The aim of the Zero Emissions Day is to give the planet a day off from fossil fuel use and focus attention to harmful emissions. Today, the Climate Leadership Coalition member organizations are organizing climate action and campaigning with their customers, employees and other stakeholders and cooperating with schools for carbon neutrality.
Climate awareness is higher than ever. The signs of climate change are now more clearly visible and touch our everyday lives. And climate change does not stop there. Warming will accelerate and changes, such as extreme weather phenomena, will be stronger in the future. Finland is warming twice as fast as the global average, so climate change mitigation is of particular importance for us.
In addition to reducing emissions, we must also compensate emissions so that we can reach our climate targets quickly enough.
All possible actions must be taken to curb climate change. Emissions shall be thoroughly assessed and monitored. On the basis of this information, it is possible to design those measures or entities that can most efficiently cut emissions.
Even after emission reduction measures, emissions remain, which can be offset by emission reductions elsewhere. Carbon offset is extremely cost-effective and, above all, a proven and effective way to accellerate sustainable development and mitigation of climate change.
A great number of compensation projects are available for utilisation. Verified emissions reductions, such as Certified Emission Reduction (CER) generated by UN Clean Development Mechanisms and VERs, may be used for additional emission compensation.
Gold Standard-certified projects, for example, generate not only reductions in emissions but also positive effects on sustainable development. Gold Standard certifies both CER and VER units for projects that are of particular social concern. Projects are usually implemented in developing countries and in many sectors, such as energy, households, the waste sector or the transport sector.
Finland has also domestic compensation opportunities, such as restoring mires (Hiilipörssi). If compensation is to influence the amount of allowances in EU emissions trading, it is also possible to cancel emission allowances in Finland (CO2Esto).
These options offer a wide range of different ways to reduce emissions by participating in certified climate projects whose effectiveness has been checked. They help to slow down climate change, provide aid to adaptation, create jobs and improve the well-being and health of surrounding communities.
The field of carbon offset is wide-ranging, and the identification of a suitable compensation measure may seem difficult. However, one will surely be found. So, what if the review is turned around - what kind of compensation projects could support the company's brand or justify the legitimacy of its existence?
Gaia, for example, measures the greenhouse gas emissions of its activities and reports carbon footprint annually. We systematically reduce our emissions in accordance with our climate program, including by favoring public transport in business travel and minimizing international travel. The remaining emissions are compensated for by 200%.
Gaia is releasing emission reductions from reliable climate projects that promote sustainable development and clean energy and help developing countries adapt to the challenges of climate change. Compensations for 2017 were purchased through the UNFCCC Climate Neutral Now campaign. Compensation supports the purchase of energy-efficient cookers in Kenya's rural areas. Locally produced cookers reduce the amount of firewood needed and thus also greenhouse gas emissions. More efficient cookers also improve the quality of indoor air and reduce the amount of firewood collection and cooking time.
It is worth taking a closer look at the range of emissions reductions and voluntary climate projects approved by the UN. Plenty of offset tools and combinations are available for each company or organization to decide on.
When the compensatory measures have been decided, it is good to tell why this particular choice was made.
The story can be written by combining the compensation measures to the most significant societal effects of the company's activity or even individual products. It is also important to keep the brand or company-specific tone that the recipient is already familiar with, since such reporting has to appear and sound as like the company itself.
When climate effects are firmly associated with the essence of a company, its functions will become even more familiar to the consumer. Different perspectives can open up to new facets to the consumer or strengthen their commitment to its values. At the same time, it is unequivocally justifying how the company carries its responsibility for the impacts it produces and acts like a decent citizen should.
It is now high time for every company to take climate change seriously and think about their own way of reacting. Gaia has the right knowledge and expertise to tailor the best ways to prepare for climate change, whether it is measurement and reporting, design of emission reduction measures, or emission compensation.