Projects Contributing to Reduced Emissions

This is part three of our article series about how we consider the climate projects we support. This part is about the projects that contribute to reduced emissions and covers the projects that GoClimate primarily supports today. 

This category includes, for example, energy-efficient stoves that reduce the need for wood and thus deforestation. There are also projects in renewable energy that reduce the need for coal power plants and those that handle harmful methane gas by converting it into electricity, replacing fossil energy sources. More examples of these climate projects are available here.

2.1 Why We Support This Type of Project

There is scientific consensus that it is urgent to reduce the world’s emissions. Therefore, it is reasonable that at the present time, when there is so much left to do, the focus should simply be on supporting projects that reduce the world’s emissions.

2.1.1 The Technology is Already Here

To reduce emissions, both capital and technology dissemination are required. The necessary technology to cope with climate change already exists to a large extent, but it needs to be spread, financed, and implemented. The type of climate financing that we, our members, and customers contribute to plays a big role here; this is exactly what is needed to speed up the transition. But it’s not just a question of investing money, the projects must be effective and well thought out too.

2.2 Challenges with These Types of Projects

The climate benefit of the projects is often calculated based on hypothetical scenarios, which can be problematic. Changed subsidies, norms, and knowledge levels can affect the projects over time. Some projects may no longer need support due to technical development and price reductions in renewable energy. However, the role of climate financing is crucial. It has historically contributed to economies of scale and price reductions, meaning that some projects no longer need the same support. To manage these dynamic factors, one can choose to support newer projects or specific years.

Despite the complexity of these projects, we are convinced that they can be supported effectively, especially if the right type of project is chosen.

2.3 Projects We Do Not Support in This Category

In this category are projects that we consider to be less efficient or problematic. For example, we do not support the construction of large-scale hydroelectric power plants, as they require large land areas and can have a negative impact on both the environment and local communities.

New renewable energy projects in countries not on the UN’s list of least developed countries are also not certified according to the standard – Gold Standard – that we go by. These projects are often considered to not need financial support to the same extent as they did in the past.

However, it is important to understand the climate credit market and how it affects the lifespan and financing of projects. We still support certain energy projects that would not be certified today, because if we stop supporting certain projects that were certified because climate financing was deemed necessary earlier, it could undermine the confidence in the climate credit market and make it more difficult for future projects to get financing.

We also do not support local projects in Sweden, as the country already has access to financing and relatively low climate emissions compared to other regions. Our strategy is to support projects where they can have the greatest positive climate impact. Even though projects like solar cell support in Sweden can be beneficial, financing does more good when used in other countries, for example, those with a higher mix of fossil fuel sources in their electricity mix.

Please get in touch ([email protected]) if you think there’s anything we’ve missed; we are always open to learning more!

Popular environmental bonus leads Edge to reduce emissions

Mia Border, a landscape architect at Edge and one of the firm’s driving forces in sustainability.

The landscape architects and engineers at Swedish firm Edge aims to encourage its employees to be mindful of their carbon footprint when traveling. Therefore, everyone receives a bonus when they choose environmentally friendly modes of transport, a benefit that has been utilized by over three-quarters of the staff.

“In a time of climate crisis, it’s necessary to act. Through our environmental bonus, we want to encourage and facilitate our employees to live more climate-smart, which also brings health benefits,” says Mia Border, a landscape architect at Edge and one of the firm’s driving forces in sustainability.

In the Lokstallsområdet area in Kirseberg, Malmö, one finds Edge, a company dedicated to designing the landscapes and urban spaces of the future. Known for their strong focus on sustainability, Edge’s philosophy is rooted in leaving each place they work with in better condition than they found it. 

Mia Border shares insights about Edge’s vision: ‘Our work revolves around conscious choices for a sustainable future, where we combine vision with goodwill to benefit both individuals and society.’

Edge stands out with its comprehensive sustainability strategy, reflected not only in their projects but also in their corporate culture. They have implemented a comprehensive environmental policy for business travel, prioritizing train, bus, and carpooling over flights. Additionally, they have introduced unique climate benefits for their employees. These include reimbursement for business travel by bicycle and a special environmental bonus. This bonus rewards employees who choose environmentally friendly modes of transport and has been used by over three-quarters of the staff.

Want to encourage employees to live more climate friendly

Border explains the purpose behind the environmental bonus: “In a time of climate crisis, it’s necessary to act. Through our environmental bonus, we want to encourage and facilitate our employees to live more climate-smart, which also brings health benefits.”

This approach is part of Edge’s larger commitment to be climate neutral by 2030, a promise that is part of the global LFM30 initiative.

It’s not just Edge’s projects that reflect their focus on sustainability, but also their internal culture and policies. Their efforts to reduce the company’s carbon footprint have not only led to a stronger team spirit among the staff but also to appreciation and recognition within the industry. The employees take pride in being part of a company that takes concrete steps towards a sustainable future, and this commitment permeates the entire organization.

Despite the financial and administrative costs that come with offering these climate benefits, Edge sees them as essential to driving society towards a sustainable future. Through their commitment to sustainability, both in their projects and internal policies, Edge stands as a shining example of how companies can play an active role in creating a more sustainable world.

