ADVICE: How to Build a Carbon Neutral Workforce

A guest post by Joanna Auburn co founder of Trace

There is an increasing urgent pressure looming over us to act and do more for the environment. The problem is, as individuals, we don’t know what to do. This state of flux drives anxiety and ultimately in-action.

Your carbon footprint

This is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of your activities. Everything we do adds to our footprint, we can reduce it significantly by consciously thinking about our lifestyle choices. Understanding how your carbon footprint is made up is the first step, this quick quiz will help you do just that.

What is carbon offsetting and how does it work?

A carbon offset (or carbon credit) is generated from an activity that prevents, reduces or removes greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere. When you offset this means that for every tonne of CO2 emitted, one carbon credit is purchased. What people don’t often know is that the carbon credit funds meaningful and impactful social projects, helping to support sustainable development and improve the lives of communities in some of the poorest countries in the world.

Navigating the world of offsets

This can be difficult, just like in any industry there are scams out there but one thing you can do to ensure you are truly funding measurably impactful projects is look for the Gold Standard stamp of approval.

Verified climate projects deliver measurable benefits aligned to the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Like the Myamyn Lowland Forest Conservation project that protects the natural habitat of Australia’s vulnerable wildlife, or Safe Community Water Supply which helps increase access to safe water sources for communities in Rwanda.

Why should my business have a carbon neutral workforce?

For people and the planet

Going carbon neutral can deliver a range of social and economic benefits but at the root it is an environmental gesture. In 2018, scientists upped the ante on climate action and defined a very small window in which to act to prevent the most catastrophic impacts of climate change,  stating that to protect the planet and sustain our livelihoods, we need to reach net-zero global emissions by 2050. Even with the most determined efforts to cut emissions at the source, businesses are still falling short of their net-zero goals. If you want to achieve climate neutrality, offsetting the carbon emissions you can’t reduce is currently the only way to do that.

And the added social development aspect means that your dollar could be supporting a tree planting project that provides an income to families, or go towards a renewable energy project helping to build vital infrastructure in a developing country – wins all around!

Employee engagement

Our research shows that one of the biggest challenges businesses face is making sure your employees feel engaged and connected to your efforts. Climate change is actually the top concern for Millennials and Gen Z and so we believe that companies that strive to protect the environment and clearly demonstrate this purpose to their employees will outperform those that don’t. By offsetting your workforce every member of staff will feel connected to the impact the company is making.

Drive change

Businesses are facing a plethora of their own challenges, however the experience of many of the world’s leading companies (including Amazon, Microsoft and Adidas) is that tackling climate change helps to improve efficiency, retains investors, and positively impacts reputation as a business and an employer. Sustainable business is a journey and not something that will be solved overnight. Whilst you are understanding your footprint as a business & setting targets you can offset your workforce so that your impact starts immediately.

About the expert

Joanna is the co founder and CPO of trace, she is an experienced product manager with a passion for sustainability and customer experience.  She has recently taken the leap to full time entrepreneurship after a career across a range of industries including renewable energy and fintech.

Image description: A photo of Joanna standing in a park in a bright red and blue jacket over a black blouse with her arms by her side, smiling at the camera.


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