Why We Decided to Offset Our Workforce in 2022

February 04, 2022

Image of trees in front of a late afternoon sky next to the phrase

At TO THE MARKET our business model is based on enabling ‘better for people, better for planet’ sourcing and manufacturing options for our clients. Our aim is to enable people and organizations to harness their purchasing power for good. As a certified B Corporation, we are striving to make progress in all areas of our business model to produce a positive social impact. We are doing all we can to nurture our planet and be more environmentally responsible, especially when it comes to the company’s carbon footprint. We believe no action is too small, and offsetting our workforce created another avenue to increase impact and initiate a new employee benefit for our team.

This year, with the help of our partners, GreenStory and Simplizero, we launched our workforce offsetting program. This program has been set up to offset the carbon footprint of each team member as well as to offset additional carbon emissions, helping our workforce be carbon net positive. By offsetting the footprint of our workforce, it allows us to make a difference and ‘live our values’ and it’s a great recruitment and retention strategy for our employee base.

According to a Glassdoor survey, “73% of adults would not apply to a company unless its values aligned with their own personal values.” We foresee a future when organizations will be required to make this part of the fabric of their business strategy. We are already seeing it in organizations such as Patagonia, Allbirds, and other positive forward, socially and environmentally responsible companies.

So, having a workforce off-setting program is just one way TO THE MARKET can demonstrate to potential employees that we consciously prioritize our environmental impact. It also helps reinforce our commitment as a B Corporation and the social and environmental benchmarks that are critical in maintaining our certification status.

What is a carbon footprint?
A carbon footprint can mean the total amount of carbon dioxide emissions generated by a person, company or product. A person’s carbon footprint can be a result of the energy they use to power their house, the fuel they use to drive their car, and the items they consume, like food or clothing. Generally, a carbon footprint is considered a negative thing, as greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide are spurring climate change. As we all know, climate change is a bad thing, with devastating impacts like sea level rise, rising global temperatures and more frequent extreme weather events, like hurricanes.

What is carbon offsetting?
Essentially, if a person emits 1kg of carbon dioxide then - to avoid having a negative impact on the planet - they need to remove 1kg of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. For example, one way to remove CO2 from the air is to plant trees, as they use carbon dioxide as food, and so pull it from the air to nourish themselves.

It can be a little tricky for a person living in the city to keep planting trees all over their neighborhood, which is where an offsetting program can help. Offsetting programs could include the planting of trees on behalf of a person in a forest somewhere in the world. It could also include a project to avoid carbon dioxide emissions.

What does it mean to be carbon net positive?
If a person is carbon net positive it means that they are offsetting not only their carbon footprint but additional carbon emissions. It would be like someone paying back their loan and then putting a little extra money into their savings account.

Why not avoid emitting carbon dioxide, altogether?
Unfortunately, for most people it is difficult to avoid actions that result in the emissions of carbon dioxide altogether. However, there are steps to reduce your carbon footprint. For example, aiming to use renewable energy sources rather than energy that comes from burning fossil fuels.

At TTM, we aim to minimize our emissions whenever and wherever we can, both from our work itself and from our employees. However, when we ship out goods, many of the modes of transportation for shipping are powered by fossil fuels.

So, in the moments that we cannot avoid CO2 emitting activities, we work with our partners to offset these emissions. To do this, we were able to choose offsetting projects that resonated with our company’s goals of making the world a more equitable place, serve the regions our makers live in, help reduce overall supply chain impact, and align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

We’re currently contributing to five off-setting projects across four continents. These projects are focused on conserving the environment, creating alternative energy solutions, creating opportunities for women, and offering safe and fairly paid work. Below are the projects we’re prioritizing as we go climate positive!

1. Safe Community Water in Rwanda

This project broadens local access to safe, clean water in rural communities in Rwanda. To make this happen, existing local boreholes used for freshwater are repaired and maintained to allow easier access for local women, while eliminating the need to burn fuel or wood just to boil water This project is currently improving the lives and livelihoods of around 68,000 people.

The benefits:
-Reduced pressure on nearby forests and in turn, fewer CO2 emissions
-Reduced health risks and better sanitary conditions
-More time and opportunity for local women and children

2. Toyola Clean Cookstoves in Ghana

In this project, efficient cookstoves are distributed to communities in Ghana, which not only decrease wood use, but ensure local communities have economic opportunities, as locals are hired to build and then distribute the stoves. The stoves themselves are award-winning Toyola cookstoves, which are 40% more efficient than the typical style of stove used in many parts of the region.

The benefits:
-Local job creation
-Reduction in firewood and fuel burning (and in turn, better sanitary and health conditions in the community)
-Reduction in local deforestation
-Improved sanitary conditions in the community thanks to a reduction in firewood and fuel

3. Poultry Powered Renewable Energy in India

This project in India upcycles poultry litter to displace the need for electricity derived from thermal power plants. Members of the community are trained and hired as generator operators who feed cleaner, renewable energy back into the local electrical grid of India. The poultry waste would otherwise have gone to landfills, where they would produce climate-harming methane.

The benefits:
-Eliminates would-be methane release
-Offers renewable energy in place of thermal power plants
-Cleaner air in the community
-Local job creation

4. Avoiding Deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon

This conservation and sustainable harvesting project in the Madre de Dios region of Peru helps reduce deforestation in the Amazon. This program creates 95 local jobs in sustainable forest management to help protect the Madre de Dios section of the rainforest. And of course, precious local ecosystems and endangered species are protected in the process.

The benefits:
-Provides local jobs protecting a community treasure
-Promotes biodiversity within the Amazon
-Protects habitats of endangered species who call this part of the Amazon home
-Powers community outreach programs

5. Wind Energy in South Dakota

This program fosters the creation of a 36,000 acre wind farm in Chamberlain, South Dakota with the capability to power as many as 129,000 nearby homes. The wind farm feeds electricity into the local energy grid, displacing the need to run on fossil fuels, while providing training and job opportunities for members of the community.

The benefits:
-Replaces fossil fuel electricity in the area in favor of renewable wind energy
-Local job opportunities and training
-Powers homes with renewable energy

So what does this mean for you?
For consumers and even TO THE MARKET supply chain partners, our climate positivity initiatives make the world a better place. We all need a safe and healthy planet to live on for decades and generations to come, and every carbon offsetting project makes a difference.

As we ramp up the ways in which we measure our own carbon emissions and offsetting, we’re committed to providing as much transparency as possible into the impact of your purchase. We’re proud to be on this journey with you, and to honor our sustainable values on each step of the way.

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