Verdical Group Achieves Net Positive Across All Business Operations Back to Company Founding in 2012
By Kate Zeile
Here at Verdical Group, we are driven by the essential mission of building an equitable net zero future for all people, now. For us, net zero is much more than a mere buzzword in our industry – net zero drives each project we work on and every decision we make, because we understand it is the best path forward in creating a livable, sustainable future.
Every day, we urge our clients to push the boundaries in pursuing carbon neutral building projects and sustainable events. Now, it’s time for our small (yet mighty) company to “walk the talk” and achieve net zero carbon emissions in our own operations.
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 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.
Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 Emissions
The first step in achieving net zero was tracking and quantifying Verdical Group’s carbon footprint. We spent the last year building a framework to calculate our company’s operational carbon emissions, referencing the B Corp Climate Leadership: Measure What Matters Work Group – A Guide for B Corps guidebook and the internationally recognized standard, The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard.
A crucial step was categorizing Verdical Group’s operations into Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions. The GHG Protocol defines the three scopes as follows:
Scope 1: Direct GHG emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the company.
Scope 2: Indirect GHG emissions from the generation of purchased electricity consumed by the company.
Scope 3: Other indirect GHG emissions that are a consequence of the activities of the company but occur from sources not 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. Our Scope 2 emissions include the purchased electricity used at company offices. Our Scope 3 emissions include waste disposal at company offices, employee travel and commuting, and company procurement.
It was important to our team to be as granular as possible in our calculations to ensure accuracy and accountability. For example, we administered detailed transportation surveys to Verdical Group employees in order to calculate the carbon emissions associated with each individual’s commuting patterns. We also estimated the carbon footprint of all of the products purchased over the company’s history, from laptops to Post-it notes. Our estimates were obtained from reputable sources such as the US EPA GHG Emission Factors, the US EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM), and published life cycle assessments.
Overall, Verdical Group’s carbon footprint has steadily grown over its history, as we’ve hired more employees and expanded into new offices. Our annual carbon emissions have ranged from 2.2 metric tons in 2012 (when Verdical Group was just our Founder and CEO Drew Shula hustling in his unconditioned garage), to a peak of 26.76 metric tons in 2019 with two office locations and 12 full-time team members. As a result of the global pandemic, our carbon emissions dropped drastically to 4.65 metric tons in 2020, nearly reaching our 2012 levels. We expect they will remain low in 2021, despite adding a third new office, as many employees continue to work remotely.
Over our company’s nine-year history, we have emitted roughly 111.38 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. For reference, this is equivalent to 24.2 passenger vehicles driven for one year. The annual change and breakdown of our carbon emissions is detailed in the graphs below.
Our final analysis revealed several key takeaways. Roughly 90% of Verdical Group’s emissions are Scope 3, the majority of which can be attributed to employees’ travel and commutes. It’s clear that minimizing employee commutes is the single largest way to reduce our company’s carbon footprint. To exemplify this, Verdical Group’s operational carbon emissions were slashed by more than 80% in 2020 as a result of the pandemic-induced shift to remote work. Purchased Electricity in Scope 2 and Procurement in Scope 3 are our next largest contributors to emissions. These results underline the importance of investing in and installing clean energy sources and purchasing environmentally friendly products with minimal life cycle impacts.
The Journey to Net Positive
Having tracked Verdical Group’s historic carbon footprint, we have acquired valuable knowledge of priority areas for improvement. Calculating our carbon footprint will be an iterative process each year, and the results of our calculations will inform our operational patterns. Our goal will always be to reduce our carbon emissions. We will continue to take action to minimize our environmental impact, and we intend to offset any future carbon emissions in order to maintain our status as a net positive company.
We purchased Green-e Climate Certified carbon offsets for our emissions back to 2012 (plus that 10% surplus to become net positive) from our long-time partner, Schneider Electric. These third-party certified carbon offsets are sourced from several carbon mitigation technologies including landfill gas capture, N2O abatement, and renewable energy generation — all helping to advance the shift toward a carbon-free economy. Moving forward, Verdical Group will continue minimizing our carbon footprint and offsetting our remaining emissions to uphold our net zero commitment.
Verdical Group has imagined and strived for a net zero future since its origin, and we’re proud to be taking action. We hope that you will join us in building a net zero future.
Thinking about net zero? Do you have questions about how your company can calculate and offset emissions? Please contact us to learn more email@example.com.