Becoming carbon neutral: tomorrow’s challenge
How can we bring together growth, commercial development and environmental conservation? This question is increasingly relevant in Vietnam, where a new environmental policy is needed. Officience is joining the movement for sustainable development by aiming to become carbon neutral and implementing a wide range of strategies toachieve this goal.
Implementing a long-term carbon audit
Since May 2013 we have been working on a calculation which will allow us to work out Officience and Crunch’s carbon emissions. The basic premise of the method is to consider all the physical flows that comprise our activity (people, objects and energy flows) and to investigate how they correspond to the greenhouse gas emissions created. When the calculation is complete, the emissions are ranked in terms of their weight and their sources. This stage is essential before initiating a global reduction process within the company.
We performed a carbon audit in 2011 and established that our greenhouse gas emissions reached a level of 523.7 tonnes of carbon equivalent that year. This corresponded at the time to 2.777 tonnes of carbon equivalent per employee over the year.
In numbers: raising awareness of the current situation
Below are the results of the carbon audit since January 2013. By using the strong assumption that the last 6 months of 2013 are equivalent to the first, we can observe:
– An overall increase in expenditure
– A decrease in individual expenditure (per employee)
As yet, it is too early to tell if this reduction is meaningful. However, we are on the right track and plan to take further steps to make our activities carbon neutral.
Our approach: a tool for changing behavior
To continue to make progress with this, we are now trying to create a program that will help us to work out the entire energy expenditure of the company: from electricity to office supplies, even including business trips. This will then give us our expenditure in kilograms of carbon equivalent.
This tool is first and foremost a tool for raising individual and global awareness. A dashboard displaying the results will be accessible on the company’s servers. Each employee will therefore be able to compare the different energy expenditure and evaluate their own impact on the environment.
We are well aware that this evaluation study is only the first step in a strategy to minimize our carbon footprint. Once awareness is raised, we will then focus on the operational areas of our ecological vision. This phase will be guided by one single question which we are already considering: what levers can we engage to initiate this reduction?
We are currently working together with the PhuAn bamboo village. We support this research and protection center with its investigations into a formula which models the quantity of carbon absorbed by bamboo depending on its age. Thanks to this, we can determine how many hectares of bamboo are necessary to become carbon neutral.
Our first bamboos were planted in June 2013 in Phu An village. With 175 bamboo shoots planted, we took the first step towards what is shaping up to becoming a great human and ecological adventure. Coconut palms and banana trees were planted in among our bamboos as these can’t develop correctly if they are too close to one another, and this will also help to preserve the area’s biodiversity.
Our interest in bamboo isn’t simply down to our Vietnamese identity. Did you know that bamboo captures 7 to 8 times more carbon than other trees? If you take a moment to really look at bamboo plants, it is even possible to see them grow right before your eyes. Some specimens can grow by up to 50 cm a day!
Thanks to these unusual characteristics, we think bamboo could be an effective weapon in the fight against carbon missions. And because this global fight is everyone’s responsibility it is possible to act on an individual scale by becoming a bamboo sponsor.
Convinced that what we have done in 2013 is positive, we plan to extend the reach of the project and we are now looking toward 2014 with the intention of planting 1000 bamboo plants. To realise this ambitious goal, we plan to involve our clients, partners, friends and bamboo fans in the process by suggesting that they sponsor part of the bamboo plantation.
Follow @crunch_vn to find out more about our partner programs or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.