Read more about, and get inspired by, Edge’s climate work here!

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. 

Climate-smart housing association – how you can influence your tenant owners’ association!

Here you will find tips on how your tenant owners’ association can reduce its carbon footprint and energy consumption. In addition to having a lower climate footprint, it also makes your apartment block more attractive and resilient for the future.

  • Install solar panels. Depending on the location of the roof, this is an investment that can pay off in 10-15 years. 
  • Install chargers for electric vehicles to allow for flat owners to buy electric cars. 
  • Install geothermal heating. It can be both an environmental and economic win, depending on the conditions of your particular house.  
  • Improve insulation to lower energy consumption
  • Introduce heat recovery in the ventilation system. .
  • Switch to LED lighting. A 20-year-old lighting system uses four times more energy than a new one.
  • Introduce sharing services like car and bike pools. 
  • Make sure there are safe spaces to store bikes.
  • Introduce individual hot water metering. There are several exciting solutions being developed. Start-up company Labtrino has developed a flow meter that can be installed without a plumber.
  • Switch to a green electricity contract.
  • Carry out an energy audit to review the building’s energy use and how it can be improved.
  • Make sure there’s a recycling room in the building.

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.

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.

How to make a sustainable film – behind the scenes

The Bunch, a group of amazing freeskiers, just released their seventh film “Is there time for matching socks“. During the entire production a main focus was to keep the greenhouse gas emissions down. We talked to The Bunch members Magnus and Alric to get some insights and key learnings on how to make a sustainable film.

Is there time for matching socks – a carbon offsetted film production. Photo and graphic design: Alric Ljughager 

The film was shot in Sweden, Norway, France, Russia, Switzerland, Japan and Canada during 171 days and resulted in 41 tonnes of CO2 emissions. That is 459 tonnes below the average film production and probably way below a big screen play’ emissions. So, what did they do differently?

The film production resulted in 41 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Photo and graphic design: Alric Ljughager

Climate-friendly options for producing films

Hello The Bunch, how did you keep the carbon footprint at a minimum?
We mainly ate vegetarian and vegan food resulting in a high intake of potatoes and beetroot salad in Russia :). There’s definitely room for improvement in some countries when it comes to trying to cut down on meat. But overall it was an interesting experience. 

We also decided to take the train whenever possible. We travelled to the Alps and back from Stockholm, Sweden twice. And we spent 70-80 hours on Russian trains going to both Kirov and Sochi. 

How was your experience spending such a big amount of time on the train?
It was a great experience with lots of fun memories. It does of course come with a bit of hustling and it’s more time consuming than travelling by plane, but the benefits outweigh it. Most of our time was spent in the dining car playing cards, talking to Russians and challenging them in arm wrestling. That would not have happened on a plane. It was really memorable and gave us great laughs. 

For a 2-3 week long trip, spending a few more days on traveling isn’t a big deal. We really like to fully experience the local culture and not only check in to a hotel, spend days on the mountains without seeing any locals at all and then take the next flight to another mountain. On the opposite, we love to shoot in the middle of the streets in a city, it creates really interesting encounters which wouldn’t have taken place on another set.

In what other ways do you take climate action?
Even if this is the first movie production we have calculated the carbon footprint for, we have always been conscious about the way we travel and what we eat. We have turned down offers to go to the US and Japan just to avoid the emissions it would cause. We sell thrifted The Bunch merchandise on our website, we have an Insta account we’re we sell pre-loved stuff as helmets and skiis and we are promoting veggie food and a healthier lifestyle via #healthgangofficial.

The Bunch. Photo: Alric Ljughager

We at GoClimate are really impressed by The Bunch showing true leadership within the film industry. Our findings are that emissions caused by a production rarely are taken into consideration and when they are, numbers are not public. They are also great role models within the wintersport world, where transports with planes, helicopters and big cars are causing big amounts of greenhouse gases.

Transportation is the highest emission factor

In this film production the majority of the travels were made by train. The return trip from Sochi, Russia, was done by plane. A few seconds of the movie was shot in Japan by one of the Bunch members, who was there on another assignment. The emissions from that trip were also included in the calculations. The Canada trip was not planned but since there was no snow in Scandinavia and The Bunch’s Hackel was competing in Xgames realski with a tight deadline they made the decision to go there to finish up the X Games video. They filmed some shots for “Is There Time for Matching Socks” in between shooting for Xgames realski. That trip included three round trips from Stockholm to Quebec, which generated a big part of the overall emissions for the film.

The diet consisted of around 30% vegan food, 60% vegetarian food and 10% meat.

The carbon footprint by category

The full climate report can be found here.
Read more about the carbon footprint of the film industry here.

The Bunch. Photo: Alric Ljughager
The Bunch. Photo: Alric Ljughager
The Bunch. Photo: Alric Ljughager
The Bunch. Photo: Alric Ljughager
The Bunch. Photo: Alric Ljughager

The carbon footprint from film making

What’s the carbon footprint from film production and the movie industry? Intrigued by finding out the answer, we at GoClimate partnered up with some of the best freeskiers in the world, The Bunch, to calculate the carbon footprint of their seventh movie Is there time for matching socks. And started to dig into the emissions of the world of film making.

