Clean-burning stoves in Kenya

The GoClimate community has recently added a new project to the roster – clean-burning stoves in Kenya! Not only does this initiative contribute to cutting emissions, but it also creates a healthy environment for cooking food. Families in rural Kenya traditionally use three-stone open-fire stoves for cooking. Apart from creating harmful smoke that leads to respiratory problems, this cooking method relies on gathering wood from nearby forests, which is both time-consuming and degrades the forest over time. Yet, many Kenyan families cannot afford to purchase fuel-efficient stoves – and as fuelwood is largely collected for free, there is no incentive to either.

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A sustainable business model

This project distributes affordable, durable and energy-efficient cookstoves to families across Kenya. The cookstoves reduce the amount of fuel needed by almost 40%. As well as producing nearly 100,000 stoves per year at a site near Nairobi, the project develops local market channels and supports affiliate companies to create sustainable distribution networks of cookstoves that are adapted to local needs. Over 60% of people involved in sales, manufacturing and distribution are women, allowing the project to create opportunities in a typically male-dominated environment. Each stove has a serial number which is scanned and assigned to a customer so sales can be recorded in a transparent and continuous way.

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Increased life quality for women and children

On top of cutting emissions and reducing pressure on forests, the cookstoves significantly ease the lives of women and children who are primarily responsible for cooking and collecting fuel. In fact, the type of locally-made stove distributed by the project is ranked in a study by UC Berkeley and the University of Chicago as the best household investment in Kenya.

The Global Sustainability Goals

This project contributes to the following Global Sustainability Goals; 1 (no poverty), 3 (good health & wellbeing), 5 (gender equality), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 13 (climate action) and 15 (life on land).

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Klimatupprop!

Vår nya regering har knappt hunnit tillsättas, men visar redan tydligt hur klimat- och miljöfrågor nedprioriteras på ett alarmerande sätt – inte minst genom nedläggningen av Miljödepartementet. Vi är många som vill se fokus på klimat- och miljöfrågor för att ge Sverige en chans att ställa om innan det är för sent.

Efter initiativ som ”forskaruppropet” och ”företagaruppropet” vill vi kalla till ett ”medborgarupprop”. Om vi är många som skickar samma uppmaning till vår nya regering kan de få ministrar som faktiskt ser allvaret i situationen få stöd som möjliggör en förändring. Tillsammans kan vi göra vår röst hörd!

För att hjälpa till, skicka nedanstående text till:

[email protected] och 

[email protected]

Skriv Klimatupprop i ämnesraden och fyll i ditt namn nederst

Hej!

“Behandla klimatkrisen som den akuta och livsavgörande kris den är, och visa starkt politiskt klimatledarskap! ”

Så skriver 1944 forskare och anställda i forskarvärlden i en debattartikel i Aftonbladet riktad till Sveriges politiker i slutskedet av valkampanjen 2022.

I samma tidning kan man någon vecka senare ta del av en debattartikel på samma tema med en uppmaning från över 200 företagare, till våra politiker att skapa kraftfulla och förutsägbara klimat- och framtidsvänliga strukturer att verka i.

“Vi som skrivit under denna debattartikel vill inte vara tvåa på bollen. Vi vill fortsätta ligga i framkant. Vi vill gå före och visa resten av världen att en omställning inte bara är möjlig, utan att den också är ett recept för affärsmässig framgång. Det är här ni politiker kommer in i bilden. Vi klarar nämligen inte att gå hela vägen själva. Vi behöver både incitament och tuffare regleringar från er sida, eftersom sådana krav gör oss bättre. Vi behöver långsiktiga spelregler och tydliga mål, eftersom det ger oss trygghet när vi gör våra investeringar.”

Nu är regeringsbildningen klar och som medborgare i Sverige vill jag rikta samma uppmaningar som forskarna och företagarna till den nya regeringen och till vår nya klimat- och miljöminister Romina Pourmokhtari. Jag hoppas på ett kraftfullt klimatledarskap och på att klimatpolitiska rådets rekommendationer följs. Jag vill – precis som forskarna och företagarna – också ha tydliga, långsiktiga och skarpa regleringar för oss alla – såväl företagare som medborgare. Vi är beredda att ta konsekvenserna, men ni måste våga leda vägen!

