What is a Carbon Footprint?
In our everyday lives, each choice we make leads to the release of carbon into our atmosphere. Right from the food we buy and the electricity we use, to the modes of transport we take and our disposal of waste, we create a carbon output that has an impact on the environment around us. This carbon output is known as our carbon footprint. The dictionary defines a Carbon Footprint as “the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of the activities of a particular individual, organisation or company.”
Why do we want a smaller Carbon Footprint?
Large carbon footprints use a greater amount of natural resources which in turn release more carbon emissions into our atmosphere. When these carbon emissions become trapped in our atmosphere, they cause changes to our climate which are having increasingly negative, adverse effects. Amongst these changes are the melting of our ice caps, the rising of our sea levels and the destruction to much of our wildlife’s natural habitats.
To create a greener, more sustainable future we must therefore work to reduce the amount of natural resources we use and so also reduce the amount of carbon released into the atmosphere. For our future generations to benefit from the planet we share, we must collectively work to minimise our carbon footprint.
How can we find out what our Carbon Footprint is?
Understanding exactly what our Carbon Footprint is therefore becomes our first step to altering it. By gaining an awareness of the amount of carbon we cause to be released into the atmosphere, and how, we can target the aspects of our daily lives that need changing.
WWF have created a simple calculator that will help any individual determine their daily carbon output. The calculator gives a rough estimation of how this footprint compares with the government guidelines and subsequently reveals areas of change for consideration.
Whilst no one individual would be able to halt climate change on their own, if many were to note these areas and implement small adjustments, the results would be substantial.
Simple choices such as opting for a more vegetarian diet, cycling instead of taking the car or purchasing local produce that has not been transported so far will all have an impact on the size of a carbon footprint. These small changes are largely achievable in many areas of our daily lives and could contribute to significant change.
A Carbon Footprint Audit is another way of pinpointing daily carbon emissions and for understanding where change is required. These audits can reveal the contributory causes of carbon dioxide emissions and offer advice on the key areas which impact it, be it overall energy usage, fuel consumption, travel expenses or the disposal of waste. In light of this, an audit is a particularly useful way for an organisation or company to note changes and in turn become ‘greener’.
What does Carbon offsetting mean?
If releasing carbon into our atmosphere is bad and, for the time being, largely unavoidable in many aspects of our lives, then our aim should at least be to offset the amount released.
Offsetting effectively means to ‘balance out’ or neutralise, and so the goal of carbon offsetting becomes the goal of becoming ‘carbon neutral’.
To achieve this, many organisations develop more sustainable processes and products, or support environmental projects that are involved with carbon offset schemes. If the mechanisms aren’t yet in place for a company to become carbon neutral internally, then by partnering with carbon offset schemes their contribution at least helps balance out the emissions they create.
You will likely find more information regarding this on a company or organisation’s Carbon Footprint Policy Statement. Here they might highlight the organisations they have chosen to partner with or the commitments they have promised to fulfil.
What does it mean to be sustainable at NEO Cremations?
Sustainability is at the root of NEO Cremation’s objectives.
As a company, one of our founding premises was to help transform the funeral industry into a greener, more environmentally progressive system. We recognise that our environment needs revitalising and we are committed to helping achieve this for future generations.
Our promise to pursue climate action is actualised in three ways: by running a carbon neutral organisation, by tree planting and by carrying out due diligence on our own sustainability and that of other environmentally friendly operators that we partner with in the UK.
How is NEO Cremations carbon neutral?
To remain carbon neutral, NEO Cremations first runs and receives a carbon emission footprint report. These reports are vital for us to measure our total carbon emissions so that we can then create appropriate carbon offset schemes.
We are currently partnered with Climate Neutral Now, a UN initiative which encourages society to measure, reduce and offset their emissions with achievable daily changes, as well as the Association of Green Funeral Directors, a non-profit organisation that promotes natural funerals and aims to make them more mainstream, to help track our carbon emission footprint.
We run this report twice annually, regularly keeping up to date with the progress of our carbon offsetting so that we can update our schemes as is fit. We then offset our carbon emissions with the help of our tree planting charity partners. With their help, we achieve a 200% minimum carbon offset for every cremation that takes place.
We are partnered with Trees for Life for our tree planting, a superb initiative working to rewild the Scottish Highlands. Our common goal is to plant 1 million trees with the targeted aim of making us net-earth-positive by 2025.
In addition, we are undergoing a certification process for B Corp whereby we are required to calculate and report the amount of CO2 that is emitted from our operations.
Through this and other means, we pledge to make NEO Cremations a carbon neutral organisation. We pledge to remain sustainable, to source and partner with the best green suppliers in our industry and to offset out carbon emissions with greener transportation, eco-friendly materials and continued research.
For after all, “we do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children”.