What is the carbon footprint of the film industry? Photo: Donald Edgar

Findings – carbon emissions from creating films

What we found out is that film productions in general do unfortunately not map their carbon footprint. Or, in the cases where the carbon footprint has been calculated, the data has not been made public.

According to a Swedish study all big studios in the US track their carbon footprint, with a couple of them making it public. But, when we dug deeper into this, looking at the carbon footprint of Disney Studios in particular, only the emissions from The Walt Disney Company as a whole is presented. Numbers related to the film production are not separated and publicly available.

According to the Guardian (2020) the average film is estimated to produce 500 tonnes of CO2eq. The detailed data from the Swedish series Bäckström shows a carbon footprint of 240 tonnes CO2 for the full production, 40 tonnes per episode of 45 minutes.

We found data from a few recent wintersport films. Burton’s production, One World, had for example a carbon footprint of 1060 tonnes. 

Our calculations of The Bunch film production Is there time for matching socks ended up at 41 tonnes. To find out how they manage to keep the emissions so low compared to other films, click here. The full climate report for the film can be found here.

The carbon footprint of producing the film Is there time for matching socks was 41 tonnes.

A survey on the view of the individual carbon footprint, carbon offsetting and GoClimate

During the summer 2020, we conducted a Swedish and an English survey with ten questions among all the people who offset their carbon footprint with GoClimate. A whopping 620 people participated, corresponding to 13% of our members at that point in time.

According to our English survey, 76% have reduced their carbon footprint since they joined GoClimate. Among other things, they have installed solar panels, they eat less meat, fly less and eat more vegan food than before. 23% say that they have not made any changes to impact their carbon footprint and 0.6% (1 person) say that they have increased their footprint.

In response to the question of how they view their personal carbon footprint, around 90% of the English respondants (80% of the Swedish) state that they are working actively to reduce their footprint. 3% say that they would like to, but don’t know how. Another 4% say that they are not working actively with reducing their footprint. Political actions and financial incentives are mentioned as critical parts to enable necessary lifestyle changes.

What's your attitude to your individual carbon footprint? This diagrams shows the number of people who use carbon offsetting that are actively working on reducing their carbon footprint and how many that are not.
90% of all members that carbon offset say they are working on reducing their carbon footprint.

Most members are happy with our calculator and the type of projects we support. What we can get better at is providing guidance and support to reduce the carbon footprint. Over 20% didn’t know that we have a blog, where we educate on topics related to the carbon footprint and offer tips for how to reduce the emissions.

The reasons for our members to carbon offset with GoClimate is that it’s easy, that people want to do everything they can for the environment, and because there are parts of the carbon footprint which are hard to amend. Other reasons are that GoClimate is a small organization offering transparency about where the money goes, and that it’s perceived as clear, agile and trustworthy. This is an easy way to make an extra difference for the climate, adding to what is already done in the everyday life by these committed people.

Among the respondents behavioral change was considered important to stop climate change. The answer to the question “How important do you think behavioral change is to stop climate change?” was 8.8 in average on a scale 0-10.

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.

Find the results of the 2019 member survey on carbon footprint, carbon offsetting and GoClimate here.

5 climate tips to reduce your carbon footprint

We give you five relatively simple tips on what you can do to reduce your climate footprint.

1. Can you choose green electricity?  Check if your provider has a green electricity plan for you! Either on their website or by calling them. This can reduce your emissions significantly! In the EU, your electricity provider is obliged to let you know the energy source (referred to as electricity disclosure).

2. Cut the meat in favour of a more plant-based diet. This can reduce your diet’s footprint by 50%. For more info read our “Meat eater’s non-dogmatic guide to becoming more vegetarian” and “How to reduce your carbon footprint from food”. Find vegan and vegetarian food inspiration at Sweet Green Vegan, Green Kitchen Stories, Plant-Based RD and A Vegan’s Paradise.

3. Skip the car – take the bike. In average an car in the US emits 5,4 tonnes a year while biking has no carbon footprint at all.

4. Take a free digital quick coursethe Climate Leader – to understand how you best take climate action.

5. Carbon offset your lifestyle with us and help accelerate the transition to renewable energy around the world.

How much do I need to reduce my climate footprint to contribute to the Paris Agreement and the important 1.5 degree goal?

According to the study 1.5 degree lifestyles (2018), globally, in the year 2030, we can emit maximally 2.5 tonnes CO2eq/person to have a chance of managing the decisive 1.5 degree target. In 2040, we will be able to emit maximally 1.4 tonnes CO2eq/person, and in 2050 – a maximum of only 0.7 tonnes CO2eq/person. Read more about this here.

Currently, the average American emits nearly 20 tonnes CO2eq per year.
Source: http://css.umich.edu/factsheets/us-environmental-footprint-factsheet

Climate tips to save the planet