Carbon Footprint Update – 2022

15 February 2022

At Supercool we've long been focused on reducing our negative impact on the planet. It's one of the reasons we all started working from home 5 years ago, and why we plant trees all over the UK for every website we create.

I've just calculated Supercool's potential carbon footprint for 2022. This is something that needs to be done at least annually – or when there's significant change – to make sure we're measuring and off-setting the carbon we emit as a business.

To do this, I gather a whole bunch of data, and pop it into a complex and clever spreadsheet that, quite honestly, does all the heavy-lifting for me. All I then need to do is find the cell with our (predicted) total carbon emissions for the year.

The spreadsheet was devised by James Cannings et al for the 8-week Carbon Negative course I did last year – which has since been turned into a do-it-anytime online course. For arts-and-culture-specific carbon footprint workings, however, your best bet is to get in touch with the ace and friendly folks at Julie's Bicycle.

Carbon Footprint Forecast 2022 🥁🥁🥁

Carbon emissions: 26 tonnes per annum
Emissions per person, per day: 9.5kg
Trees required to offset: 156 per annum

(Based on Trees For Life's suggested 6 trees per tonne of carbon)

For context, carbon emissions per person, per day of up to 10kg is considered 'very low' – so at 9.5kg we're doing pretty well. However, compared with 2021 this is a big increase in emissions – which seems like a massive failure! What on earth's going on?

The increase in our predicted emissions can be explained by four things:
  1. We're as accurate as possible with our data, but the calculations aren't going to give us a 100% accurate total. So, I've rounded-up the numbers. I'd much rather we offset a bit more than we emit than under-estimate our impact. Because of this, we knew our predicted footprint would increase.
  2. I've substantially upped our predicted 'bought goods and services'. This catch-all category can include pretty much anything – from online service subscriptions to buying computer hardware. So, to cover things with wildly different impacts on the environment, I've really over-egged those numbers.
  3. I've anticipated and accounted for an increase in business travel during this year, now that restrictions are being eased. Travel has a huuuge impact – our 2020 carbon footprint was 40% lower than 2019's purely from us not travelling.
  4. Finally, the Supercool team has grown (70%!) since this time last year. Every person adds to our carbon footprint, which is why we joined Ecologi's Climate Positive Workforce scheme – more on that in a bit. And why we're looking for more ways to reduce our energy use across the business.

So that's where we're at. Not so bad after all. But we can – and will – do more.

2022 so far

According to this year's figures we'll need to plant 156 trees to offset our carbon footprint for 2022. We're off to an excellent start having planted 145 trees just this month, as part of being an Ecologi Climate Positive Workforce.

It's called 'Climate Positive Workforce' as it offsets the carbon emissions of every single member of the Supercool team – while at work, but also from each of our homes, personal travel, holidays, food, hobbies and more.

We love the scheme as it mixes tree planting – a long-term positive – with climate positive projects which'll have a more immediate impact. (As well as those 145 trees, this month we've also supported a clean hydropower electricity project in India, and wind power generation in Vietnam.)

Keep an eye on our progress:

What's next?

We'll continue planting and preserving trees for every new website project we work on. That 'emissions per person, per day' figure is what we use to calculate how much is needed to offset each new website project. In fact, we offset double the carbon we emit as part of projects. There's that over-egging the numbers again – just to be sure we're doing our bit.

We're almost ready to share the Sustainability Actions we have planned for 2022. Watch this space! Also in the works is a handy blog post about the mysteries of 'green hosting'.

What's next – for you?

For loads of handy tips, resources and links about reducing your organisation's carbon footprint, visit Supercool + Sustainability 🌳🧡

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