Since the Paris Agreement to combat climate change was signed in 2016, there has been a global wave of change and awareness. From 5p plastic bags to protests closing down cities, we’ve all become more conscious of our impact on the environment. What better time to reflect on this, than the 50th anniversary of Earth Day?
At the beginning of 2020, we emailed a survey to all of our members, asking for your feedback on what environmental issues concern you most, and what you would like to see us focus on. We were really pleased with the reaction, and the main takeaway was that the impact of our carbon emissions was the main concern. The Cornerstone team shared this sentiment too, and as a result we are now striving to become a carbon-neutral company.
The road to zero
To reach our goal of becoming carbon-neutral, we’ll be donating towards projects that are working to reduce carbon emissions. This will mean our environmental impact as a company is balanced out by projects that have a positive effect – a process known as carbon offsetting.
We started off on our carbon neutral journey this year, with trees as our first mission. Trees are, of course, key players in cleaning our air, as they naturally remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In fact, a typical hardwood tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of carbon dioxide per year!
We kicked this off with a new referral scheme – for each friend you refer to the Cornerstone club, we will plant and care for one tree via the World Land Trust’s Plant a Tree scheme, as well as giving you £5 credit – a win-win! Want to get involved? Head to the ‘Your Details’ section of your account to find your own unique referral link.
We then continued to calculate our current carbon footprint in every single aspect of our business, from our commutes to the office, (before working from home isolation!), to the delivery of our boxes . We explored what we could change to reduce our footprint overall, making big changes in our future delivery packaging and transforming the 15 Minutes magazine into a digital format. We then took this final reduced calculation and looked at all the projects there are worldwide, working to offset carbon emissions.
Tree planting alone isn’t enough to truly offset carbon. Without the protection of our forests and rainforests worldwide, new trees can’t keep up with the amount of carbon that’s needed to be removed from our atmosphere. To aid with this, we’re aiming to support conservation projects around the globe, which protect against deforestation and forest degradation. They’ll range from places like the Amazon rainforest, to other tree protection and planting projects closer to home in the UK
Finally, we’re planning on supporting a carbon offsetting company that supports a wide range of different innovative projects, from clean water sources to the development of renewable energy across the world. Each year we will be supporting different kinds of carbon offsetting projects from solar panels for UK schools, to coral reef protection and mangrove restoration. We will be keeping you up to date with all the projects we support and all the progress we make on our carbon neutral endeavour. We hope that by supporting a wide range of projects, we will have a greater positive impact around the world, whilst also becoming carbon neutral.
Have your say!
We want Cornerstone members to have their say on which projects are most important to them, so that’s exactly what we’re going to give you! We’ll soon share a poll, where you can decide the percentage of money allocated between each project. So, if you feel strongly about solar panels for schools, coral reef protection, or protecting the amazon rainforest, be sure to cast your vote! 👇
How to offset your own carbon
If you’re looking to become carbon-neutral yourself, there are a growing number of ways you can offset your own carbon emissions. When it’s all safe to travel again, websites like FlyGreen, Atmosfair and Explore provide great tools which can offset the impact of your flights and travel. Other companies like MyClimate and Wren provide solutions to offset your household energy usage and travel emissions, whilst also giving you control over which projects you want to support.
If you’d prefer to offset your personal impact easily via one-off orders or subscription, then Terrapass might be a good option for you. They provide a number of ways you can calculate your emissions, and even offer the option of offsetting your wedding day! There’s also a handy app called offCents which automatically calculates your travel impact, aiming to provide travel with zero emissions and zero hassle.
Aside from investing in carbon offsetting, there are plenty of other changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint. You could consider changing your energy provider to a 100% renewable energy company like Bulb ,who also supply carbon-neutral natural gas. You could also try experimenting with growing plants and vegetables (grow bags and pots are great for small spaces,) a few meat-free days a month, driving less and walking or cycling where you can. Even simply unplugging electrical devices when you’re not using them, and replacing bulbs to LEDs that use 85% less energy are bright ideas to reduce your impact on our environment.