Download the Full Impacts Report
The full report contains more about the participating companies, our calculation approaches, and the projects we supported by purchasing carbon credits.
The positive impacts of Austin’s first annual day of climate action for local businesses.
We’re CarbonBetter, a minority-owned sustainability consulting and energy logistics firm headquartered in East Austin. We help companies align what’s good for their businesses with what’s good for our planet. To celebrate Earth Day 2022 in Austin, we reached out to other Austin businesses to take a step toward a net-zero future with us through participating in a free day of climate action. We believe that progress comes step by step; a series of distinct choices and small changes create large shifts. We intend for this inaugural Earth Day Austin 2022 Impact Report to be the start of a regular rhythm of action, spurring on changes in the way business leaders advance sustainability initiatives in their businesses and the communities they serve.
Our goal for this day of climate action is to show that small steps by many add up to a big positive impact. The CarbonBetter Climate Services team donated time and resources to estimate and offset the operational carbon footprint of participating Austin businesses for Earth Day, April 22, 2022 at no cost.
“We want to make climate action more accessible for our local business community through this Earth Day event, because every step in the right direction matters.”Tri Vo, Founder & President of Carbonbetter
About the Participants
In total, CarbonBetter measured and offset the carbon footprint of 29 local businesses that requested to join us on this annual endeavor – all of whom are listed in the report. Whether on their first steps towards being more sustainable or actively exploring options for continuous improvement, these businesses – and the way they’re navigating sustainability in the context of a variety of industries – can inspire you to take action. Together we can influence the societal shifts necessary to fight climate change, and it starts with this one day of action.
The carbon impacts of participating community businesses and the positive impacts made through carbon offsetting are summarized in the downloadable full report.
We are excited to share that 62% of participating businesses are actively taking steps to address sustainability in their business, and of those that were not already actively taking steps, 64% said it is important to them to do so, but that they need more information on where to start. Of the businesses actively taking steps towards sustainability, 45% regularly employ waste and water reduction efforts, and they select partners with similar sustainability goals, while 48% regularly select sustainable packaging choices. Learn more about how participating companies are incorporating sustainability in their businesses in the downloadable full report.
We specialize in sustainability reporting
Measuring and reporting progress are essential parts of a sustainability strategy, and we empower clients to share their impacts in a traceable way with their customers, employees, and other stakeholders.Learn More
Want to be a part of next year’s free day of climate action for Austin businesses? Sign up now to be notified when we’re accepting new participants for Earth Day 2023.
Our Carbon Footprint
We have quantified the carbon emissions footprint of participating businesses from natural gas and electricity usage on April 22, 2022, producing a measurable, transparent, and traceable summary of their carbon impacts. Whether quantifying your impacts for a day or a year, we believe that carbon impacts and progress towards decarbonization should be shared in ways that reach your customers, competitors, and community. By sharing the carbon impacts of participating businesses and highlighting their successes, our goal is that the collective impacts will go beyond the numbers and enable participants to drive change.
There are many ways to calculate emissions, and there are a lot of assumptions and choices that you have to make. In whatever approach you choose, transparency and traceability are essential. To that end, we have documented the assumptions and key calculation inputs for Earth Day Austin 2022 in the downloadable full report.
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, in this case specifically carbon emissions, are grouped into Scopes. Scope 1 emissions are from direct combustion onsite and fleet vehicles. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from purchased energy. Scope 3 emissions are all other sources of emissions such as corporate travel and supply chain.
When evaluating climate impacts for Earth Day Austin 2022, we included Scope 1 GHG emissions from natural gas consumption and Scope 2 emissions from purchased electricity. To minimize the data-gathering effort and the complexity of the calculations for participating businesses, we excluded fleet vehicles, combustion of fuels other than natural gas, and Scope 3 emissions sources.
Total Earth Day Austin 2022 Carbon Impacts
In total, all participating Austin businesses emitted 2.48 metric tons of electricity-related GHG emissions and 0.9 metric tons of natural gas-related GHG emissions on Earth Day 2022, for a grand total of 3.38 metric tons of CO2e. Since one carbon offset credit is equivalent to one metric ton of GHG emissions, that necessitated the purchase of 3.38 metric tons of carbon offset credits and direct removals to match the emissions of all participating Austin businesses.
