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Climate Change: How the Simple Strategy of Carbon Neutrality Brings Benefits to Organizations

By Jean Paquin

· Other bloggers

“Guys, we ought to walk the talk!” This is the exact note on which our weekly strategic meeting ended one cold Thursday afternoon in February 2018.

Now in business for several years, CCG has worked with organizations on many issues related to fueling the transition to a low carbon economy. 

Overall, what we found out up to now is that one of the largest hidden factors in business organizations is, strangely enough, the climate impact. Indeed, it is a relatively ‘new’ issue which more and more businesses around the world take into consideration nowadays. Yet, still, many decide to ignore it because it is difficult to directly relate its effects on the company’s bottom line. So, more often than not, it retains little attention in corporate discussions and is quickly swept under the desks of a few unlucky members of the organization who, quite frankly, learn to juggle and improvise some more or less effective solutions on the fly. 

Limiting the carbon footprint of any business requires vision and dedication. It can’t be improvised. Since lots of internal effort is required in laying the necessary actions in achieving carbon neutrality, most companies remain idle and decide to ‘wait and see’. Luckily, many have also decided to take actions and set meaningful objectives while equipping their management and operation teams with the right tools. 

One of these tools is an internal price on carbon. A strategy to manage climate-related risks, the internal price on carbon allows a company to set a monetary value on greenhouse gas (GHG), which can then be factored into project decisions and company operations budgeting. Another easy way to better manage climate impact is to impart expert training to all levels of the organization, while ultimately putting together a ‘climate team’ which will veil on the company's carbon activities. 

Carbon Neutrality 

The ultimate climate goal is to decarbonize the company and as a whole, the economy. Today’s climate leading organizations understand the many benefits of such approach; for a start, it allows the stakeholders (shareholders, partners, investors, suppliers and clients), to minimize their risks. But above all, it reaps a higher return for the business by avoiding many of the indirect costs large emitters will unequivocally pass through their value chain. 

Carbon neutrality is possible by accomplishing three things: (1) assess the organization's carbon footprint, (2) put in place the necessary measures to reduce and mitigate this footprint, and (3) offset the remaining GHG emissions by budgeting a compensation plan with credits purchased on the voluntary market. 

Our pledge 

At Carbon Consult Group Inc., it goes without saying that we fully understand and care about the current and future carbon impact of our business activity. But back to that February afternoon, we came to realize as a team that it was a matter of respect and sense of self-pride to actually perform a live experiment on our own business. So, we decided to offset our full carbon footprint. What does that mean exactly? Well, it means that we will mitigate our business activities and limit every carbon intensive operation to a strict minimum (i.e. mainly in transport and office management). All the emissions which we will not be able to avoid will be calculated and duly offset with voluntary carbon credits. 

Of course, there are many options to offset a carbon footprint; starting with the commonly known planting of trees. However, convinced that acting on climate starts with training citizen ambassadors on this relatively new subject matter, we have decided to use educational carbon credits. As such, the funds go to a program through which kids are empowered to take concrete carbon reducing actions at home. They acquire new responsible habits while educating their family and friends at the same time, all resulting in two generations worth of change with one action. 

Now that is what we call ‘walking the talk’! 

Do you want to tackle climate change in Canada? Check out the National Climate League, running from August 15th to October 31st, or join or start a local group at ClimateHub.ca

Co-founder of Carbon Consult Group, Jean has over 25 years of experience in carbon management and development of renewable energy projects worldwide.

Contact Jean at jean.paquin@carbonconsultgroup.com

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