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!