Our Climate Progress in 2020

Climate Change word cloud

Well, it’s that time of year again to break out the #CarbonFootprint calculators to see how we’ve done on our climate commitments in 2020.

Our Climate Targets

Last year, by offsetting double our 2019 emissions we were able to achieve #CarbonNegative / #ClimatePositive status. See last years blog: Net Zero? We are carbon negative! We also developed a #Climate action plan and set ourselves some ambitious targets, including:

  1. Maintain net-zero emissions
  2. Maintain our #CarbonNegative status by offsetting more emissions than we produce
  3. Reduce our actual emissions with the ultimate aim of achieving actual zero emissions by 2030
Polar bear and cubs

The impact of the pandemic

Well obviously we weren’t expecting a global pandemic. Unfortunately, this has meant that some of our climate action targets became unachievable.

Our biggest contribution to carbon emissions is through the electricity we use and the travel we undertake . Like many offices around the world, our electricity use dropped significantly this year. But as this is mainly due to working from home, in reality, this electricity use was simply transferred from the office to our homes. Business-related electricity use in our homes is practically impossible to quantify with any accuracy. So for 2020s carbon calculations we are assuming that the overall amount of electricity we used for business purposes would be similar to what it was in 2019. In reality, though, our actual electricity use is likely to have been marginally lower in 2020, with fewer members of staff and therefore fewer devices being used.

Increased emissions due to travel

Prior to the pandemic, we would have car-pooled to save on emissions. However, due to the Covid-19 restrictions and the desire to minimise the spread of the virus we have had to travel to sites in separate cars. This inevitably means that our contributions to carbon emissions through travel have increased significantly in 2020. We countered this as far as we could by focussing more on local projects closer to home and offering more attractive rates for sites that are closer to us. We have also been able to provide some of our other services remotely that would previously have been conducted on sites, such as training services and project meetings. And that is a change we hope we can carry forward into post-pandemic times.

Overall though, our total carbon emissions have increased this year. This is entirely due to increased emissions from travel. But this is just a setback. Through carbon offsetting, provided by The Gold Standard (www.goldstandard.org), we have been able to maintain #NetZero emissions. Not only that but, like last year, we have chosen to offset double our carbon emissions. We may have been unable to reduce our actual emissions this year as planned but we are still as committed as ever to achieving actual zero emissions by 2030.

Where do we go from here?

Let’s hope for a better year in 2021. Let’s take heed of the lessons we have learned as a result of this pandemic: how so many people can work remotely; how so many businesses can operate remotely; how our lives are dependent upon action on the climate and biodiversity crisis to help prevent future pandemics; and how we can work together rapidly on an unprecedented scale against all odds to tackle global emergencies.

We will continue to provide updates on our progress and we love hearing from all of you about what you are doing! Together we can make the significant and rapid changes that are required – we know now that we can do it!. All of us, big and small, have to play our part.

Reflections on 2020: An Ecologists Perspective

A Challenging Year

This year we have all been trying to deal with the unprecedented international crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. The costs have been so high for so many.

We are fortunate to have escaped much of the devastation seen elsewhere. The change to working from home was possible for us, while it wasn’t for so many. Social distancing was never going to be a problem for people who usually work alone in the middle of fields or forests! We are so grateful for the support and kindness from our local businesses and communities, keeping us busy during such a difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Some Positives

All things considered, this has been a surprising year, to say the least. There are many positives that have come from such a dark period. The most heartening of these is the amazing capacity for us as a species to come together and help one another when it really matters. We have seen so many examples of people and organisations doing incredible things for the common good.

Another thing that this pandemic has shown us is the capacity for countries around the world to act together to tackle a huge global crisis. There are many encouraging signs that we may now be seeing a renewed global effort in relation to the climate and biodiversity crisis. Let’s hope that political leaders take this opportunity to rebuild our economies and societies in a way that combats these existential threats.

Many people rediscovered and reconnected with nature this year. This can only be a good thing. The true value of nature has become much more obvious to many people, providing much-needed respite during these challenging times.

With Covid-19 vaccines being approved around the world we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel, while continuing to follow guidelines to minimise the spread of this virus.

Thank You!

Thanks to all of our followers, friends, family, clients, colleagues and well-wishers for their support and kindness throughout 2020! We wish you all a safe and happy holiday season in the knowledge that 2021 should get better and better!

COVID-19 Update 25 March 2020

Corona Virus

Our work continues!

Our professional body The Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) continues to work hard on our behalf, liaising with the Government, Statutory Nature Conservation Organisations, #developers and #planners to determine the best way forward to undertake planning-related ecological surveys and Ecological Clerk of Works (ECoW) services while protecting the health and well-being of our staff, customers and the wider community.

