Becoming a carbon neutral company

András Tessényi

Andras Tessenyi

CEO

Business Management and Leadership Sustainability News
09 September, 2020

We are happy to announce that Supercharge was recently certified as a Carbon Net Zero company. It means we as a business have a neutral impact on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and this is an important milestone for us in becoming a sustainable company.

Unfortunately, climate change has been steadily accelerating and right now the world is on track to see a 3-4C temperature rise this century. This will have devastating consequences, rendering whole regions uninhabitable, submerging cities as the water level rises and potentially leading to an unimaginable loss of life.

If the recent coronavirus epidemic and the subsequent economic fallout has taught us anything, it is that it’s better to be prepared and act early. We still have a chance to stave off the worst effects of this climate catastrophe and to get the world back to a point the temperature ‘only’ rises 1.5-2C.

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At Supercharge, we believe in creating a positive vision of the future reality. Our biggest contribution to making this happen is through our work on digital products that have a beneficial impact.

However, the way we act as a company also matters and sends a signal to others. We think it would be hypocritical to boast about having a positive impact on the world while not having at least a neutral impact on the environment. So going carbon neutral is essential for us.

Measure, reduce, offset

This first step we took on our carbon neutrality journey is becoming aware of our carbon footprint. For an individual, this is a relatively easy process as plenty of calculators are available online. But companies – especially larger ones – tend to become complex with hundreds or even thousands of companies in their supply chains.

This is exactly what we did with the help of an advisor, Carbon Analytics. We took all our invoices and used a model to establish our footprint which came to 441 tons of CO2 per annum. This included the footprint of our supply chain as well a key element often overlooked.

Supercharge's journey of going carbon neutral

As a second step, we turned our attention to reducing the company’s CO2 emissions. There is no point measuring and offsetting if you miss this step. The goal of this whole exercise is that one day you can ideally reach zero carbon emissions. 

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We took a number of important steps such as switching to renewable energy, phasing out some suppliers and setting up new guidelines for our future procurement.

We are hopeful that over the next decade, we can further reduce our emissions and we will have increasingly reduced reliance on the last step; offsetting.

Offsetting is basically clearing your positive carbon balance by paying to stop CO2 from getting into the atmosphere. Business trips involving flying will most likely remain carbon emitting for the next 10-20 years.

This is also true for a myriad of other commercial activities such as certain types of manufacturing, resource extraction or construction. It will take tremendous amounts of innovation to turn these processes into carbon neutral processes, and if the business cannot entirely avoid emissions; it should at least offset it. 

Offsetting is basically a self-imposed tax on your carbon emissions. It helps to negate the carbon emissions through funding carbon saving projects such as renewable energy power generation, forest protection or making cooking stoves available in poorer areas.

But it does something even more remarkable: it forces the business to think long and hard about reducing its carbon footprint since all of a sudden it is impacting the bottom line.

And to add to that, it has a knock-on effect on your supply chain: you will start picking suppliers that are carbon neutral themselves. A virtuous cycle emerges.

So as the final step, we purchased high quality, certified offsets to cover our emissions and upon validation by Carbon Analytics, we are issued our own Net Zero Certification. But we went one step further: we wanted to have a local impact and educate our own team members so we decided to plant our own Supercharger forest.

For the initial years, this forest will not sequester much carbon but as the roughly 14.000 trees grow, they will most likely capture over 10.000 tons of CO2. It’s a contribution we are proud of.

But why bother?

A business is traditionally a profit oriented enterprise that is here to create shareholder value. It’s the role of the government and international organisations to resolve global issues, right? Even if you fully agree with these statements – which we don’t, since we think companies have a moral obligation to have a positive impact on society – we believe it’s still in your best interest to become carbon neutral.

Change is coming, whether you like it or not. Eventually, the world will have to reduce its carbon emissions or nature will do it for us. Those companies that have the resolve to act early will reap the benefits when sudden change takes place, most likely through regulation. 

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Transforming your business today will put you ahead of the competition.

Leaving it too late will cause you damage in the future when you have to clean up your emissions and revamp your supply chain overnight.

And there is more: customer preference is changing, with people favouring more sustainable products. Companies are setting their own carbon targets and they are looking for their own carbon neutral suppliers. And as the race for talent heats up – especially in the tech sector – being sustainable is becoming a key factor in attracting talent.

Of course, we recognise that for a company like ours, it’s feasible to get to carbon neutrality in 2020. For others, it would entirely break their business. But there is no excuse for not making a pledge and saying that in 10-15 years, I will transform my business and innovate so somewhere between 2030 and 2035 I can become carbon neutral.

This is the only way we can go. And we believe companies, among them Supercharge, have a crucial role in projecting a positive vision of the future into reality.

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