To be net positive or carbon positive means that one is removing more carbon from the atmosphere than is emitted.
In 2012, Verdical Group’s Founder & CEO Drew Shula set out with the mission of inspiring an equitable net zero future for all people, now. Fast forward to 2021, and Verdical Group officially surpassed net zero to become a carbon positive company, offsetting our entire historical carbon footprint, plus an additional 10%.
That means that beyond negating the harmful effects of carbon generated by our daily operations, Verdical Group is now contributing positively to the environment. As more and more companies commit to achieving net zero (and beyond), we’ve been getting the same question a lot -- how did we get here?
In order to look ahead to decarbonization, we first had to look back at our historical carbon footprint and meticulously calculate our operational carbon emissions. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard outlines the three scopes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that go into a carbon footprint:
- 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.
By calculating our emissions across all three of these scopes, we were able to obtain a snapshot of our historical carbon footprint dating back to Verdical Group’s first days in founder Drew Shula’s garage. Our calculations found that between 2012 and 2021, our company emitted roughly 111.38 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, about the same as the emission of 24.2 passenger vehicles driven for one year. (You can read about the specifics here.) About 90% of these emissions came from Scope 3, the majority of which can be attributed to employees’ travel and commutes. In 2020, our operational carbon emissions dropped more than 80% as a result of the shift to remote work, a model we are still employing today.
Empowered with this knowledge, the first – and most important – step was to implement policies (like that permanent shift to remote work) to reduce our emissions on the front end. Initial reduction is always the most effective way to approach carbon neutrality. Next, we moved forward into offsetting any remaining contributions. 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. In addition, Verdical Group divested entirely from fossil fuels and pledged not to accept work from any companies who earn the majority of their revenue from the fossil fuel industry.
In addition to continuing to minimize and offset carbon footprint, our next step is to educate and support our community. If you’re interested in tackling your own journey to net positive, but are unsure where to start, we’d love to connect with you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or join is at our annual Net Zero Conference to learn more!