Carbon Neutrality Explained: What Is Carbon Offsetting?
10th February 2021
The world is becoming more environmentally conscious, and we’re doing our bit to be an eco friendly courier service.
As we move further into 2021 the global trend of environmental concern is growing at a staggering rate, and this is something that we here at EcoSpeed heartily support. With so many new initiatives now in place it can be difficult to understand some of the terminology being thrown around, and so we thought we’d take the time to break it down.
What does it mean to be carbon neutral?
Being completely carbon neutral is the goal for all organisations who are concerned about the emissions output, but what does it actually mean? In short terms being carbon neutral means that any carbon emissions you release are either recaptured or balanced out by emission reductions elsewhere.
There is a common misconception that being carbon neutral means that you yourself produce zero carbon at all, and while this fairytale scenario would be a welcome sight, it is unfortunately impossible for most if not all industries. There is a simple analogy that explains it well: everybody has to eat, but to stop yourself infinitely gaining weight you do exercise to balance it out. By not eating anything you would of course not gain any weight, but you wouldn’t be doing much of anything else either.
How can a business achieve carbon neutrality?
Becoming completely carbon neutral is an epic undertaking and while some low emissions businesses can claim to have achieved it, for many of us it is the goal that is always one step away. This is no cause for despair however, as the two main methods of balancing your carbon emissions allow organisations to do as much as they can, and where the environment is concerned, every little helps.
Reduce your carbon emissions
The first port of call for any organisation aiming to become carbon neutral is to first, lower your own emissions. Calling back to the food analogy, anyone hoping to lose weight should first lower the amount they take in. Taking this first step means that you are working to balance a smaller amount of emissions in the first place, which will make life much easier going forward.
How you reduce your emissions will vary largely with the type of business that you operate. As a same day courier service we first had to take a look at the vehicles we use. Electric vehicles are not feasible for our businesses needs, and so we instead took steps to reduce the emissions in our vehicles, in some cases by up to as much as 27%! While this is the logical step for us, the improvements in electric vehicles could mean that fleets operating over shorter distances could cut their carbon emissions to zero in one fell swoop.
There are many other industries that rely on traditional engines for their reliability and range, most notably so in aviation. In these areas where severe emissions cutting measures are not really practical, and hydrogen power technology hasn’t quite reached the front lines, there is another way to counterbalance the carbon that you put out.
Referring back one more time to the metaphor of losing weight, if reducing your emissions is eating a balanced diet, then carbon offsetting is your exercise. In short, carbon offsetting is the practice of investing in or supporting carbon absorbing projects, and funding drastic cuts in emissions from industries that can make them.
As carbon emissions permeate themselves evenly throughout the atmosphere, it is possible to emit them in one place, and capture them in another. This means that when it comes to carbon offsetting, the world is your oyster. By far the most effective method of offsetting your carbon is to invest in growing and protecting natural carbon sinks.
Natural carbon sinks is a collective term given to any natural entity that absorbs carbon. The most common of these around the world are forests, soil, and oceans. This is why the preservation of rainforests and wild spaces is so vitally important for our ecosystem.
Our commitment to being a greener courier solution means that alongside the steps we have taken to make our vans more efficient, we also provide a significant amount of support to our local wildlife trusts. Since EcoSpeed’s inception we have donated 10% of all of our profits to the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, whose mission it is to reclaim and protect vital peatlands within our county. So far we have donated well over £100,000, and have offset over 3,300 tonnes of carbon emissions.
Whilst our contributions have a local effect, there are hundreds of charities that can offer carbon offsetting in return for donations that help to protect and restore the natural world across the globe. But restoring natural sinks isn’t the only method of carbon offsetting.
Your financial contributions could also be used to fund cuts in emissions where they can be easily made. In some African nations for example, where their power generation is still in it’s crudest form, helping them to improve their efficiency is an easy win as more developed countries already have the technology and know how to show them the way. This way if you emit 1 unit of carbon into the atmosphere, but have reduced the carbon being emitted elsewhere by say 10 units, then you have successfully offset your carbon emissions and are actually in deficit.
Which is more important?
The first step we should all be taking is to reduce our carbon emissions as much as we can. It is estimated that all the world’s natural carbon sinks absorb up to 11Gt of carbon per year, whereas our worldwide emissions are as high as 38Gt. It is for this reason that offsetting alone is not enough, and where possible you should be limiting your output as far as you can.
With that in mind, how much you offset can also be increased at will as there are plenty of opportunities and not enough money to go around. Building a carbon offset commitment into your Corporate and Social Responsibility plan might only cost you a small percentage of your profits, but could mean the world of difference to your environmental impact.
How to make a difference to your carbon footprint today
Taking the first steps to reducing your carbon footprint could be as simple as reviewing who you choose to work with. We realised that even with the best intentions, there would still be a need for same day couriers to have carbon producing vehicles on the roads, but we do it a little differently.
Not only do we offer a same day delivery guarantee, we will also collect your consignment within 60 minutes of booking and every time you use our services, you are making a contribution to support our local wildlife. Our same day couriers are based in Manchester, but our services are available throughout the UK.
Book your same day delivery with EcoSpeed
If you or your business requires guaranteed same day delivery then EcoSpeed are here to help, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To start the process of booking your delivery get in touch for a free, no obligation quote for your job by calling 01204 394714, or fill in our quotation form.
Please complete the form below to get a free quotation from us. If you have any questions or have an urgent enquiry then please call us on 0845 021 0213.