Celebrating our carbon neutral status
Never has ‘green’ has been so far up everyone’s agenda. In just a month, the first five winners of the Royal Foundation’s Earthshot Prize were announced; the Prime Minister revealed more details about a forthcoming ban on gas boilers; Insulate Britain highlighted the need for better home insulation and the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (also known as COP26) takes place in Glasgow.
Finally, it feels as if reducing carbon footprints and adopting sustainable behaviour is being taken seriously. It certainly helps when you have Sir David Attenborough and the Duke of Cambridge encouraging us, plus coverage of raging wildfires and life-threatening floods in our news feeds, making the matter feel more pressing and real.
For many years, our eco efforts often started – and ended - at putting out our weekly recycling, but some world leaders are ensuring there is more of a concerted effort to tackle climate change. In fact, the UK has already enshrined in law a target to slash emissions by 78% by 2035 – part of the sixth Carbon Budget, which will help the nation achieve carbon net zero status by 2050.
On a global scale, the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will be much discussed at COP26. Participants will be publicly setting eco goals, such as phasing out coal, speeding up the switch to electric vehicles, protecting and restoring ecosystems, curtailing deforestation, and accelerating action to tackle the climate crisis through collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society.
It is the last point that has already resonated with us here at Viewber and we take our role in sustainable operations very seriously. We are proud to have already achieved carbon neutral status through a proactive campaign to reduce the carbon footprint of the Viewber HQ team and that of our Viewber network. As a result, we are able to proudly display the Carbon Neutral Organisation logo – an outward sign that our business meets the Carbon Footprint Standard™.
Integral to our achievement was a greenhouse gas emissions assessment, which measured our output over the course of a year.
Our total carbon footprint was calculated at 120.87 tCO2e – with the majority being generated by car travel.
The findings, although not surprising, prompted us to create an Environmental Travel Module for our members to complete, which helps to share the knowledge on how they can personally reduce their carbon footprint whilst working on behalf of Viewber. Our HR department is also encouraging car sharing amongst employees, the use of public transport and the promotion of walking/cycling where possible.
As well as travel activity, Viewber is also making information freely available to all members and employees on reducing energy consumption when working at home - covering everything from smart central heating meters to the safe disposal of electronic devices.
While our advice works on a ‘best practice’ and recommendation basis, our tangible contribution is what has really made an impact. We have chosen to offset all our Viewber members' travel activities through an active tree planting scheme. This form of offsetting has both immediate short-and long-term impact. Between April 2020 and March 2021, we offset our 121 tonnes of CO2e by commissioning 121 trees to be planted within the five UK regions where we have conducted the majority of our business.
In addition to UK-planted trees, we participated in a Tree Buddying programme, meaning for each tree planted, an additional tCO2e is offset through a VCS Tree Buddying project to guarantee the emission reductions.
We want others in the property industry and wider business sector to know achieving carbon neutral status is easier than you think.
“At first glance, 'going carbon neutral' looks daunting and even unobtainable – especially for companies similar to Viewber with freelance support located the length and breadth of the UK,” comments Viewber’s founder, Ed Mead.
“The process was, however, simpler than first envisaged and we hope our achievement will inspire others within property services to consider their options. With Viewbers already being local to the properties they serve, we're well placed to deliver more carbon savings to clients who are ever less inclined to travel.”