Our approach to climate change has significantly reduced the business’ greenhouse gas emissions, achieving a 40% reduction by 2010, versus 2006. However, some emissions are unavoidable and so carbon offsets are purchased to avoid or absorb an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide.
We‘re also committed to helping our customers reduce their carbon footprint and include offsets as part of a number of products.
We partner with ClimateCare – an organisation dedicated to combating climate change – to deliver carbon offset projects in the developing world. These projects absorb (e.g. through planting trees) or avoid (e.g. through being more efficient with energy) equivalent amounts of carbon dioxide to the emissions that we are offsetting.
We have been supporting offset projects through ClimateCare since 2000, and in this time we have offset almost 1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide through projects in developing countries in Africa and Asia.
Offsets are purchased by a number of our businesses to make them carbon neutral for their operational (i.e. consumption of electricity, gas and fuel) and business travel (i.e. rails and air journeys) greenhouse gas emissions. The Co-operative Funeralcare became the first carbon neutral funeral director in 2011, and The Co-operative Pharmacy became carbon neutral in 2012.
The Co-operative Bank goes one step further and offsets ia further 10% of its emissions to address legacy issues; the first, and only, UK bank to do so. In addition, for every ecoinsurance policy sold by The Co-operative insurance half a tonne carbon dioxide is offset.
Carbon offsetting projects
You can read about some of the projects we support, which follow our commitment to source a proportion of our offsets from reforestation or avoided deforestation projects, and the remaining is sourced from renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Projects are chosen not just for the offset aspect but also the secondary benefits that they have for the local environment and communities involved, and the due diligence visits ensure these benefits are happening too.