crisis.
In Namibia, there are over 10 hours a day of uninterrupted and unharvested sunshine. This project helps to harness that sunshine via solar panels spread over 10 hectares. It can then be given back to the country where 40% of the rural population doesn’t even have access to electricity, despite this being on their doorstep. As solar panels are an emissions-free source of energy, this project seemed like a no-brainer to support.
It was exciting to deliver the chosen projects to ClimatePartner as it felt like the end goal was finally being reached.
In March 2022, Eliga successfully offset its 2021 Co2 emissions towards these projects. The certificate recognising the achievement was an email I didn’t know I’d be so happy to receive! I couldn’t have forwarded it on any quicker.
It has now been decided that this will be an annual goal for Eliga. Although I am not looking forward to rummaging through a year’s worth of expenses, bills, and emails again, I can’t say it’s not worth it!
Look out for more climate action updates from Eliga soon and follow us on LinkedIn for all news and updates.