Carbon emissions in 2021 almost reached pre-pandemic levels, according to the Global Carbon Project. The increase was the second-highest year-on-year increase in history, said the International Energy Agency.
The situation is grave but not irreversible. Many companies around the world are scrutinizing their operations so they can reduce their environmental impact. Playing a part, no matter how modest, can make a difference.
Lubes’n’Greases took advice from its sustainability adviser and contributing editor Apu Gosalia about how the company could get involved, too. We worked with the sustainability consulting firm Fokus Zukunft, based in Starnberg, Germany, to calculate our carbon footprint. The firm also advised us on how we could cut down and compensate for for our emissions in the future. The process outlined below should not be regarded as a destination but as a first step that helps define and implement further actions.
Greenhouse gas emissions reached 36.4 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2020, an increase of 4.9% since the pandemic began in 2020.
We wanted to understand why an organization would undertake carbon reduction measures, whether being part of a broader sustainability strategy or as a standalone activity. What better way to understand than to do it ourselves.
While each business case differs, they share a common outcome – mitigating impact on the environment and communities to ensure a profitable and sustainable future for the next generations.
What do these terms mean?
Carbon neutral: Anthropogenic carbon emissions are balanced by removing the equivalent from the atmosphere by offsetting. An organization does not have to reduce emissions to be neutral.
Carbon free: No emissions of carbon into the atmosphere. Cannot be achieved through compensation.
Carbon negative/climate positive: Removing more carbon from the atmosphere than is released.
Carbon dioxide equivalent: CO2e is a metric measure used to compare the emissions from various greenhouse gases on the basis of their global-warming potential, by converting amounts of other gases to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide with the same global warming potential.
Source: European Union
Going through this process gave us an opportunity to use our experience as a case study for other businesses in the lubricants industry, and the information below is intended as a resource for their own efforts. Additionally, it lends credibility to the information in Sustainability InSite. Being able to show by example some of the challenges associated with the process was a departure for us. So we are now the first lubricant industry information provider to become carbon neutral. We can contribute to our partners’ carbon calculations.
There are additional benefits to the process, beyond those previously mentioned:
- Overview of the organization’s greenhouse gas inventory and the basis of an operational climate protection strategy
- Identification of the strongest CO2e drivers in the organization and development of measures to sustainably reduce them
- Insight into the CO2e balance at different organizational locations
- Sustainably improve corporate energy management and potentially save long-term costs
- Preparedness for possible future statutory provisions
- Agility in response to political, market and consumer forces