Carbon Offset Projects Supported
One of the most impactful and important ways to reduce carbon is to directly implement projects at your facility that reduce emissions. For a collaborative day of climate action like Earth Day Austin 2022, it would not be feasible to implement energy efficiency projects, improved equipment, or more efficient processes at the participating businesses.
Another way to reduce carbon impacts is to indirectly reduce emissions through carbon offsets, also known as carbon credits. If you buy one carbon offset, you have essentially balanced out 1 metric ton of your carbon emissions. Credits are created by either carbon sequestration (capturing carbon from the environment and storing it) or carbon avoidance (preventing carbon from entering the environment). Offsets are meant to “reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, increase the storage of carbon, or enhance greenhouse gas removal from the atmosphere.” (source) For Earth Day Austin 2022, participating businesses reached net-zero for a single day of operations through our offsetting efforts.
While it would have been ideal to choose carbon credits from projects close to home in Texas, we were limited to projects available on the marketplace from which we could purchase the appropriate volume of credits to match our Earth Day impacts. We wanted to invest in a diverse cross-section of projects to fund exciting technologies with valuable co-benefits. We selected the following projects to offset the emissions from participating Austin businesses on Earth Day 2022, but make sure to read the complete project stories in the downloadable full report:
Project 1: Restoring Biodiverse Forests
The “CO2OL Tropical Mix” project on the Gold Standard registry, with initial issuances of credits in 2014, is unique because it combines the production of high-quality hardwood timber and organic cacao with the sequestration of carbon via the reforestation of 7.5 million native trees. The process of combining traditional reforestation techniques with sustainable agricultural production is known as “agroforestry.”
Project 2: Pulling Pollution Out of the Air
While not a traditional carbon credit project generating certified offsets on a registry, Climeworks is leading the charge for direct air capture (DAC) of CO2, a technology that pulls CO2 molecules straight out of the atmosphere. Through Earth Day Austin 2022, we have invested in the removal of 500 kg of carbon from the atmosphere using Climeworks’ innovative DAC technology.
Project 3: Supporting Access to Clean Water
The “TerraClear Ceramic Water Purifier Project in Lao PDR” is on the Gold Standard registry, and had initial issuances in 2012. In 2018, UNICEF found that 86.3% of people in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic have E. coli in their household drinking water. This project has aided in the reduction of sickness and mortality in children and adults, improvement in youth attendance at school, and an increase in adult productivity in the region.
Project 4: Keeping Plastic Out of Landfills
The “Greentech’s Emissions Reductions from PET Recycling, Romania” project is on the Gold Standard registry, and had initial issuances of credits in 2020. This project is the first project in Europe to apply verified carbon credit methodologies for Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) recycling. The recycling operation minimizes GHG emissions that would otherwise be produced during the manufacture of virgin plastic products.
While measuring, reducing, and offsetting business emissions is essential for delivering proven results that mitigate climate change, no step in the right direction is too small. In just one day of climate action, 29 Austin businesses came together to offset over three metric tons of GHG emissions from operations on April 22, 2022. In doing so, these businesses helped fund four meaningful carbon offset projects around the world!
Involvement in our Earth Day Austin 2022 Impacts Report is just one way the local business community is advancing solutions to fight climate change. Participating companies shared that they are routinely considering the climate impacts of their decisions related to materials, packaging, manufacturing, and operations, and steps toward sustainability in all of these areas make a real difference. CarbonBetter helps clients of all sizes and at every stage of their sustainability journey make decisions like these, always celebrating and sharing progress over perfection.
The CarbonBetter team is already looking forward to Earth Day Austin 2023 to help even more local businesses reach net-zero for Earth Day, because every small step in the right direction helps create the societal shifts that will save our planet. Looking forward to joining our next day of climate action? Join the email list here.
Download the Full Earth Day Austin 2022 Impacts Report
Learn more about our impacts, participating companies, and the carbon offset projects we supported to get to carbon neutral for Earth Day.