Following the new restrictions announced by the Government on Monday 23rd March, CIEEM have updated their guidance for #ecologists, available here: https://cieem.net/i-am/covid-19/?utm_source=GDPR+CIEEM+List&utm_campaign=80001cafce-CIEEM+eNews+2020.03.2424%2F3%2F20+4%3A44+PM&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6b23f028b5-80001cafce-148763793

Current advice is that ecological surveys can continue, “where necessary and where there is no clear risk to either the ecologists, other workers or the wider public. Under the new measures, travelling to and from work is still allowed, but only where this work absolutely cannot be done from home.”

Where ecological surveys can take place safely, they can proceed while observing all relevant current advice and restrictions including the avoidance of all face-to-face contact, handwashing, and maintaining at least 2m distance from other people at all times. The requirement to maintain a distance of at least 2m from other people means that where ecological surveys require more than 1 ecologist to be on site, they must travel in separate cars. This will result in some small increases to our costs but, as I’m sure most people will agree, this is the only way to ensure we can avoid transmission of the virus.

We would like to express our sincere thanks to all our clients for their understanding as we work together to #StaySafe #SaveLives


#StayHome #Covid-19 #Covid #Coronavirus #CoronaVirusChallenge #OpenForBusiness #KeepItLocal #WorkingFromHome #NorthernIreland #Ireland #Ecology #Ecologists #Nature #Planning #Architecture

COVID-19 Update 18 March 2020

Corona Virus

We all have people in our social circles that may be at higher risk from COVID-19. To protect ourselves, our loved ones and our clients as far as possible during these challenging times we have changed some of the ways that we work. These are all minor changes that allow us to remain #OpenForBusiness, albeit in a more virtual, digital capacity. We can continue to provide GUARANTEED surveys for our customers to the same high standards we have always provided, on time and on budget.

The main changes we have made are:

  • We will be working from home as much as possible. We are fortunate that a large proportion of our business can be conducted remotely. Many other businesses may not have that option.
  • We will be avoiding face-to-face contact as much as possible. So instead of face-to-face meetings, we will be using online video conferencing, phone calls and emails.
  • Ecological surveys can continue with appropriate safeguards in place including avoidance of face-to-face contact where possible.

Many of these changes may actually bring improvements that result in their retention even after we have beaten this virus!

Through all of this, we will continue to support our local businesses and communities. We will provide updates as more information becomes available and as guidelines and advice is updated. In the meantime, we wish everyone peace, health and happiness! #WereInThisTogether

#StaySafe #Covid-19 #CoronaVirus #HappyToHelp #KeepItLocal #CoronaVirusChallenge #WorkingFromHome #NorthernIreland #Ireland #IrelandVsCovid #Ecology #Ecologists #Nature #Planning #Architecture

Net Zero? We are carbon negative!

Climate Change word cloud

“What can we do about the climate crisis?” That’s the question we asked ourselves. And that’s the question we all have to ask ourselves

Climate change is the most rigorously tested theory in scientific history and it is beyond doubt that it is being driven by human consumption of fossil fuels. If you are one of those who still don’t believe this and that urgent and drastic action is required then I would simply urge you to search out the science for yourself.

So are we jumping on the bandwagon? Isn’t this just tokenism? What difference can we, as a small ecological consultancy, possibly make? Isn’t this just cynical marketing?

Climate change protest
There is a global surge of support for climate action

As an ecological consultancy, we care deeply about taking care of our environment, our planet, and our animals and plants.

We may be small but together our collective efforts can make the significant changes that are required if we are to avoid the worst of the impacts.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has stated that to limit climate change to 1.5°C, to avoid the very worst impacts, we will need to implement mitigation and adaption strategies to cut global greenhouse gas emissions at an unprecedented rate.

We conducted an audit of our climate change emissions and, being a small company, we found that we could easily achieve net-zero emissions immediately by offsetting our emissions through verified emission reduction schemes. We found that actually we could go one better than that and offset double our emissions!

So we’ve now not only achieved net-zero but we are carbon negative!

Obviously it would be infinitely more desirable to achieve actual zero emissions but offsetting is a close second. To help us work towards lowering our actual emissions we have developed an action plan. The aim of the plan is to maintain carbon negative status by offsetting more emissions than we produce, while also committing to achieving actual zero emissions by 2030.

Hold us to this! We will provide updates on our progress.

Together we can make the significant and rapid changes that are required. But it will require all of us, big and small, to play our part.