GoClimate is bringing South Pole on board as a partner to create bigger climate impact

Good news –  we at GoClimate join forces with South Pole! The partnership will make it easier for us to avoid intermediaries when buying climate credits, giving us even better insight into the climate projects. The added benefit of getting access to their climate expertise and global network means we can do even more good things for the climate in the long run. This also means we get financing that allows us to better spread the word about the climate crisis and what climate actions are urgently needed to meet the Paris Agreement. And not least, it allows us to support more people and businesses to drive positive change for the climate. By joining forces with South Pole, we can accelerate the journey towards a more sustainable planet and have a much greater impact on slowing climate change, together.

Who are South Pole?

South Pole is an international leader in climate and environmental services, solutions and project development. It’s a value-driven social enterprise with a B-corp certification for some of its operations. In 2021 South Pole signed agreements to develop over sixty new carbon projects around the globe, with plans for again as many projects or more in 2022.

What happens now?

We will continue to work independently, with no changes in management, operations or company name. We have lots of ideas and thoughts that we can finally implement, watch this space!

The GoClimate team

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.

Climate Impact and Safe Drinking Water with Nazava Water Filters

Together with our amazing members, GoClimate have now offset another 9087 ton CO2eq in the Gold Standard certified project Nazava Water Filters.

According to the World Economic Forum, lack of access to safe drinking water is one of the biggest threats to humanity today. The Nazava project is a social enterprise that sells affordable ceramic water filters to low-income households in Indonesia (where the lack of clean water is a wide-spread problem) enabling access to safe drinking water. The project also leads to reduced CO2 emissions as well as a number of other benefits, both on a global and a local level.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this!

Difficulties for low-income households to get water

The positive impact safe drinking water has on public health is pretty obvious. It prevents disease and even death. The conventional methods for obtaining drinking water involve fetching, transporting and storing water and then boiling it to make it safe enough to drink. The fact that the water often needs to be transported a long way and to then be stored for a long period of time, means that the risk of it being contaminated is large, even if the water was clean at the point of fetching. Boiling is an energy intensive and time-consuming purification method, often involving burning wood or charcoal. In cases where fetching drinking water is not an option, low-income households are left to spend money on buying water, leading to an unsustainable financial situation.

The Nazava Water Filter project saves CO2 

The Nazava Water Filter project leads to a reduction in GHG emissions, as burning wood or fossil fuel for cleaning water is omitted. The project activity has the potential to give an annual average CO2 emission reduction of up to 372,774 t CO2e over a 10 year period. This yearly reduction in energy is comparable to one year’s CO2 emissions from 5 000 Swedish households.

The Filter

The technology used for this specific filter is a ceramic type that produces water of safe drinking water quality. The Nazava Water Filters remove 99.9% of bacteria as tested by WHO – a result honoring the name Nazava, which is arabic for “cleanliness”. The filters are easy to use and sold at an affordable price, making them accessible for the low-income households affected.  The filters can be used thousands of times before they need to be replaced, making this technique a highly sustainable one.

Other important benefits

The positive impact of access to safe drinking water and the great climate impact is probably pretty clear by now, but the Nazava project keeps on giving with it’s many other social and economic benefits!

Not having to carry water a long way reduces the risk of wear and tear. Not having to boil water reduces the indoor air pollution from burning wood, which is a health risk important to avoid.

The project also creates value for the local community in important ways. Buying and using the filters, low-income households saves the cost for buying wood or water, and as well as saves the labour spent on fetching and preparing the water. User surveys show that this is welcomed as a considerable advantage and the project has been well received. 

The selling and distribution is carried out by a network of informal resellers or micro-entrepreneurs, many of which are women, working under the brand name Nazava Water Filters. 

The Nazava project has a positive impact on many of the UN Sustainability Goals – numbers 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 13, and 15 (No poverty, Good Health and Wellbeing, Gender equality, Good Health and sanitation, Decent work and economic growth, Climate action and Life on land).

The Price of Carbon Offsets

The last 6 months have been busy in the voluntary carbon offset market. Demand have surged and prices have increased 3-5 fold. This happened mostly on what is called off the shelf credits – credits that are available for purchase now – but also on credits that can be contracted for future issuance.

The Background

When a certified climate project does climate impact and it can be verified, they receive one climate credit for every tonne CO2e saved from entering the atmosphere.

Certified carbon credits are then sold on a market – the voluntary carbon offset market. It being a market means that the price is determined by the buyers and sellers agreeing on a price that is beneficial for both parties.

