It’s not until the scope is the whole business that you can make any claim that you’re doing your part
The principle is straight forward. There is a balanced state of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere where the risk of increasing temperature is acceptable. At this point, we’re way over that balance, and human activity keeps emitting more than the planet can absorb. But if you offset greenhouse gases emitted with actions that decrease the same amount of greenhouse gases, your greenhouse gas balance sheet is in check. If you offset more than you cause, you help some in getting closer to a balanced state. Offsetting is not a green card to carry on as before, and actual emissions have to go down. But it’s also not a letter of indulgence. It has a real effect.
We continually work to lessen our negative footprint. This affects everything from which materials to use in a shoe to which coffee we drink at the office. But we still emit C02 (which is widely viewed as the largest culprit in the ongoing climate change crisis) and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.
When we decided to offset our C02 we wanted to make sure this was done in the most efficient way possible. We found that there is an absolute jungle out there when it comes to C02 offsetting. We identified two key standards to look for in order to secure that the climate compensation met our requirements for responsible offsetting; these were CDM (Clean Development Mechanisms) from the UN and Gold Standard, which has its roots from WWF and other NGO´s. A climate-offsetting project that has a CDM and Gold Standard rating is thoroughly controlled/audited and delivers both the promised offsetting as well as co-benefits for society as a whole (varies from education to improved air quality).
We have chosen to offset our C02 through the UN initiative Climate Neutral NOW. From there we choose CDM projects, which have the Gold Standard rating as well.
We quickly identified five main categories for our C02 emissions: Manufacturing of our products, transportation from the factory, transportation to customers, office/commute and business traveling. We started with the easy stuff, which is everything except for the products. For that part, our methods of gathering data are at an OK level, and gradually getting more sophisticated. So far we have used the calculator from myclimate.org to make calculations for office emissions and staff commute (office category) and business travel. We have used ecotransit.org to calculate transportation both from the factory and to customers.
Establishing the footprint of the products is an immensely more difficult task. One single pair of shoes can consist of up to 50 different components and at least the same amount of process steps, in value chains that run 5+ steps deep. But that it’s difficult is no excuse not to do it, so as our methodology develops here we will share it transparently. But it will take a while.
For the fiscal year 2017/18 (which ended last of February) we compensated for business traveling and office emissions. We compensated for 110% of the calculated emissions or 184 tons CO2 in this project: https://offset.climateneutralnow.org/metro-group-energy-wwt-project-5098-
For 2018/19 (which ends last February) we extend the scope to and will also compensate for transportation from the factory (all products manufactured) and to customers (all products from the Swedish warehouse). We will compensate 110% of our calculated emissions and have already offset 300 tons CO2.
For 2019/20 the scope is remaining the same as for 2018/19 as we will not realistically have really reliable emission data for the production in place.
From 2020 and onwards our pledge is to having worked climate offsetting into our core business model and offset all the emissions identified from the business and add another 10% on top.
All offsetting is better than nothing. But when looking at a brand like ours, it’s not until the scope is the whole business that you can make any claim that you’re doing your part. Our best guess as of January 2019, is that probably as much as 90% of our CO2 footprint comes from our products.