Companies are starting to pioneer plans to erase not just this year’s carbon footprint, but their historical carbon footprints as well.
Last week we reported on the Scottish brewery that's already carbon negative - removing more carbon from the atmosphere than it emits - but reckons it's still not doing enough; but now Microsoft has really upped the game.
When it comes to offsetting CO2 emissions, Microsoft has set a new precedent for companies around the globe by stating that simply offsetting more emissions than are produced each year is falling short on its obligation to the planet. The company has now committed to clawing back 100 per cent of its historical carbon footprint. In other words, Microsoft is going to capture an amount of carbon equivalent to all the carbon it has emitted since 1975, when Bill Gates founded the company.
Microsoft's position was unique when it announced this initiative, but now another company has followed suit: Denmark-based skylight manufacturer Velux, which plans to offset its emissions from the last 79 years to become “lifetime carbon neutral”.
How are these companies and, in time, hundreds more, going to calculate their historical emissions? That's a tough one as no methodology currently exists and, to make matters even trickier, past energy consumption data is also not available. But the good news is that both companies will feel obliged to publish their conclusions for independent scrutiny and, simultaneously, provide other companies with a working blue-print on how to make their calculations.
As part of its offsetting process, Velux is funding projects in Myanmar that protect forests that play a key role in biodiversity, and working with the World Wildlife Fund to support reforestation projects in Uganda.
“Looking beyond carbon neutrality and taking responsibility for historic emissions is a concrete expression of leadership through the ‘polluter pays’ principle,” says Marco Lambertini, the international director general at the environmental organization WWF, which is working with the company on the project.
Original source: FastCompany