The effect of this is that prices can vary over time, so when sellers see an increase in demand they can increase the price and vice versa.

A market has many advantages, it’s easy to scale, it’s efficient and it minimizes waste. But, it also has some disadvantages, the primary one many are feeling now is that it’s hard to predict where the prices are going in order to plan future purchases.

How much of an increase are we seeing now?

As of January 2022, we at GoClimate saw an increase of prices with 3-5 times for the type of high quality Gold Standard-certified projects we support. This has resulted in that we increased our prices to our GoClimate members from 4 EUR per tonne to 15 EUR per tonne. This is quite a dramatic increase which have lead to members scaling down the amount they offset, and business customers needing to redo their budgets.

Bear in mind that we at GoClimate are buying big volumes (50-100k) and spending lots of time sourcing the best and most efficient high quality carbon credits. Prices for smaller volumes are typically higher.

What are the consequences?

Just to be clear, this price increase is brilliant news for the climate. It will mean that:

  1. Companies and individuals are even more incentivized to lower their emissions.
  2. Climate projects get more money for doing climate impact. This leads to even more climate projects being built – and more climate impact!

This price increase happening now is exactly what we at GoClimate has strived for since the start. Finally it starts to get even more profitable to save the climate!

Why are we seeing an increase now?

It’s not possible to know the exact reasons, but clear is that demand for climate credits have increased by a lot. Our hypothisis on why this has happened is:

  1. After COP26 the interest among individuals and companies to do something about climate change increased, and offsetting – even though not the only tool – is something you can do now and that has a fairly high impact (if done in high quality climate projects) for a relatively low effort.
  2. Cryptocurrency has entered the market. KlimaDAO has purchased about 14,7 million credits in just the last few months. And that are even more crypto projects out there.
  3. Net Zero-targets have been set by many companies. SBTi definition of Net Zero mentions offsets a tool to help with climate financing even though it’s not enough to claim Net Zero (which is also GoClimates view).
  4. The general awareness of climate crisis has increased. It’s more clear to businesses and individuals that we all need to act now and that time is running out.

Feel free to add other thoughts in the comments below.

The Future

It’s impossible to predict the future of a market, but I personally don’t see anything which suggests a decrease in demand the coming 5-10 years, rather the opposite. That could be interpeted as a reasons that the price would not go down, but as in all chaotic systems this view might already be priced into the market.

On the supply side of the market, I believe it will take a couple of years for climate projects to initiated and credits being approved and issued. This means that the market will not see lots of new climate projects any time soon.

Depending on what type of offsets you are looking at there are speculation that the prices will continue to rise, maybe as much as 50x more. I feel quite confident that this is not the case of Gold Standard credits though, but an 2x increase during 2022 is of course not possible to rule out.

We are removing the buffer factor (2) in our calculator

You might be wondering why we are doing this and also why we had it in the first place?! And first and foremost – what is it?

Ok, so when you calculate your carbon footprint with GoClimate and get a result of, let’s say, 12 tonnes of CO2e per year, you have – if you signed up with our old calculator – carbon offsetted 24 tonnes of CO2e/year.

Why did we apply this buffer factor in the first place?

Well – there were several reasons for this.

First we wanted to make an as big climate impact as possible. And since carbon offsetting was so cheap we found that very few people signing up minded doubling their impact. Having all of us offsetting twice as many tonnes of emissions as our lifestyle caused, did a bigger and quicker climate impact. 

We also wanted the offsetting to cover all the small details that might have been left out of our calculator. Our goal was (and is still) to provide a tool that is incredibly easy to use, which by asking the right questions can give a good approximation of the carbon footprint. Instead of striving for a very precise answer, which would require asking for a lot of details that one might have to recall or look up but wouldn’t have a huge impact on the result, the calculator is formulated so that anyone can answer effortlessly and get a fairly accurate idea of their impact.

We also found the buffer factor a good way of hedging for risks in the climate projects we support.

So simply put, we used the buffer to compensate for miscalculations of your emissions, for risks in the projects we support and because carbon offsetting used to be relatively cheap.

Why we decided to remove it

The cost of high quality carbon credits has risen with more than 3x, and now more accurately reflects the damage caused by carbon emissions. 

Since the launch of the calculator we have also added a few more questions to it to cover more details of your footprint. 

We’re also stopping to use the term carbon neutral. We rather ask people to balance their carbon footprint out and contribute with critical climate financing.

What happens if I changed my subscription after I signed up?

