Our Carbon Footprint and Pathway to Carbon Neutrality
First and foremost, it’s important to understand why we decided to go carbon neutral. Climate change is one of the single greatest threats to fish and fisheries on the planet, and according to the Intergovernmental Panel in Climate Change (IPCC), the world would have to curb its carbon emissions by at least 49% of 2017 levels by the year 2030 and then achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in order to avoid catastrophic climate change effects. We love to fish and hunt and we want to protect what we love. Simple as that.
However, we want to make clear that there is no such thing as a perfectly “sustainable” product. We know and understand that every product we make and use has an environmental impact, and as humans we have an impact on our planet. We wanted to take the steps that were within our control to minimize that effect and will continue to do so. For example, we are zero waste in our operations and have begun to incorporate recycled materials, organic cotton and ethically sourced products; but, we know there is much room for improvement and we hope you will continue to follow us on our sustainability journey. That said, we are extremely proud to announce that Rep Your Water is now a carbon neutral company.
Carbon Neutral is defined by the World Resources Institute as “annual zero net anthropogenic
(human caused or influenced CO2 emissions by a certain date. By definition, carbon neutrality
means every ton of anthropogenic CO2 emitted is compensated with an equivalent amount of
CO2 removed (e.g. via carbon sequestration)….”
Our carbon footprint follows the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standard, and in an effort to provide you with a relevant, complete, consistent, transparent and accurate greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, I’m sharing the official methodology:
Operational Boundary: In order to set our operational boundaries, we must report our Scope 1 (direct emissions, such as heating) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions, such as purchased electricity) and are voluntarily reporting our Scope 3 (indirect emissions, such as travel, commuting, shipments and embodied product). For more information on Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions follow this link.
- 2019 Scope 1 emissions: 3.6 mtCO2e
- 2019 Scope 2 emissions: 9.8 mtCO2e
- 2019 Scope 3 emissions: 206.7 mtCO2e
- 2019 Carbon Footprint: 220.1 mtCO2e
Below is a summary of our 2019 carbon footprint:
- Electricity: We accounted for the GHG emissions associated with our electricity use at our headquarters/warehouse.
- Heating: We accounted for the GHG emissions associated with burning natural gas for heat at our headquarters/warehouse in Erie, CO.
- Waste Generated in Operations: We are very proud to be a Zero Waste operation at our headquarters/warehouse, but there are emissions associated with hauling our waste to the landfill and recycling center, so we accounted for those GHG emissions. Employee Commuting: We are a small company, so we took into account both Corinne and Garrison’s daily commute, and we estimated the commute of one employee’s commute due to the fact that we had a couple of employees in 2019 who didn’t work the entire year with us.
- Business Travel: We travel quite a bit regarding trade shows, photo shoots and fly fishing travel around the world. We accounted for the GHG emissions associated with business travel in 2019 for traveling to IFTD, The Fly Fishing Show, as well as traveling to Argetina and Chile to fish, which also doubled as photo shoots.
- Inbound Shipments: Our products are made all over the world, including made in USA, but also in Asia, so we accounted for the GHG emissions associated with shipping our products to our headquarters/warehouse in Erie, CO.
- Shipments to Customers: We ship a large number of packages directly to our customers and to our dealers, so we accounted for the GHG emissions associated with shipping our products to our customers.
- Product Embodied Carbon: Like all businesses who sell products, the large majority of our carbon footprint comes from manufacturing our products. From growing cotton, to manufacturing a final product, producing our shirts, hats and other apparel has an environmental impact, so we accounted for our products’ embodied carbon footprint.
That said, in following the GHG Protocol Corporate Standard, we did not include some of the recommended categories because they were deemed not applicable, which included: capital goods, upstream leased assets, and end of life of sold products.
Before we explain how we went carbon neutral, we feel it’s also important to define renewable energy credits (RECs) and carbon offsets:
Renewable Energy Credits (RECs): “A renewable energy certificate, or REC (pronounced: rěk), is a market-based instrument that represents the property rights to the environmental, social and other non-power attributes of renewable electricity generation. RECs are issued when one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity is generated and delivered to the electricity grid from a renewable energy resource.”
Carbon Offsets: “An offset project is “a specific activity or set of activities intended to reduce GHG emissions, increase the storage of carbon, or enhance GHG removals from the atmosphere.”3 The project must be deemed additional4; the resulting emissions reductions must be real, permanent, and verified; and credits (i.e, offsets) issued for verified emissions reductions must be enforceable.”
So, you are probably wondering, how did we go carbon neutral if our carbon footprint is 220.1 mtCO2e? We first started with cleaning up our own act by upgrading to LED lights at our headquarters/warehouse, in addition to some other energy efficiency projects. We also decided to go Zero Waste in our operations, which helped to reduce our carbon footprint by sending less waste (by weight) to the landfill by composting, for example. We are a small business and we lease our warehouse space, so since installing renewable energy to reduce our footprint isn’t an option, we decided to purchase renewable energy credits (RECs). Through purchasing 100% renewable electricity from a zero-emission wind farm, we were able to eliminate GHG emission associated with our electricity use.
For the remaining balance of our carbon footprint, which included our GHG emissions from heating, waste generated in operations, employee commuting, business travel, inbound shipments, shipments to customers, and product embodied carbon, we made the decision to purchase carbon offsets to achieve carbon neutrality. We decided to select carbon offset projects that were meaningful to our business purchased offsets from: Audubon Birds’ Sanctuary in South Carolina, Native Alaskans Saving Lands and May Ranch Grasslands Protection in our native Colorado through the nonprofit, Cool Effect. Below is a brief description of each project:
Audubon Birds Sanctuary in South Carolina: “Over the 100-year life of the project, this primeval swamp forest will sequester about 475,000 tonnes of CO₂ while serving as a wildlife sanctuary. It consists of 16,000 acres with approximately 1,800 acres of old-growth forest and is the world’s largest forest of virgin bald cypress and tupelo gum hardwood trees and swamp left in the world. Some trees in this 4 Holes Swamp forest are estimated to be more than 1,000 years old.”
Native Alaskans Saving Lands: “This 8,618 acre forest project located in the Southeast Alaska panhandle on the Prince of Wales Island will sequester 650,000 tonnes of emissions over the first 20 years of its 40-year life. Klawock Heenya consists of coastal rainforest of conifer, western hemlock-Sitka spruce and western redcedar-hemlock forests in Southeast Alaska.”
May Ranch Grasslands Protection in Colorado: “This project protects 14,546 acres of native grasslands across the Great Plains. Millions of tonnes of CO₂ are stored in plants and in the soil. By protecting this land from conversion to agricultural, a rich ecological habitat is maintained.”
While we are thrilled to have taken this step to better understand our carbon footprint, the real work now begins. Going forward, we will be working diligently on reducing the carbon footprint associated with the transportation of our products, as well as their embodied carbon. We will also calculate our carbon footprint, execute carbon footprint reduction strategies and purchase REC’s and carbon offsets annually to maintain our carbon neutral status and will provide all of our shareholders with updates via an Annual Sustainability Report.
We are grateful for your business and continued support and we look forward to continuously improving our social and environmental performance in order to protect what we love.