Mvh

(Ditt namn)

The 1.5 °C goal

On an individual level, to manage the 1.5 °C goal, the global average of greenhouse gas emissions needs to come down to 2.5 tonnes by 2030 and 0.7 tonnes by 2050 (these levels can be raised slightly if new technologies which will be able remove emissions are considered). For 2023, our goal is 3.5 tonnes/per person – public consumption is excluded in these numbers, they only represent what we as individuals directly can affect in our daily lives.

Lifestyle changes

This might seem like an impossible challenge, but remember that the global average is a footprint of 3.4 tonnes CO2e – so it is a feasible goal if we embrace making some necessary changes to our lifestyle and stop seeing the planet as a never ending resource for us to use.

On average our emissions need to decrease by at least 7% every year. However, the amount of emissions per individual varies depending on several factors – from socio-economical to geographical ones. For some, thinking about reducing emissions is not feasible. It is primarily the Global North having a greater historical responsibility and as we are facing a global challenge we need all hands on deck. For those of us who have the privilege of growing up in wealthy countries and safe communities, we might want to consider doing more – to allow for those who cannot act immediately some time to catch up and reach the same level of comfort and security as we might already benefit from. Read more about Climate justice here.

Why is it crucial to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5°C?

We have already reached a global warming of +1.2°C which means we don’t have much time left before we get to +1.5°C. Pledges have been made but not yet implemented. If put in use, they will at best keep temperatures to a +2.6°C rise – which is likely to still be devastating to the planet.

As well as being crucial for people and ecosystems that we stay below +1.5C global warming, it is also key in order to create a more sustainable and equitable society as a whole.

Yearly, 15-20 million people are forced to abandon their homes due to natural disasters caused by climate change. With every rise in temperature, the number of people forced to escape goes up – while keeping the 1.5°C goal would keep more people safe.

GoClimate has developed a carbon footprint calculator as a first step in understanding the true carbon footprint of an individual. Find out your personal carbon emission levels at go climate.com

 References: Aalto University, IGES, Ivanova 2015, Stockholm Resilience Centre. 

Bhadla Solar Power Project

Sometimes we depend on external systems to live a friendlier climate life. Some help us make better choices, and others limit our pool of options, like the source of the daily electricity we consume. In some countries, choosing our source of electricity is possible; in others, not at all. Still, we use electricity for almost everything we do. Thus, ensuring that the default source of electricity in countries’ power grids is renewables is a critical structural change.

At GoClimate, we are supporting a Gold Standard project in Rajasthan, India, that does just that. This project replaces the use of fossil fuels to provide clean, renewable energy for the Indian grid from its intense, famously strong sun.

As a result, 779,000 tonnes of CO2 are prevented from going into the atmosphere yearly, equivalent to the total yearly emissions of 34 348 US citizens or 260 534 Vietnamese citizens. At the same time, it has contributed to the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

The Context

India is the world’s third-largest energy-consuming country thanks to rising incomes and improving living standards. Energy use has doubled since 2000. However, 80% of its demand is still being met by coal, oil, and solid biomass. India’s government hopes to change this and aims to quadruple renewable electricity capacity by 2030.

The Project

This project is installing a large solar farm to harness the sun’s blistering rays and turn them into renewable electricity. By sending the electricity to the regional grid, it displaces fossil fuel-based power and avoids the associated harmful greenhouse gases. Thanks to this project 180,000+ average Indian households can be powered by renewable energy for a year!

Prony Wind Power project

CO2 emissions from the power sector need to decrease by at least 60% by 2030. With a large variety of technologies available, from biomass to solar energy, renewable projects play a key role in accelerating the low-carbon economy by replacing fossil fuels from the energy mix. The GoClimate community is now supporting Gold Standard certified Prony Wind Power project in New Caledonia, situated in the South Pacific.

Generating sustainable energy from wind 

Islands of the Pacific Ocean, like New Caledonia, face serious environmental and socioeconomic pressures that are excelled by climate change. Pacific Island nations are already severely affected by extreme weather, and their inhabitants are amongst the world’s most vulnerable communities to the growing effects of climate change. Yet in New Caledonia, 80% of energy demands are still met by fossil fuel power plants. New Caledonian authorities have however set ambitious targets – aiming to have 100% of publicly distributed energy originating from renewable sources by 2025.

