April the 22nd, 2020 is the 50th anniversary of Earth day. The day that globally, we recognise the importance of our planet, and reflect on the damage we are doing and what we need to do to protect it. Most of us are of course currently staying safe and protecting others by staying home, but that doesn’t mean we can’t show our planet some love.
So I am super excited to announce, in honour of Earth day, our new tree planting initiative!
We are proudly carbon neutral, whilst working our way to being climate positive. This is another step in our journey to giving far more back to the planet, than we ever take.
We have partnered with Offset.Earth who are a gold standard accredited carbon credit provider.
Every order made through our website (in every part of the world), will also plant a tree, or mangrove, somewhere in the world. The Eden Project choose where the need is greatest and work with NGOS, indigenous people and locals to plant seedlings in places such as Madagascar and Sri Lanka. You can see our forest here.
It is the globally accepted standard that 15 trees will offset one ton of carbon over twenty years of growth, (accounting for variables such as temperature, species of tree, rate of growth, climate and so on.) Trees use carbon to build carbohydrates, like cellulose, which makes up between 50-90% of a tree's mass (a tree is made up of approximately 50% carbon at maturity).
One of the biggest criticisms for tree planting to combat climate change is survival rates. If a tree is planted, yet cut down less than a few years later, its impact is negligible. This is why we have taken so long and gone to great pains to ensure our partners are evidence-based and impactful.
The Eden Project hire locals and indigenous groups to plant seedlings, helping to eliminate extreme poverty. Ongoing income is assured also, as it is a requirement that 10% of the trees planted are a species used for agroforestry, which provides food for people, animals, or for construction purposes. Over time, this provides a secure ongoing income and economic independence which so many people do not have otherwise.
You can read more how the trees we plant are protected and their legitimacy proven here: Growing trees - responsible reforestation.
We have also gone a little further and offset all our team’s personal lives and personal travel. Offset.Earth takes our money every month and invests it in technologies such as methane capture and solar energy which reduces the need for energy production using fossil fuels. You can see how many tonnes of carbon we have offset so far here.
Our goal for tree planting in 2020 is 200,000 trees. Which would offset over 13,000 ton of carbon dioxide, which is well over double our current footprint. This is what we mean by being climate positive. We are paying to draw carbon emissions that we have not produced out of the atmosphere.
We are strong in many areas already:
Because our product is plastic-free and displaces products in a very waste heavy industry, we are doing good simply by selling bars instead of bottles!
One of our shampoo bars has just 8% of the carbon footprint of the equivalent liquid product. The large footprint of bottled products comes primarily from the plastic packaging (150g of carbon dioxide released just to make one 25g plastic bottle.) Versus just 9g for our largest product box.
So if we can just offset, does that mean we can just carry on as normal?
It is important to note that carbon offsetting, when done properly through gold standard accredited providers is a useful tool to help combat climate change. But it is not a solution. We cannot plant enough trees, mangroves or even rainforests to keep up with the huge amounts of greenhouse gases we are pumping into the atmosphere through ‘business as usual.’
How can you join in?
There are many offsetting organisations, ranging from those that invest in forestry to those who invest in new energy technologies and everything in between. It is important to note that not all organisations are equal and there are standards that good offsetters will comply with. After lots of research, we are very comfortable with Offset.Earth and EKOS, but there are others too of course.
For travel, sustainabletravel.org is great.
So how can you lower your footprint:
Choose plant-based and local foods wherever possible. Beef requires 20x the land and resources and produces 20x the emissions of plant-based foods like legumes and beans when the protein is compared gram for gram.
Get rid of food waste. In the developed world we waste almost 50% of all the food we produce… that is huge. Whilst a lot of that wastage occurs before it reaches consumers, it would still make an enormous difference if we could all use as much of our food as humanly possible (learn to love leftovers) then properly compost the rest.
Cut down your air travel. Often held up as the number one worst thing you can do for the environment (it’s not), but flying isn’t great. Try cutting down your international trips and explore your local area.
Stop buying fast fashion. Do you really need that $5 t-shirt? The fast fashion industry is the second most heavily polluting industry and an incredibly exploitative one. Buy slow, mend clothing, stop chasing trends.
Stop buying, using or having anything to do with single-use plastics. Plastic is made from ethylene, which primarily comes from natural gas or oil and is therefore heavily dependent on mining and extraction. Not to mention the processing involved and the fact that it takes thousands of years to biodegrade…
Just stop buying so much ‘stuff.’ 45% of global carbon emissions come from stuff that we make, ship and sell all over the world. If we just halved what we bought, we would drastically reduce our emissions (and really, that would be good for us in so many other ways too!)
Interested in other resources?
One of my favourite books is called Project Drawdown, which is a scientifically assessed, peer reviewed list of the top 100 solutions to climate change (that we already have). Read all about them here. The top five might surprise you!
Happy Earth day.