Loo paper company Who Gives a Crap is now carbon neutral, but it’s not all that happy about it.
You’ve seen this story before. Carbon offsetting has quickly become a multibillion-dollar industry globally in recent years, as companies look to bolster their green credentials.
But the process — whereby businesses buy carbon reduction schemes such as planting trees to counter their operational emissions — has also faced criticism for enabling the private sector to effectively paper over its environmental footprint.
After all, it’s carbon reduction we’re after, folks.
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Enter Who Gives a Crap, which this week unveiled a partnership with US-based reforestation company Pachama, allowing it to claim the much-lauded ‘carbon neutral’ status.
Except, unlike some companies that would typically talk up their good graces ad nausea when announcing they’ve effectively sponsored a bunch of trees, Who Gives a Crap has opted to share a dose of realism with its customers.
Translated: they’re not exactly patting themselves on the back.
“Are [carbon offsets] perfect? No, definitely not,” the company told customers in a blog post this week.
“We all need to reduce the total amount of carbon going out into the world, not just net it down to zero.”
The company says it’s still excited about the partnership — who wouldn’t be, the planet can use all the trees it can get — but that if offsetting becomes the default practice in the private sector, we’re not going to make the progress we need in battling the climate crisis.
“Imagine if every company offset their emissions — the demand for offsets would far exceed the supply,” the company said.
“In turn, the cost per offset would be so high that it would actually be cheaper to curb emissions directly.
“We want to be part of building that demand now rather than waiting until curbs are mandatory for everyone.
“Plus, we believe that offsets have a real impact and are a hell of a lot better than doing nothing.
“For us, they’re part of the solution, which is why we’re advocating they go hand-in-hand with strategies to reduce emissions directly as well.”
Under Who Gives a Crap’s carbon-offsetting plan, Pachama is working to protect old rainforest areas in the Peruvian Amazon.
The project is called the Brazil Nut Concession Forest Conservation Project, and is hoping to prevent more than 14.5 million tonnes of CO2 emissions by protecting 143 parcels of land operated by Brazillian nut farmers.
Who Gives A Crap is still emitting carbon, but its something the company hopes to reduce in the coming years.
“Let’s put it this way, our carbon emissions are like a balloon that’s filled with water. Use too much water, and the balloon will pop,” the company said.
“We can’t stop our tap from pouring, so instead we ‘offset’ overfilling by drawing the water out in another way — maybe with a quick slurp.
“The problem is, the balloon was already too full, to begin with, and the rest of the world is filling it at the same time as we are.
“It would be much better if we could all stop filling it too much, and actually all take a few slurps out while we’re at it.
“But for now, we’re just trying to keep the balloon intact.”
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