During the first year of the Impacts project, the Environmental Impact programme was focussed on establishing systems to collect existing information, such as the mileage of our delivery vehicles, and use them to calculate the CO2(e) outputs from our vegbox delivery scheme across year, gathering information about the driver-owned vehicles being used, and mapping changes as we introduced electric vans in summer 2020. This showed that during a period of massive demand with a 70% increase in monthly deliveries (comparing 2019 – 2020) we also reduced our CO2(e) emissions per delivery by 69%. These results are included in our 2020 Impact Report.
The -23 Challenge
Following the launch of our Bigger Plan in early 2021, with a built-in commitment to work towards Carbon Neutral and then Carbon Negative status, in June 2021 we published our Carbon Baseline, in the first step towards our plan for carbon negative status by March 2023.
As we move into the next stage of development described in our Bigger Plan, we have set ourselves a big challenge – to go further with our carbon reduction, faster than government targets, and to be net carbon negative by March 2023.
To achieve this, we will assess the emissions we are responsible for, defined under the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Standards as either Scope 1 (Direct emissions from owned or controlled sources), Scope 2 (Indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy), or Scope 3 (All other indirect emissions occurring in the supply chain). This summary sets out our main areas of carbon impact, and what we have calculated as our 2020 baseline emissions.
Scope 1: Vehicle Emissions, Deliveries
Since our veg box scheme became too popular to continue using a pushbike, our deliveries have been made by a team of drivers using their own vehicles, an approach which gave us flexibility to keep up with the growing demand and geographic reach, but which also made it difficult to account for and reduce emissions.
Since January 2020 we have been introducing electric vans which, combined with the introduction of new route-planning software, has enabled us to reduce CO2e emissions per mile by 69%.
Based on the mileage and emissions ratings for the driver-owned vehicles in our delivery fleet, in 2020 this added 13.56 tonnes of CO2e to our 2020 emissions.
Scope 2: Electricity
We currently buy our electricity from Ecotricity, who supply power from renewable sources. However, because all UK electricity comes through the National Grid and comes from a mix of sources, there is still a carbon load, which can be broken down by region, and in Southern Scotland the average carbon intensity for 2020 was 0.025 per kw/h.
Based on the electricity used in our Govanhill shop, this equated to 2.23 tonnes of CO2e in 2020.
Scope 2: Gas
Currently we use gas in our Govanhill shop for heating and cooking. Although provided by Ecotricity, who are funding a long term development project for producing green gas, any gas used in the UK has a fixed carbon load which is calculated at 0.184kg per kw/h.
Based on 2020 usage, this adds 12.9 tonnes of carbon to our overall footprint.
Scope 3: Waste & Recycling
We use Changeworks, an Edinburgh based social enterprise which recycles and reprocesses waste from all our sites. This includes food waste, cardboard, and glass, and we are provided with monthly statements showing waste types by weight and by CO2e saved by recycling.
Alongside this, there is also a monthly figure for waste which cannot be recycled, with a CO2e calculation. In 2020 the total figure across the whole business was 6.05 tonnes.
Based on these four key indicators, our baseline calculation for 2020 is that our activities have led to 34.75 tonnes of CO2e to be accounted for. As we open more sites, our overall emissions will also rise, and we will factor these changes into our future calculations.
Having established our baseline figures, our focus will be to work across all our sites and services to develop action plans to ensure we are doing everything possible to reduce emissions. We will widen our scope to explore upstream and downstream activities, working with customers and producers to give us insights into carbon loads across produce lifespans, and identify our role in reducing these overall impacts.
We will also measure the positive impacts of our work, for example the land management approaches we use on our growing sites, to count towards our offsetting goals as we calculate our overall CO2e totals.