Carbon Neutral Explained
At Cannings, we've been offsetting our carbon emissions since 2012, so if you're a long time customer of ours you might already know that we're carbon neutral. But what does being carbon neutral actually mean?
We offset our unavoidable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through our partnership with Carbon Neutral - in their own words "a carbon offset is generated by an activity that either prevents the release of, reduces, or removes GHG emissions from the atmosphere." So, to put it simply, we plant enough trees through this partnership to cancel out the unavoidable greenhouse gases emitted in the course of doing business each year. Since 2012 we have sequestered 2,856 tonnes of carbon emissions through native tree planting programs - how awesome is that!
Carbon Neutral's carbon offsets work by sequestering carbon out of the air and storing it in the trunks and roots of our biodiverse plantings. Because of Carbon Neutral's biodiverse mixed native species plantings, their offset projects rehabilitate degraded land and help re-establish local fauna and flora. This helps repair salt affected land, reduce water and wind erosion, and creates habitat for endangered species and rare flora. YAY!!
How does carbon offsetting work?
There are a few steps to the carbon offsetting process - the first of which is to measure your carbon footprint. This is calculated by looking at things like energy usage, freight, company fleet, etc. The next step is to reduce where possible. For us this looks like: using renewable energy to power our stores, choosing eco-friendly options for our office supplies, and recycling as much as possible, to name a few.
The final step is to offset the amount of carbon you've produced by buying carbon credits. These carbon credits cover the cost of activities that either prevent the release of, reduce, or remove GHG emissions from the atmosphere - for example, tree planting!
Designed either to remove carbon from the air or prevent it from being emitted, our own carbon offsets primarily work by sequestering carbon out of the air and storing it in the trunks and roots of our biodiverse plantings in partnership with Carbon Neutral. Because of our preference for biodiverse plantings, we also like to rehabilitate degraded land and help re-establish local fauna and flora. On top of this, our carbon offsets also go towards projects that prevent deforestation and enrich their communities such as Rimba Raya, a project that is safeguarding over 65,000 hectares of tropical peat forest that’s home to many endangered species, including the orangutan, whilst creating sustainable social and health benefits for the local community.
We just couldn't phrase this better than Carbon Neutral themselves who say "Trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and release oxygen. They clean the air we breathe, filter the water we drink and provide habitat to over 80% of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
Additionally, forests provide jobs to over 1.6 billion people, and are the source of key ingredients in one quarter of all medicines. They capture and slow down water in places that are at risk of floods. A single tree can be home to hundreds of species of insect, fungi, moss, mammals, and plants. All the benefits of planting trees and reforesting are too numerous to list!"
Carbon Neutral plant over 60 species of native trees and shrubs, such as Eucalypts (some of which are drought tolerant) and woody-stemmed Acacias. Their planting choices have a strong focus on biodiversity - a great bonus of this is that biodiverse plantings are more resilient to fire. Plantings are also protected by fire insurance as well as fire protection measures such as firebreaks and geographic separation.
The planting sites are legally protected by a 100 year Carbon Right and Carbon Covenant which is registered on the land title. This means landowners (present and future) must not damage or remove trees for 100 years. (This also complies with the Kyoto Protocol.)
How is carbon measured in trees?
From Carbon Neutral: "Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store the carbon in their leaves, branches, stems, bark and roots. Approximately half the dry weight of a tree’s biomass is carbon. One tonne of C = 3.67 tonnes of ‘carbon dioxide equivalent’ (CO2-e)
We measure woody biomass (stems, leaves and roots). On-ground measurement of carbon is based on detailed growth models using species specific allometric equations to reflect the amount of carbon stored in the forest. These measurements and sampling techniques are approved by the international Gold Standard Foundation. Carbon Neutral is also a contributor under CSIRO’s project “CFI Methodology and Tool Development – Estimation of change in biomass carbon in complex woody systems”."
So there you have it! We hope we've cleared up some of the mystery around the carbon offsetting process. If you'd like to learn more, check out Carbon Neutral's website here.