To Net Zero and Beyond
By Claire Bisson & Madison Perry
Verdical Group has not only offset our entire carbon footprint for 2021 to achieve net zero, but exceeded that by an additional 10% to maintain our status as a net positive company. The move follows a 2021 step to offset our historical emissions dating back to the company’s founding in 2012, plus 10%, to achieve net positive. Read more about that journey here.
At Verdical Group, we are dedicated to creating a positive social and environmental impact. As we know, human activity is responsible for climate change, and our goal is to work toward building a net zero future. Each day, Verdical Group’s growing team of 20 individuals works to solve the climate crisis and reduce the carbon emissions associated with the built environment. But, like all companies, even we have a carbon footprint. Our operations are designed to reduce that footprint through our purchasing, travel, vendor, and various other policies, and employees aim to do the same in their personal lives. We are proud to ‘practice what we preach.’ The first step to reducing our carbon footprint is to reduce impact on the front end; purchasing well-vetted carbon offsets to capture the rest helps to fill in the remaining gaps. The extra 10% allows us to offset emissions for other companies that may not be watching their impact as closely.
“While many companies are kicking the can down the road and making carbon reduction commitments 10, 20, or 30 years from now, we’re incredibly proud to have already offset our entire company’s scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon footprint, plus 10%, going all the way back to day one of the company founding in 2012,” says Verdical Group’s Founder & CEO, Drew Shula. “We have committed to offsetting our entire carbon footprint into the future as well. It feels great to be an environmentally restorative company, but we’re angry that this is a rare and special achievement. Honestly, it wasn’t that hard or costly to accomplish net positive. We hope every company out there will follow our lead and take climate action today.”
Sustainability Starts with the Individual Employee
To achieve our company goals, Verdical Group has implemented policies dedicated to helping our employees and company operate more sustainably. Verdical Group’s Senior Operations Manager, Matt Millikin, shared some tips for anyone looking to reduce their front-end impact, based on our purchasing policy:
“Energy and resources are consumed to make, sell, and ship everything we buy and use, so first reduce the amount of ‘stuff’ used in your office. Whenever possible, reuse tools and products you already have, before requesting support or new items for the office. When disposing of anything at the end of its lifecycle (be it paper, cardboard, or e-waste), ensure that you have recycled it in the best way possible.”
Our handbook provides in-depth instructions on how to recycle different products, what features to look for in lower-impact products, and even asks that any VG-branded items be returned if damaged or no longer of use to avoid waste. Our travel policies, including a stipend for those who use public transportation and carpool to attend work events, stress the importance of limiting emissions by planning efficiently. These policies emphasize Verdical Group’s idea that to be a positive example of a sustainable organization, each individual employee needs to do their part.
Shula emphasized it is not enough to stop at achieving net zero, and our company is proud of going above and beyond. Employees at Verdical Group are passionate about sharing information related to climate change and reducing carbon emissions, and understanding how this knowledge can be used in employees’ professional and personal lives. Verdical Group team members regularly recommend environmentally friendly products or habits to each other, carpool to team events, and share the latest green articles.
Verdical Group’s Director of Projects, Rebecca Ramsdale, readily shares examples of ways she leads a low/zero waste lifestyle and encourages others to do the same:
“I recommend taking a phased approach and swapping out products and processes one by one. For example, start in the kitchen; once your plastic wrap runs out, purchase compostable beeswax wraps, find your nearest refill store to support local businesses, bring your own containers, and buy in bulk. Before purchasing a product, consider — do you really need it, does it really need to be shipped the same day, and how it will be disposed of when it reaches the end of its useful life? Collectively we can all make a positive impact and demand change by voting with our dollar!”
Verdical Group’s Positive Impact
In accordance with our company mission, Amazon’s Climate Pledge, and the B Corp Climate Collective, we are excited to share that Verdical Group has officially offset the year 2021 and is continuing the tradition of reducing and then offsetting remaining emissions to demonstrate to our community that they too can have a positive impact.
Overall, Verdical Group’s carbon footprint has increased over our history, parallel with our growth in employees and resources. The above graph represents our carbon footprint breakdown for 2021.
Of the five contributors to Verdical Group’s carbon footprint, purchased electricity, a Scope 2 emission, was the highest at 37%.
Scope 3 emissions, indirect emissions that occur, were the most significant of the three. Employee commute and procurement contributed 26% and 22% respectively, while waste disposal had the least amount of emissions contributing 6%.
The only Scope 1 emission (consisting of direct emissions, in our case on-site natural gas combustion at our office locations) had a minimal addition of 9%.
From these findings, Verdical Group is able to determine that reductions in Scope 2 and 3 emissions need to be prioritized in order for us to continue striving toward the most sustainable version of our company.
Verdical Group purchased Green-e Climate Certified Carbon offsets for our emissions, plus ten percent, for the year 2021 from the same long-time partner that we previously purchased our emissions back to 2012, Schneider Electric.
The goal for Verdical Group in continuing this tradition is to never be content with where we are, but to challenge ourselves to reduce our emissions as much as we can the following year. Verdical Group was founded on the idea that a net zero future is on the horizon, and we are proud to contribute positively while encouraging others to do the same. We hope that you will join us in building a net zero future.
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