The Solution


Prony Wind Power includes a total of six wind farms located at two different sites on the island, supplying electricity to the local grid. The Kafeate and Prony sites consist of 116 wind turbines with a total capacity of 31 MW, with an estimated yearly production of 40 GWh of emissions-free, renewable electricity.

The Impact

Prony Wind Power is helping to drive the clean energy transition in regions where there are no previous resources to do so. The project has also boosted local economies by creating job opportunities, while also spreading technological know-how and awareness of climate issues across the island. Prony’s success is a tribute to the viability and value of sustainable development in small island nations, promoting climate action, and ultimately increasing climate resilience in the Pacific Island region.

The following SDG’s are supported:

https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/

So far, the GoClimate community has avoided 23 871 ton of CO2 emissions through this specific project!

Climate smart office! 

Moving to a new office is exciting – and by setting the right requirements from the start, it is a great opportunity to reduce your carbon footprint in both the short and long term. This is why we have put together some tips on what is good to have in mind in order to create the right conditions.

Choosing the space

There are various standards for a sustainable building, both international ones but also ones that can vary from country to country. Some to keep an eye out for are the following:

LEED standard – Leadership in Energy and Environment Design

WELL certified – focusing on employee well-being

Another thing to keep in mind is that you want to be close to public transport links if possible, so that employees and visitors can get there in an environmentally friendly way. Another thing to consider where relevant, is to offer safe bike storage for employees opting for biking to work.

Electricity

To think about:

Choose green electricity 

Heating – what is the energy source?

Other factors you may be able to influence are insulation, energy use and LED lights.

Ask the landlord about this at an early stage when you are considering options and make it clear that it is an important criteria – allowing you to negotiate good terms from the start. Electricity use, heating and cooling systems are usually quoted per sqm in the contract, so it is easy to compare if you are looking at several options of premises.

Regarding lighting, you may want to consider whether it is possible to have motion sensors so that the lights are automatically turned off when the office is empty. Or, alternatively, the option to turn off/on centrally at certain hours of the day in all or part of the premises.

You could also look at the possibility of installing your own solar panels on the roof. If you are located in a part of the world where electricity is expensive or particularly “dirty” (if you are Germany based, for example, energy is likely to be coal-fired) this may be particularly relevant. 

Purchasing and choosing IT and electronics

For companies where efficient technology is key, it is important to find good strategies to reduce emissions related to this. There is much to be gained by planning ahead to make good purchases, so that a new purchase does not result in older equipment being obsolete when matched with the new equipment. See our blog post on ‘Planned Obsolescence’ to see what you can do to avoid the pitfalls.

Servers

We’ve written a blog post on the carbon footprint of servers before, which provides good guidance. The quick answer is that the most energy efficient are cloud servers that use green energy. What are your options? Spending a bit of time on doing your research here could make a big difference.

Purchasing electronics

If there is a lot of new equipment to be purchased, make sure you have reasonable contracts with suppliers for service. How long is the warranty? How long is the expected lifespan?

The product description will often state how long a product’s lifetime is, which is an indication for you when it comes to setting standards for upgrades. Dell and Apple laptops have an estimated lifespan of four years, and monitors are estimated at 6 years, but that’s probably on the low side.

An important question is, how long will the product live up to your technical standards? Longevity is often determined by our sense of trend[1]. Apple phones are used a year longer than Samsung despite being technically equivalent (54.5 months vs. 67 months). A product replacement policy should be based on an understanding of this.

Emission benchmarks:

Iphone 11 128GB – 77 kg CO2e

MacBook Pro 15-inch – 334 kg CO2e

Dell desktop computer – 500-600 kg CO2e

Dell monitor – 500-800 kg CO2e

Logitech mouse – just under 3 kg CO2e

In general, Fairphone ranks highest in terms of environmental standards, followed by Apple, then HP and Dell[2]. Logitech also has an ambitious sustainability policy.

Furniture

The footprint of an average office chair is 76 kg CO2e (Antov & Pancheva 2017), about the same as a smartphone. Furniture averages 20-80 kg CO2e per product, with sofas and office chairs having the largest footprint. Of the materials used, steel and foam plastics have the biggest impact. From a broader sustainability perspective, there is much to be gained from investing in sustainable furniture, as good quality extends its lifespan and the furnishings do not need to be replaced.

When choosing an interior design agency, there are options specializing in reuse – research to find your best local options!

