If you can measure it, you can manage it – carbon neutral
Our carbon neutral journey
Climate Active is the Australian Gold Standard for carbon neutrality, comprising a community of carbon neutral certified members who work with the community to inspire climate action.
Gaining an internationally recognised Carbon Neutral certification requires the mitigation and offset of greenhouse gas emissions. Our first step was to measure our current carbon emissions. This would enable us to set a benchmark for future consumption and understand the balance we needed to achieve between business operations and carbon offset credits.
A a specialist field, we engaged an external auditor, engaging Pangolin Associates. They provided the expertise and guidance to begin Shoal’s journey towards carbon neutral certification. Within Shoal, we began to explore ways we expended carbon and ways we could make our company and practice more environmentally sustainable. We learned that to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we could invest in new technologies, modify our procurement policy, and change the way we operate and behave.
Our auditing partner, Pangolin Associates, assisted us through the three-step process to reduce our carbon footprint:
- Annual carbon emissions calculations to determine our impact
- Developing policies and environmentally friendly processes to reduce impact
- Providing offset options for the greenhouse gas emissions that can’t be reduced or prevented.
Determining Shoal’s carbon footprint took us on a forensic journey into our running costs. We needed to set up systems to track our electricity, gas and water use, mass of office waste to landfill, flights, stationary, IT, food and beverages supplies. This data is used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions. With our emissions known, we can set company policies to reduce future impact.
Unfortunately, we can’t eliminate all emissions. For those emissions that we cannot eliminate, we can neutralise them through carbon offsets like purchasing carbon credits. Carbon credits are generated from activities that prevent, reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere.
Our next step was to find out how to do this and then investigate options available for investment. We’ll explore this in the next blog in our ‘Our carbon neutral journey’ series.