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Fieldfisher UK is now carbon neutral

12/05/2022

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United Kingdom

We've joined the carbon neutral bandwagon, and "bandwagon" it is…

That's right, we have teamed up with Cool Effect to offset our carbon emissions through their 'Doo Doo Does More' project in India. This Gold Standard project installs biodigesters in rural Indian homes that convert decaying matter into clean renewable biogas for cooking. What does this mean for climate change? By investing in 'Doo Doo Does More', we are supporting a technological innovation that promotes the avoidance and reduction of greenhouse gases, and ensures a healthier planet in the long-term.

The only problem is, being carbon neutral is not going to solve the climate crisis, not even partly. This is because an organisation does not need to commit to reducing carbon emissions to certify as carbon neutral. Many carbon neutral organisations are using offsetting to cover up the reality that their emissions are actually increasing. This is greenwashing.

To ensure we behave responsibly, we are putting our time, effort and resources into measuring and reducing our emissions as much as possible, and developing our net zero strategy. Offsetting our emissions to become carbon neutral will act only as an interim measure while we work to become a net zero organisation; this is our ultimate goal.

Conscious of the criticisms associated with carbon credits, the concepts of additionality and permanence were critical to our carbon offsetting decision making process.

If, like us, these are new words to you, below are some key definitions to aid in the navigation of best practice on the road to net zero.

Additionality: The reductions in emissions achieved by a project would not have happened unless the project was implemented – the reductions are 'additional to' the business as usual scenario.

Permanence: The reductions in emissions achieved by a project cannot be reversed, that is, the carbon removed cannot be reintroduced into the atmosphere.

Additionality and permanence are now integral terms in all of our conversations and our continued learning.

In 'Doo Doo Does More', Cool Effect explains that for additionality, the project could not go ahead without donations from businesses, as the costs associated with operating the technology would prevent the distribution of the biodigesters in the first place. In terms of permanence, the project destroys methane gas that would have otherwise been released into the air, which is 84 times worse for the planet than CO2 in a 20-year period.

Through supporting this project, we are also contributing to the preservation of threatened forests by reducing the need for firewood by 93-95%, and are helping improve the livelihoods of local families.

While reduction will always be the utmost priority, carbon neutrality can serve as an effective tool on the pathway to net zero for creating positive environmental change. It should be done responsibly, with integrity, and as a temporary measure to offset the carbon emissions that currently cannot be reduced.

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