Carbon Offsetting- Going Neutral
The 'Going Neutral' Service
In an era of heightened consumer awareness concerning the environmental performance of companies, increasing numbers of organisations are choosing to actively demonstrate their green credentials through a number of initiatives. Recognising that most companies require some support and help to attain their eco-friendly goals, the Bureau has developed a unique and pioneering service to work with companies and organisations operating in Uganda to go carbon neutral and to reduce their impact on the global climate, thereby helping to mitigate climate change.
Our innovative ‘Going Neutral’ service helps organisations to measure their carbon footprint - the amount of greenhouse gas it emits - and supplies advice on steps to reduce this footprint by adopting energy use reduction measures, improving transport efficiency, and cutting down on wasteful practices. Any existing emissions that an organisation cannot easily reduce are then offset by purchasing emission offset carbon credits, equivalent to the organisation’s carbon footprint. These carbon credits are generally purchased from the Plan Vivo project, Trees for Global Benefits, which gives money from the sale of these credits to farmers planting trees in western Uganda, thereby preventing landslides and soil erosion while reducing atmospheric carbon and improving the farmers' incomes.
Benefits of 'Going Neutral'
There is a range of benefits in 'Going Neutral’:
• SAVING MONEY – by building awareness in an organisation’s staff about the amount of emissions and energy wasted in day-to-day operations. Investing in energy saving measures can cut annual operating costs substantially and often the initial investments of small interventions are recovered within the first few years.
• IMPROVING REPUTATION – by showing concern for the environment and the future of the organisation and planet. An organisation instils confidence in its clients about the services it provides while also reducing reputational risk by having green credentials, which is also attractive to investors and partners.
• ENHANCING THE WORKING ENVIRONMENT – cleaning up and greening the workplace can make the day-to-day running of an organisation more pleasurable. Employees gain valuable lifelong knowledge and habits on how to live in a more sustainable way in a world where lifestyle changes are urgently needed. We have also seen how this encourages and motivates staff to engage better with their workplace.
• REDUCES CARBON EMISSIONS – helping to combat climate change, which is the biggest threat our planet now faces.
• CONTRIBUTES TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – helping projects such as Trees for Global Benefits to fund activities such as tree planting and improving livelihoods in rural communities.
Going ‘Going Neutral’
The Bureau follows a multi-step process to assess an organisation's carbon footprint. An initial basic assessment is carried out to gauge the approximate emissions of an organisation and the cost of ‘Going Neutral’. Once an organisation decides to join the programme, Going Neutral, a full emissions audit assessment is carried out including suggested strategies for energy reductions and carbon management, as well as a description of suitable offsetting options.
Contact the Bureau today to get a free basic assessment of your organisation's carbon footprint, and advice on how you can take steps towards reducing climate change.
‘Going Neutral’ Clients
Some of the organisations that have used the 'Going Neutral ' service:
•Mihingo Lodge, Lake Mburo
•The Royal Danish Embassy, Uganda
•The Embassy of Ireland in Uganda
•The Kampala Aeroclub and Flight Training Centre (KAFTC) Uganda
•Vanilla (Uvan) Ltd
•The Karamoja Livelihoods Programme & the North Uganda Agricultural Livelihoods Recovery Programme (ALREP)
•Classic Africa Safaris
•The International Lifeline Fund
•The Sawlog Production Grant Scheme
•G&C Tours/Wild Frontiers Uganda
•Soft Power Education
•City of London
•Kilimo Trust and African Agricultural Capital
‘Going Neutral’ Testaments
The Kampala Aeroclub and Flight Training Centre (KAFTC) received recognition for its environmental efforts towards mitigating climate change in 2012. KAFTC is now the first aviation company in Africa to be fully carbon neutral after joining the Bureau’s Going Neutral programme. The Kajjansi airfield based aviation company gained full carbon neutral status, covering all the energy use in the company – from aircraft, vehicles and other ground operations.
Classic Africa Safaris a tour company which operates in Uganda and Rwanda, was the first company to become carbon neutral with the help of the Bureau. It first achieved a full carbon neutral status in 2009 and has renewed its commitment to include transport operations, company flight travel, office operations and staff commutes.
The Danish Embassy, Kampala achieved full carbon neutral status in 2010 with a 5-year agreement with the Bureau. This was the first diplomatic mission in Uganda to make such a visible commitment to taking action to avert climate change. As the Danish Ambassador, H.E. Nathalia Feinberg, said “This signals our commitment to take action and not just to preach the need for organisations to be more energy efficient. We are pleased at how positive and easy the whole process has been. We would like to see other embassies taking a similar step”. The Embassy's action is now starting to be felt among the diplomatic community as more members have approached UCB to help them achieve a carbon neutral position too.
Wild Frontiers Uganda has also joined the club for responsible and eco-friendly tourism. Wild Frontiers went “Carbon Neutral” on its safaris and Lake Victoria boat operations for the year 2011 by the purchase of carbon credits from the Plan Vivo project. "With the threat of climate change and its serious impacts on the planet, we chose to do our part by measuring what energy we use, trying to find ways of reducing it wherever possible. By offsetting our unavoidable emissions, we realise that while we need the vehicles and boats for our operations, we can still do our best to reduce their impact" says Jane Goldring, a Director of Wild Frontiers Uganda.
North Uganda Agricultural Livelihoods Recovery Programme (ALREP) and Karamoja Livelihoods Programme (KALIP). These two important livelihoods programmes being implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister with funding from the European Union, became carbon neutral showing their concern about the effects of climate change in these areas where they are working. We hope that other donor-supported programmes will make a similar commitment and recognise the impact climate change will have on their humanitarian programmes.
Semliki Rift Trading Company has recently initiated a voluntary carbon offset scheme for their customers. Semliki Rift is a private transportation and logistics company based in the Albertine Rift. All their customers are now given the choice to offset greenhouse gas emissions generated through the transportation of their goods, by purchasing the equivalent carbon credits from certified carbon credit providers in Uganda. We commend this pioneering initiative and hope that more companies will soon follow suit.