What are carbon emissions?
Carbon is everywhere – in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the clothes we wear – literally everywhere. However, carbon in its element form is not necessarily bad. Nature has tried to maintain a balance between the various gases present in the environment, carbon being one of them too. Humans don’t play by the same rules as nature; our constant need for consumption drives how we make and use our resources. Simply put, when we produce, we release excess carbon into the atmosphere. Carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions generated by individuals and organizations to produce services and products. These gases trap heat in the atmosphere for many, many years, making earth warmer and thus contributing to climate change. According to EPA, CO2 accounted for about 80 percent of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in 2019. The fashion industry alone produces almost 10 percent of global carbon emissions. Current predictions estimate the industry’s emissions could increase by 60% by 2030 if measures are not taken right now (Mckinsey - Fashion on Climate). This explains the urgency to manage carbon footprint and stop the environmental disaster.
What does offsetting mean and why do we need it?
In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report concluding that to limit global warming to the 1.5 degrees Celsius set by the Paris Agreement, the world needs to stop emitting carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases, by 2050. Some sectors, such as electricity, are rapidly decarbonizing through the move to renewables, but others, like aviation, will find it more difficult. To get to “net zero,” or “carbon neutrality,” CO2 will need to be taken out of the atmosphere to compensate. Energy efficiency and conservation, switching to cleaner fuels, changing consumption and production patterns can definitely improve our state. But for anyone doing business, there comes a point where you’ve done it all but are still leaving some sort of footprint. Offsetting can play a valuable role in this bid. Carbon offsetting is defined as a concept that neutralizes the same amount of carbon emissions you release into the atmosphere. An organization calculates its footprints from various activities and invests in initiatives like regenerative agriculture, renewable energy development and other green projects to offset their own emissions. One can even buy carbon credits to mitigate emissions as part of a larger project than just reductions of their own. One common example is the option to offset your flight by paying a bit more on your plane tickets. So, you still take the flight but counter its emissions through green projects in other parts of the world. Carbon offsetting holds significant potential towards greener economies only when done right. We need to ensure that offsetting does not divert us from transitioning to better life-cycle methods in the first place. This means it cannot be substituted in places where we can prevent emissions originally. It should be only implemented where processes cannot be controlled or altered. As compliance measures increase, offsetting will become a prerequisite to ensure carbon neutrality.
We have always focused our efforts on functioning as a low-carbon business. It motivates us to push ourselves, always look for better and more efficient solutions and partner with like-minded brands. From the biodegradable seed papers we use for our labels to the biodegradable and compostable packaging, we are committed to walking the walk and to putting it into actionable insights. We are moving one step further in our mission as we are partnering with a plantation organization in India to offset our emissions from logistics. This union supports the collective goal of giving back to the planet.
We introduce you to Grey to Green
Grey to Green is a non-profit organization that aims on making the planet greener, one tree at a time. The company’s mission is to restore the green cover in and around Delhi, one of the most polluted cities in the world and provide clean air to the people. We recently had a chat with Rahul Gupta, the founder of Grey to Green, to gain more insights into the mission and motivation behind this venture. "I was tired of the increasing pollution in India and its effects on human health. I wanted people to realize our ecosystem was failing. So I started wondering what could be done to save the environment" A simple thought planted the seed to change the narrative when he decided to start a not-for-profit organization for planting trees. Consequently, a small team of budding professionals fabricated a user-friendly platform which enables users to adopt as many trees as they think fit. Rahul explains, “At Grey to Green, we have created a portal where we allow anyone to plant a tree in a very simple way. You make a small donation, smaller than your next large Coca Cola, we procure a sapling for you and then plant it on your behalf. Not only that, we make sure that your sapling is looked after. In case you wish to track its growth, we provide you with a unique tracking id so that you can track or visit your tree whenever you want. “
Tree planting is one of the biggest carbon-offsetting tools used today. It can provide increased habitat for wildlife, improve biodiversity and restore deforested areas. Yet, fundamental misunderstandings about carbon capture by land ecosystems can have devastating consequences, resulting in losses of biodiversity and an increase in CO₂ concentrations and we know planting a tree is a long term investment that may not make a difference for years to come.
To avoid environmental damage, we must refrain from establishing forests where they naturally don’t belong, avoid “perverse incentives” to cut down existing forest in order to plant new trees, and consider how seedlings planted today might fare over the next several decades. Grey to Green plants these baby greens in protected parks and reserved forests of the capital city to ensure proper growth and ecosystem development. Professional planters carry out the task to ensure survival and maintenance of every sapling. The idea is simple, to give people access to a healthier environment with just one click.
Our objective is to calculate the amount of carbon produced from shipping on each order and through our partnership with Grey to Green, accordingly adopt trees to negate its effects. Our inspiration was to promote clean air where it is needed most. As a result, Grey to Green will be planting trees in Delhi for every order we ship from Tribute. To further this commitment, we will be issuing certificates with tracking IDs for the trees planted with each receipt. Through this collaboration, we are not only getting closer to carbon neutrality but also supporting a project that benefits communities in India.
Tribute has stepped onto the responsible wagon to protect Mother Earth and we are taking you with us. Transparency is crucial for us, we always thrive to be open and honest. We will continue to update you on the different projects we undertake as a responsible business. Stay tuned and follow us @thisistribute to learn more about our ever growing community. And don’t forget to check out @greytogreen.in to experience all the incredible work they are doing. Words by Arpita Bansal