Here are some suggestions for companies selling recycled office furniture: 

https://allforsale.se/en/ – Swedish company selling throughout Europe, larger quantities available

https://recycledbusinessfurniture.co.uk/ – UK 

https://www.sustainableofficefurniture.com.au/ – Australia

If you choose to buy new, choose products from companies that make a commitment to the environment, and choose those with a low carbon footprint. 

If you have end-of-life furniture that you want to replace, many companies offer to collect the furniture to ensure that it is recycled properly. Also, see if you can donate or sell furniture that is no longer of use to you.

Refurbishment

When refurbishing, it is important to consider that different materials have varying carbon footprints, with concrete often coming up as a high carbon footprint option. Wood is generally a good material from a sustainability perspective, but there are an incredible number of aspects to consider here. Improving insulation, for example, can be a good investment from a climate perspective, but it depends on many small choices that the person you hire for remodeling should know more about.

Other

Plants soak up carbon dioxide and look good. Whether they actually improve indoor air quality is a matter of debate, but they do contribute a sense of well-being that is overall beneficial.

Add any additional tips you would like us to include, in the comments section!

Climate policy


A climate policy helps employees within a company or organisation to keep the climate in mind when it comes to both big and small decisions, such as travel bookings or catering orders. Here are some examples of what can be included in a climate policy.

Food
We serve vegetarian or vegan food as a standard. Meat is available as an add on. We reduce our food waste by informing employees that there is food left over for them to take home.

Travel
We prioritise digital meetings and train travel. We do not fly domestically. Locally, we travel fossil-free.

Suppliers
We choose suppliers with their own climate and environmental policies in place.

IT equipment
We use IT equipment such as computers and mobile phones as long as they are in working order. They are replaced only when necessary. We give new employees the opportunity to choose second-hand equipment.

Purchasing
We prioritise buying second-hand office furniture, fittings, kitchen equipment, etc.

Couriers and transport
We work with fossil-free couriers.

Pensions
We encourage and facilitate our employees to choose pension suppliers that help rather than hinder climate action.

Giveaways
We do not use giveaways to avoid unnecessary consumtion.

We spread the word
We talk to our customers and suppliers about our climate-friendly choices, spreading the word.

Why should we care about the new climate science report that has gone out?

A new report titled “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability” from the IPCC was published this Monday, 28th Feb 2022. But why should we care about it? And what does it mean to us?

Let’s start by learning what the IPCC is

IPCC stands for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is an independent body of the UN that provides policymakers and the world with science around climate change and how it affects us. The panel reviews research of multiple scientists around the world assesses it, condenses it, and publishes it for people to understand where we are, what we are doing and what we need to do.

So, what does the report say? and why should I care?

The report hits closer and harder than other reports. It speaks about how people’s lives and the natural world can continue to be affected by a changing climate in different parts of the world and how we can respond to those impacts. It lets us know that we need to continue mobilizing, we need to work together, we need to cut emissions boldly and fast, and we need to adapt appropriately. One thing is left clear, we are experiencing climate change impacts today, the whole world will continue to feel them, and billions will feel them harder than others. And, how much and how fast we reduce emissions will determine how heavily we will be hit; “every small increase in warming will result in increased risks.” said the IPCC co-chair.[1]

The report tells us what lies ahead if we continue as we are. We will face significant human losses, economic disruptance, loss of biodiversity, and more. It invites us to create a climate-resilient development where we reduce climate risks, reduce greenhouse emissions, enhance biodiversity and achieve the sustainable development goals.

Is there anything for me to do?

As a business:

  • Learn about your climate impact.

Understand the number of emissions you are responsible for and which ones will be more effective to reduce. Later, plan how to reduce them, set a reduction target, and work to become NetZero.

  • Support projects that avoid the emission of greenhouse gases

Support others working to prevent emissions from going to the atmosphere through financial support. This will help reduce the amount of GHG in the atmosphere. You can also support projects that remove them from the atmosphere.

  • Engage your supply chain

Help create a snowball of action by inspiring your suppliers to reduce their emissions.

  • Engage with the local governments your offices are located in

Different local governments are taking action and need business allies to implement their ideas. Learn about what your local government is doing and engage with them

As an individual:

  • Learn how you can reduce your emissions

Read some of our climate tips and get inspiration

  • Learn about climate justice

Climate change will not affect everyone in the world equally. Instead, already socially vulnerable communities will be the ones more affected. So we should work for a better future for everyone, not just a few.

