Big business, small businesses, households, and government at all levels – we all have a role to play in protecting and preserving the environment. In reducing carbon emissions, everyone has a role.
Here at Etiko, we are conscious of the impact of our decisions and actions on our planet.
Since we formed, we have been aware of our behaviour as a small business – in Australia and via the manufacturers we work with in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan – and how that impacts the earth.
We may not be a multi-national company, and have tonnes of resources (human and cash) to devote to research and invest in new technologies to reduce our impact.
However we do know as a small business, we can make positive changes, and these do have an effect. We can be an example to other small businesses, and even to those larger, well-resourced companies……
REDUCING CARBON EMISSIONS: Everyone has a Role
So, in 2013, Etiko took its first step into the world of measuring our impact (carbon footprint) on the planet. We teamed up with the Carbon Reduction Institute (CRI) to help us measure our company’s impact; advise us how to reduce it, and actions we can take to offset our impact.
Whether you need scientific-type explanations or keep-it-simple wording, there is enough info out there to help all of us understand what has been happening to the planet (what humans have been doing to exacerbate climate change), and how we can be part of the solution to minimise our impact on the world.
Having the expertise of organisations such as CRI helps companies look deeply at what they are doing, and what they need to change to reduce their impact on the earth. These could be small, simple changes; not all changes need to be massive!
Since our first carbon emissions audit, Etiko has improved the way it operates, helping to reduce our carbon footprint each year.
HOW HAS ETIKO REDUCED ITS CARBON FOOTPRINT?
Lots of small changes add up, to make a big difference. Some of the changes we made to our operations in Australia:
- Moving our main office from a shared warehouse space to a smaller space
- Reducing our travel
- Using recyclable plastic mail bags via the Australia Post Mailing Satchel Brigade program
Some of the changes we made with our manufacturing partners overseas:
- Using cardboard swing tags, instead of plastic
- Using cardboard packaging only on our underwear range – instead of cardboard and a layer of plastic
- Using FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified cardboard and paper
- Using biodegradable and compostable plastic packaging from Natur-tech
BECOMING CARBON NEUTRAL
Every company produces carbon emissions.
Being carbon neutral means having no carbon footprint or having ‘net zero carbon emissions’. To attain this status, Etiko needs to either be emission-free (not possible) or balance the emissions we produce with actions that ‘offset’ our actions.
To offset emissions produced there are a range of actions possible, so that an organisation becomes ‘carbon neutral’. Carbon credits can be bought from approved projects that have social and economic benefits for the communities where projects are located.
Etiko could plant a forest-load of trees to offset our emissions…..or have other people do that! As we are pretty busy running Etiko, we have chosen to outsource our tree planting.
WHERE DOES ETIKO BUY CARBON CREDITS FROM?
Etiko pays for tree planting in Timor-Leste to gain ‘carbon credits’ to offset our emissions.
More than 750 farmers and their families in the Baucau District of Timor-Leste are part of the Carbon Social program growing hardwood trees. Farmers earn an income from growing a range of species including casuarina, eucalyptus, mahogany, rosewood, sandalwood and teak.
Land in the growing area of Bagui in the Baucau District has suffered from degradation and erosion over the years, so Etiko is pretty happy to know we are actively improving the environment in Timor-Leste, even from afar!
Carbon Social provides seedlings to farmers who plant them on their own land, becoming the ‘owners’ and ‘guardians’ of the trees. Maintaining trees can double the annual income of a Timorese farming family, who earn money from the sale of the carbon credits produced by the trees’ presence.
Most of us learned about photosynthesis in Science class, and how trees absorbed the pollution (aka carbon dioxide) and gave us clean air. To learn more about how trees store carbon, how long it takes, how it is measured for Carbon Credit sales, check out Carbon Neutral’s Frequently Asked Questions.
To learn more about the carbon offset program that Etiko supports click here.
2050: THE WORLD’S DEADLINE
Back in November, 2016 the global community (94 of 195 countries) agreed to put the handbrake on carbon emissions, part of ratifying the Paris Agreement of the previous year. Scientists have identified that carbon emissions must be at ‘net zero’ by 2050, if we wish to keep the planet in good shape (habitable for us).
So the call has gone out for everyone to play their part. Working groups are occurring across the world, bringing teams of experts together across many nations to find innovative ways to deal with excessive emissions, and to have industries work smarter, more efficiently and with less negative impact. Super-exciting times for innovation!
The Australian Fashion Industry has set a net zero emissions target for 2050. Here at Etiko, we have set our target for our entire supply chain by 2020.
Etiko is about living conscientiously; and making decisions and purchases that do not harm people, animals or the earth. Etiko was founded on these principles, and we continue to search for new ways to improve the way we operate.
We hope you will join us on this journey of discovering better ways to work and live.
Words by Andrea Swinburne-Jones