Since we unfortunately have no easy way of telling whether you changed your subscription after you signed up or not, we will assume that the buffer factor has been used when you changed your subscription.

The result of us removing the factor will be that we half the amount of tonnes in your adjusted subscription. If you want to keep it, feel free to add it manually in your payment settings page.

Flight Emissions API is expanding

Our Flight Emissions API is expanding. Right now we have more than 200 users for the API that let’s you calculate the carbon emissions from any flight in the world. Thank you everyone for putting the trust in us.

Among the latest users are Figame.com Corporate travel management company, who uses the API to calculate and show the carbon footprint of all the flights in their platform and site.

Thank you again for putting the trust in us and most of all thank you for taking the CO2-emissions into account when displaying flight information.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us!

A survey on the view of the individual carbon footprint, climate action taken and GoClimate

During the summer 2021, we conducted a survey among all our members who offset their carbon footprint with GoClimate. 552 people participated, corresponding to 12% of our members at that point in time.

GoClimate members are truly active climate change fighters

25-30% of GoClimate members take climate action that goes far beyond their own lifestyle changes and climate funding contributions. In response to the question “In the last three years, have you done any of the following?”, this is the result:

30% of GoClimate members state that they have participated in climate protests, 71% have signed climate petitions, 27% have been in contact with politicians or their municipality with climate-related issues, 25% have asked their workplace or school about their climate work, 21% have contacted a store or a brand about their sustainability work and 77% has made a major lifestyle change like swapping to a more climate-friendly diet, stopped flying or switching fossil cars to electric ones or bicycles.

This is climate action taken by our members on top of their monthly contribution to important climate financing to move away from fossil based energy systems among others.

The view of one’s own climate footprint

In response to the question of how our members view their personal carbon footprint, 74% states that they are working actively to reduce their footprint. 8% say that they would like to, but don’t know how. Another 7% say that they already have a low footprint and have a hard time lowering it more. 8% say that they are not working actively with reducing their footprint. Several members state that it is difficult to change diet and travel habits completely.

The next focus of GoClimate

We gave eleven suggestions on what the GoClimate team could focus on in the future. The suggestions that got the most votes were a carbon budget tool for individuals (57%), that GoClimate increase the focus on influencing politicians and society through creating opinion, petitions and debate articles (55%), a feature that displays exactly which climate projects a member personally has supported and with how much (53%), individualized tips to help reduce a member’s footprint (48%) and the possibility to compare climate footprints from year to year (39%).

Growing the GoClimate community

The majority of the respondents found out about us via recommendations and social media. So please keep discussing the climate with friends, tell them about us and share blog posts and our infographics on Instagram.

Here you can find the results of the 2019 and 2020  member survey on carbon footprint, carbon offsetting and GoClimate.

Petitions

Supporting different causes by signing petitions can be a very powerful and easy way of creating change. We have collected active petitions in different areas of the world – browse our suggestions below and get ready to make a difference!

Europe
Bundesbank, don’t stand against climate action! (350.org)
Sign and demand the EU and EU governments withdraw from the ECT (EU) (TNI.org)
Stop big polluters from suing our governments (Wemove.eu)

Global
Raise your voice for Climate Justice – (Greenpeace International)
Support a #justrecovery (350.org)

Bring justice to the Amazon (Avaaz)

Support making Ecocide an international crime

Support the Fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty

Deutsche Bank: Drop EACOP!

Sweden

Fossilreklam, nej tack! (Greenpeace)

Våra Barns Klimat- bli ditt barns röst för klimatet!


Skydda Amazonas och säg nej till handelsavtalet med Brasilien! (Greenpeace)

Skydda svensk skog (Greenpeace)

Flygfritt 2022

Så kan du stoppa naturförstörelse från att hamna i din varukorg – och skydda vår natur – Greenpeace Sweden

UK
Say no to polluter payouts (Paid to pollute)

Tell Tesco: Stop forest destruction (Greenpeace)

UK Government: No more oil and gas (Greenpeace)

Save the wild coast! (Greenpeace)

US
Tell President Biden: Ban New Oil and Gas Permits on Public Lands and Waters – (Greenpeace)

Demand an end to human rights violations and the destruction of the Amazon rainforest (Greenpeace)

Price increase on carbon credits

As a society, we need to transition to a sustainable society as fast as possible. This is the reason for us at GoClimate spending so much time and energy sourcing the most efficient and high quality climate projects out there, on top of the focus we have on supporting behavioral and system change.

