Our carbon footprint in COVID

We have just completed our carbon footprint for 2020 and have seen total carbon dioxide equivalent gases (CO²e) drop from 50.17 tonnes in 2019 to 26.91 tonnes in 2020. A drop of more than 45%.

The team grew from 8 to 11 staff members over the course of the year too. So, you kind of expect the emissions to go up, right? Wrong. Huge CO²e emissions savings were made as a result of business travel (-97%) and commuting (-92%) due to COVID-19. But the most significant drop in actual tonnage was associated with the carbon cost of meetings, eating out and entertainment, which dropped from 30.5 tCO²e to 10 tCO²e.

There were some increases in emissions, most notably in Scope 2 emissions, which includes electricity usage. Here, Don’t Cry Wolf experienced a rise from 0.62 tCO²e in 2019 to 4.47 tCO²e in 2020. This is due to employees working from home using their own energy suppliers vs working in the office where all the energy was sourced from a 100% renewable provider.

Obama Pigeon

It’s been fascinating to see the impact the pandemic has had on the carbon efficiency of our business. While the carbon emissions per full-time employee have decreased overall, it’s important to ensure that all the good steps we’ve taken to make our office as environmentally sound as possible are reflected in a more virtual setup.

I love a pie and a pint as much as the next person, but eating out, meeting with clients over lunch or those epic impromptu socialising sessions with the team accounted for nearly 60% of our emissions in 2019. I’m not about to ban fun, but, as we all rush back to happy hours, we should at least try and keep in mind that sore heads and light wallets aren’t the only byproducts of the social side of our business.

As a result of the report, we have implemented the following policies in order to keep emissions pointing in the right direction:

The team has to choose either a vegan or veggie option when dining out on the company dime.

IT purchases will be made from used or refurbished sources

A gold standard offsetting scheme will be selected to offset increased energy usage as a result of home working along with training on reducing at-home energy consumption

The full results of Don’t Cry Wolf’s carbon footprint, which was undertaken and verified by Green Element, will be published in our impact report due in March, alongside transparency reports on diversity, societal impact and wider governance. Measurement and reporting in these areas is part of our commitment to our values as a B-Corp.

For those wanting to know a few finer details, Don’t Cry Wolf’s carbon footprint was independently calculated and verified by Environmental Management Consultancy, Green Element based on data, reports and surveys completed by Don’t Cry Wolf. A carbon footprint is measured in tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) Greenhouse gases are those which have a global warming potential (GWP) The main 3 GHGs are carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. Emissions are converted into CO2e, or carbon dioxide equivalent, a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints. CO2e expresses the carbon footprint as a single number with the same global warming potential as the sum of all the different greenhouse gases measured.

Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources such as fuel, refrigeration or combustion of fuel for production.

Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased electricity, heat or steam.

Scope 3 emissions are all indirect emissions not included in scope 2 that occur in the value chain.