  • Vote sustainably and hold your politicians accountable

As the ‘managers’ of our society, governments have a big role to play. Whoever is in the driving seat can make a big difference in how fast and well we adapt and reduce emissions. Think about this when deciding who to vote for and hold them accountable when in office. read more

Remarks from the report

  • Climate change affects people unequally. It will significantly affect Central and South America, parts of Africa, South Asia, the Artic, and Small Islands.
  • There is a small window for us to act; we must not miss it.
  • There is a tipping point for ecosystems and social systems from which we will not return if we reach them. If reached, it is possible we won’t be able to adapt.
  • We should prioritize adaptation. Finance has to be prioritized for it.
  • Maladaptation is a thing. We have implemented measures that falsely reduce risks and that emit greenhouse gases.
  • Improving social infrastructures such as health systems is part of adapting to climate change
  • Nature is our friend (it has always been, but let’s really take it in). Nature is key to adaptation and an essential component for keeping emissions in the ground.

[1] IPCC Press Conference – Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability – YouTube

AR6 Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability — IPCC

The Carbon Footprint of Clothes

The fashion industry is a cornerstone of our society, with new trends and styles coming into our closets every year. But what are the long-term impacts of our shopping sprees and wardrobe updates?

The clothing industry is a major contributor to climate change and pollution, particularly in the fast-fashion sector. The global fashion industry releases an estimated 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually, a number that is expected to increase as our consumption of ready-made clothes increases.

The environmental impacts of clothes are rooted in every step of the industry, from production to wear to disposal. But can our t-shirts really affect the planet to such a great extent? Let’s take a look!

The Carbon Footprint of Our Clothes

When considering our carbon footprints, many of us overlook the impacts that our clothes have. Our small purchases add up quickly though, and with the global fashion industry reaching a value of $2.5 trillion, our clothes have an enormous impact!

The majority of fast-fashion is produced in developing nations, in factories that are severely under-regulated in their environmental impacts, and that are often coal-powered. Moreover, approximately 49% of fast-fashion is produced with synthetic material like polyester and spandex, which come from oils and fossil fuels.

Even clothes that are made of natural material (wool, cotton, etc.) have major carbon footprints. Cotton production alone uses 3.3 million acres of land and 16 billion cubic meters of water every year. The land used for material production is also a major contributor to global deforestation, with large swaths of rainforests cleared to make room for leather, cotton, and wool production.

Pollution

Along with the severe impacts on climate change, the clothing industry also plays a key role in global pollution. With such a significant portion of our wardrobes made from synthetic material, our clothes have a major impact on the global plastic crisis.

At first glance, the plastic in our clothing may not seem like a major issue, but studies suggest that 35% of all microplastics in the world originate from our clothes. These microplastics break down and enter waterways when we wash our clothes, and fill the oceans with irreversible plastic pollution. This plastic even enters our food!

In addition to plastic pollution, our clothes make up a significant portion of landfill waste. Only about 10% of our clothes are fully recycled, leaving the rest to fill up landfills and break down into microplastic pollution. Our unwanted clothes become harmful chemicals that enter our water and atmosphere, and further contribute to climate change.

How Can We Reduce Our Impact?

Clothing is obviously an essential part of our daily lives, so how do we reduce the environmental impacts of our wardrobe?

A key part of reducing our carbon footprint is an awareness of our consumption practices. Using tools like the Fashion Footprint Calculator can help us keep track of our personal impacts and help us stay up-to-date on sustainability practices, including:

– Identifying sustainable brands
– Avoiding excessively washing our clothes
– Best practices of clothing disposal

One of the best ways we can reduce our impact is by avoiding the unsustainable fast-fashion that makes up so much of the clothing industry, and instead opting for second-hand or sustainably-made clothes. When shopping second-hand isn’t an option, investing in good-quality clothes that don’t easily break down or need replacement can also significantly reduce our overall impact.

Look out for brands that are making moves in the right direction. For example, companies looking to improve their footprints can utilize quality testing to ensure long lasting, sustainable practices. These quality controls help reduce fabric and textile waste, and assure good-quality materials in every step of production.

By staying aware of our fashion’s footprint, we can keep our clothing choices sustainable and green.