The demand, as well as the cost, for carbon credits in this level of projects have risen quite dramatically in the last 12 months, the prices have rocketed and doubled several times over. This is actually brilliant news for the climate, since it means climate projects can get more money for doing climate impact, which in turn will lead to more climate projects being built to create even more climate impact. 

It also means that it gets more expensive to not lower emissions, which encourages everyone to lower their emissions even faster. In a way, we are now starting to achieve what we have worked so hard for since the start of GoClimate. Thank you so much everyone!

But, this also forced us to increase our prices last year, and with recent developments we are now faced with another price increase.

To be able to keep supporting high quality Gold Standard-certified projects, we will be implementing a price increase bringing the total cost per tonne to 17 USD (15 euro or 150 SEK) from February 1st 2022, and removing the 2x factor buffer used in our old calculator. 

The change in price is a consequence of increased prices of climate credits, and not linked to any other expenses. You can always find out more about purchasing costs and revenue on our page 100% transparency, if you’re up for diving a bit deeper into this topic.

You do of course have the option of keeping your subscription fee exactly as it currently is, in which case it will still make a great difference in supporting the transition to a fossil free society. However, please note that this will mean that fewer tonnes are stopped from being released into the atmosphere elsewhere, and the monthly cost will no longer represent your full carbon footprint.

To opt out of the increase, please click here. Your monthly subscription will then remain the same amount until you’re ready to upgrade manually.

To keep balancing out your full carbon footprint as before, no need to do anything – just lean back and keep working on creating a better future together with us!

Lots of love,
The GoClimate team

Untangling the climate vocabulary

There are currently multiple terms floating around regarding the climate and our relation to our emissions. This can be especially complicated for companies, who want to communicate their efforts to do good for the climate, but want to avoid confusion and even being accused of greenwashing. Therefore, it is important to use the right terminology with the right intent. Let’s figure this out!

The way forward for companies include some balancing

What does carbon neutral mean?

“Carbon neutral” is something (like a product or a company) where the carbon emissions it causes are balanced, or compensated for, elsewhere. The result is that no additional CO2 reaches the atmosphere because of this product/company.

In order to call something carbon neutral, we must first measure the emissions that it causes, and make a careful documentation on this (GoClimate uses the GHG Protocol to measure the carbon footprint of companies). Then, efforts to reduce the emissions are implemented. This is obviously important because all emissions need to be drastically lowered to save the climate, but also to demonstrate commitment and integrity. Finally, the emissions that for some reason cannot be immediately abated are compensated for by offsetting (see our previous post of types of offsets). It is also important to note that all emissions throughout the life cycle and value chain should be included, not just the emissions from your own chimney.

There are two international standards which define carbon neutrality – ISO 14021 and PAS 2060.

Climate neutral is often used interchangeably with carbon neutral. Some argue that climate neutral distinguishes itself by including all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and not only carbon. However, the common practice is that non-carbon GHG emissions are converted into CO2-equivalents, to make for a fair comparison and easier overview. Therefore, carbon neutral is in practice usually also climate neutral.

Which direction should your company go in?

What does Net Zero mean?

The IPCC defines net-zero as that point when “anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removals over a specified period”. The Paris Agreement sets out the need to achieve this balance by the second half of this century.

The process for becoming Net Zero is therefore fundamentally similar to being carbon neutral – emissions need to be measured, reduced and balanced. The difference lies in the level of ambition and as a consequence, the execution. The reductions should follow a serious plan to be aligned with the Paris Agreement, which implies reducing emissions by at least 50% every decade. The offsets to compensate for the remaining emissions need to be of the type called permanent removals, which actually binds atmospheric carbon dioxide and stores it with confidence in its stability (see our previous post of types of offsets).

The requirements for what can be classified as Net Zero is an ongoing work, currently driven by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). Their comprehensive paper Foundations for Net Zero gives a solid description of the common ground, and which challenges still need to be resolved regarding this concept.

Climate positive

There is currently no common standard definition of climate positive, and sometimes the expression climate negative is even used to define the same idea. This is however built upon the concept of carbon neutral (climate neutral), and means that what it refers to (a product, usually) has been compensated for with more offsets than it actually causes. This means that the product comes with added climate benefits.

Business as usual

In this context, business as usual means to continue operations as if climate change didn’t concern you at all. We can all do better than this!

Hopefully this breakdown made these concepts clearer to you. If there are other terms you come across and would like to see included here, please leave us a comment below!