2009 Carbon Inventory and 2011 Carbon Neutrality

We are extremely excited to announce that our New Year’s Resolution (and strategic goal) for 2011 is to be 100% Carbon Neutral!
Update: See our final report and presentation on our Carbon Neutrality page!
Here at evolveEA, we regularly help clients realize benefit at the operational and strategic levels by measuring and reporting performance, identifying key performance metrics and goals, and using them to inform future sustainability strategies and processes. Although cliché, we find that with our clients the saying “what gets measured gets managed” is mostly true. With this knowledge, we decided to undertake a Carbon Inventory (base year 2009) and Action Plan according to the World Resources Institute (WRI) Greenhouse Gas Corporate Standard [PDF] to operationalize our commitment to carbon neutrality. *WRI Certification pending
After going through the process, we found that our total emissions in 2009 equaled 8.42 tonnes of CO2 equivalent (eCO2). To break it down by scope:

  • Our total Scope 1 emissions resulting from the combustion of natural gas in our furnace on-site equaled approximately 0.45 tonnes eCO2
  • Our total Scope 2 emissions resulting from electricity usage was approximately 2.66 tonnes eCO2
  • Our total Scope 3 emissions resulting from the employee commute, business travel by air and car, and the embodied water usage emissions was approximately 5.3 tonnes eCO2.

When normalized by employee and square foot and compared against other companies in the service industry our 2009 emissions are relatively low. With our 8 employees in 2009, we averaged 1.05 tonnes eCO2per employee and .011 tonnes eCO2 per square foot.

Action Plan
To identify the most strategic and cost-effective way forward, we have analyzed our emissions to understand the amounts of fuels that we are using, the needs these fuels are being used to fill, and the technology that is using these fuels to fill these needs. It is our position that understanding this information enables us to make the most cost-effective, data-driven decisions possible. As evidenced below, our largest emissions categories were Business Air Travel (37%), Electricity Usage (32%) and Business Car Travel (20%).

Because they make up the largest portion of our emissions profile, we have chosen to focus our efforts on reducing our carbon emissions in these areas as much as possible. Through efficiency measures including delamping, advanced computer efficiency standards, strict temperature set points, and business travel reduction of 20% through a strict teleconferencing policy and company-wide free bus ticket program, we have calculated that we can reduce our absolute emissions by 8% (before wind energy and carbon offset purchases) to 7.77 tonnes eCO2 in 2011 over 2009 levels even though we have added two more employees.
When we factor in the 100% in-state, Green-e Certified Wind electricity that we have begun purchasing starting in January 2011, we predict that we will reduce our emissions by 39% to 5.7 tonnes eCO2. Further, when we factor in the carbon offsets from reforestation projects for the remaining emissions that we have committed to buying at the end of 2011, our net carbon footprint in 2011 will be 0 tonnes eCO2–thus fulfilling our carbon neutrality commitment!
For more details (and the full report), please stay tuned to our website for its official release.

Evolve EA