The enterprise making carbon neutrality possible for charities
1 November 2021 at 5:06 pm
“We’d like to see all NFPs carbon neutral by 2030”
For many charities, the path to reducing their carbon footprint is tricky and expensive. But a new organisation is out to change this.
The Zero Together platform sells itself as a cost-effective option to help charities prepare, measure, reduce and offset their greenhouse gas emissions.
The CEO of Zero Together, Paul Bird, told Pro Bono News that with one in 10 people employed by the charity sector in Australia, there was a massive opportunity for these organisations to make a difference to the country’s transition to a zero-carbon world – and help the success of their organisation in the process.
“Staff, donors, funders and stakeholders want their organisation to be environmentally responsible given the climate crisis we face. They want to be part of the solution, not adding to the problem,” he said.
At the moment, organisations can only be certified as carbon neutral via the government-backed Climate Active certification, awarded to businesses and organisations that have met the requirements to achieve net zero carbon emissions – a process that costs between $20,000 and $30,000.
Partnering with sustainability firm, Point Advisory, the Zero Together platform aims to offer an alternative, with support for charities to certify as carbon neutral.
What does carbon neutral mean?
To become carbon neutral, businesses and organisations must calculate the greenhouse gas emissions generated by their activities, such as fuel or electricity use and travel. They reduce these emissions as much as possible by investing in new technology or changing the way they operate.
Any remaining emissions can be “cancelled out” by purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offset units are generated from activities that prevent, reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions from being released into the atmosphere. When the offsets purchased by an organisation equal the emissions produced they are carbon neutral.
With over 25 years experience in the charity sector, Bird said he has designed the platform specifically for time and resource poor organisations, with everything from policy templates, to an online emissions calculator, actions to reduce emissions, and accredited community-based offsets available in one place.
“I know in my experience a lot of NFPs want to [reduce their carbon emissions], but they are up against the barriers of time, knowledge and cost,” Bird said.
“And at the moment, it is very costly because you’ve got to use commercial providers. And even when you do go with commercial providers, they only give you the software, they don’t explain it.”
Setting targets for a better world
While Zero Together encourages organisations to set their own emissions reduction targets, Bird said they were pushing for all organisations to aim for at least a 50 per cent reduction by 2030.
“I mean, we’d like to see all NFPs carbon neutral by 2030, because we all think 2050 is way too long,” he said.
There are currently 20 organisations signed up to the platform. Membership costs $2,000 a year, or $1,000 for smaller charities.
Zero Together will officially launch in a month’s time.
If you are interested in registering your interest, check out their website here.