Offsetting our carbon emissions

Offsetting our operational carbon emissions

We’ve worked hard to reduce our carbon emissions for several years, and in 2012 we set a new target to reduce our total emissions (scope 1, 2 and 3) by 25% by 2017.

Although we’ve made great progress, we’re conscious that the remaining emissions we produce still contribute to climate change, so we seek to offset to achieve carbon neutrality each year in line with the new UN campaign ‘Climate Neutral Now’, which highlights the crucial role of business in tackling climate change.

Approach

We’ve offset our ‘direct’, operational carbon emissions, as reported in each financial year, since 2007.

We use a mixture of Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) projects which ensure all of our carbon credits are real, measurable, additional, permanent, independently verified, unique and traceable. All approved projects are registered in the VCS’ online registry, ensuring a transparent chain of custody, from issuance through to retirement.

Over the years, we’ve supported a number of projects internationally, which promote renewable energy such as wind or hydroelectric power. But our TIMM analysis has shown that ‘land use’ is our second biggest environmental impact, because of the ‘indirect’ and ‘induced’ impacts in our value chain. So, while we only offset our direct emissions, we’ve worked with our carbon offset provider to update our offset portfolio so that it now includes projects which focus on protecting rainforest in biodiversity hotspots.

Programmes

We introduced two new projects to our portfolio in 2014 which aim to avoid deforestation – a key driver of global carbon emissions – in areas of high biodiversity value, through working with local communities.

Makira, Madagascar

Madagascar is considered to be one of the top five biodiversity hotspots in the world due to more than 75% of all animal and plant species being endemic while less than 10% of its primary vegetation is remaining.The Makira project plays an essential role in biodiversity protection by limiting deforestation in 360,000 hectares (more than twice the size of greater London) of the Makira forest and working with communities around the forest in a ‘protection zone’ of 320,000 hectares.

The project is validated to the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and has also achieved Gold Level of the Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) standard, due to its huge biodiversity benefits and its extensive work with communities to assist in adapting to the impacts of climate change.

Rimba Raya, Indonesia

Based on the island of Borneo in Indonesia, this REDD+project preserves carbon-dense tropical peat swamp by helping to halt deforestation of roughly 47,000 hectares of forest originally slated for conversion to palm oil plantations. The project focuses on both community development and biodiversity conservation, particularly the protection of the endangered Borneo Orangutan.

To deliver on its goals, the project actively engages local communities to improve food security, income opportunities, health care, and education. It’s also validated to both the VCS and CBB standards.

The emissions offset through our support of Makira and Rimba Raya account for 25% of our 2015 carbon footprint, with wind power projects in India accounting for the balance.