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Keeping (Net) Positive

Keeping (Net) Positive

Verdical Group continues annual carbon reduction, footprint calculation, and offset purchasing to retain net positive status.

By Chloe Correia and Claire Bisson

In 2021, Verdical Group officially offset our entire historical carbon footprint back to day one of the company’s founding in 2012, plus ten percent, going above and beyond net zero to become a carbon positive company. The decision to do so was simple – as a member of Amazon’s Climate Pledge, the B Corp Climate Collective, and a Benefit Corporation committed to making an environmental and social impact – but also as a group of sustainability consultants that spend our days championing carbon neutral building projects and sustainable events. Each year since then, our team has calculated the company’s carbon footprint, determined how our impact can be further reduced through policy changes and organizational behaviors, and then offset our remaining emissions. 

In our 2023 calculations, we made the decision to include our workers’ home offices in addition to our corporate locations. You’ll see below that the change has increased our reported footprint, but with the majority of our staff working primarily from home, we feel that the calculation reflects the reality of our footprint much more accurately. Below, we’ve highlighted several other notable details about our 2023 calculations. As always, our team is available as a resource for organizations on their own carbon accounting journey – check out our recent white paper on the topic here, and contact us at hello@verdicalgroup.com to learn more. 

Scope 1
Scope 1 emissions are from sources that are owned or controlled by the company. At Verdical Group, our Scope 1 emissions are related to on-site natural gas combustion at our company offices. This year, we added our new San Diego office location to the calculations. Because our team works out of shared spaces, this calculation is based on the proportionate square footage of our team’s space. 

Our Downtown Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego, and San Francisco offices are rarely frequented by VG members. With most of our team working from home every day, we accounted for one employee per day at each office – this likely over accounts for our footprint onsite, but helps to counter days when several employees convene in the offices for in-person meetings. Few, if any, VG employees used the space more than five times in 2023.

Scope 2 
Scope 2 emissions are indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the company. We also incorporated our San Diego office data into this calculation in 2024, again using square footage to estimate our impact.

Procured energy can be generated from a variety of sources. As in previous years, our team utilized the Power Content Label from each office’s local utility provider to estimate the blend of renewable energy, fossil fuel combustion, and other sources such as nuclear and hydroelectric power. For our 2023 calculations, we used the Power Content Label for the previous year (2022), as the 2023 mix will not be available until this fall. We do not anticipate the 2023 mix will vary substantially from the 2022 label.

Scope 3 
Scope 3 covers other indirect emissions that are emitted as a consequence of the activities of the company but occur from sources not owned or controlled by the company. At Verdical Group, this primarily includes waste, employee commuting, procurement, and (for the first time in 2023) emissions occurring at our employee’s home offices.

Waste
Waste was calculated based on individual averages, multiplied by the total number of employees during the 2023 year. This is just a general calculation based on the average amount of waste generated by a person at an office – while we included home office energy consumption, our team continued to use office waste estimates to better reflect the proportion of waste that could be attributed to working hours and uses.

Commuting
Even with a near-fully remote team, employee travel accounted for a large portion of our 2023 emissions. To calculate this impact, a team survey was conducted where employees were asked to detail their travel milage and method of transportation. 

Procurement
As is the case with most companies, procurement is a significant contributor to Scope 3 emissions. We included online purchases, gifts, meals purchased for team members, and company-owned electronics in our calculations. When emissions information about the exact product was not available, our team found a product of a similar material and weight.

Verdical Group’s purchasing and waste policies greatly help to mitigate our footprint as the company grows. We encourage the purchase of green, third-party certified products and choose green shipping options whenever possible. We encourage all employees to return company apparel and merchandise that they are not interested in keeping at the end of their employment so that we may reuse and/or recycle branded items. We recycle, compost, and dispose of e-waste properly. We also encourage employees to re-use items such as boxes, paper, and packaging when possible. We strive for an entirely paperless work environment, keeping all documents electronically and recycling any printed materials when they are no longer needed. We aim to conduct our business so as to create as little waste as possible, targeting 90% waste diversion from landfills. 

Employee Home Offices
As mentioned above, employee home office footprints were one of the aspects we were most excited to include for the first time in our 2023 calculations. To measure this, we sampled employees who lived in apartments and houses and had them calculate their total greenhouse gas emissions using Zero Tool. We then multiplied the average values for apartments and homes by the number of employees living in each housing type. That gave us an estimated total emissions for the year.

We then assumed that 8 out of 24 of the hours per day were dedicated to working in order to determine the portion of greenhouse gasses that were emitted during the workday from their space. We used 365 days (every day, versus just our Monday – Friday work week), which is extremely unlikely but helped to avoid any under-estimation due to employees working over 40 hours per week.

The Breakdown
Our 2023 footprint breakdown is included below, along with an overview of how it compares to our historical footprint. We invite you to contact us at hello@verdicalgroup.com for additional information and to learn more about how Verdical Group can support your organizational carbon accounting initiatives.