As a company that uses energy to produce, manufacture and deliver our foods, we want to do our part to combat climate change. The carbon LCA (life cycle assessment) that we conducted gave us perspective on our overall carbon hotspots and demonstrated the importance of focusing on the farm. That said, we know it’s also important to do our part in areas under our direct control and where we have greater opportunity to influence change, namely, our office building, business travel, employee commutes and product manufacturers.
We’re committed to measuring and reporting our energy use and GHG emissions from these sources, and we continue to look for opportunities to inspire change at a systemic level within our company.This year we’re shifting our resources away from buying carbon offsets to working more directly with suppliers to make positive changes. While we believe that there is a place for carbon offsets, especially when working with an organization like NativeEnergy who supports the construction of new renewable energy, we want to focus more of our attention on working directly with suppliers to reduce impacts in our own supply chain.
We assess our greenhouse gas emissions according to the GHG Protocol, which is the most widely used international accounting tool for businesses to quantify and manage their greenhouse gas emissions. This year, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in our direct control and from purchased energy sources – also called Scope 1 and 2 emissions – increased. Given that our office size increased when we moved to Berkeley, this makes sense. However, we decreased our emissions on a normalized square footage basis thanks to our efforts in using more efficient energy equipment and lighting (we also achieved LEED Gold certification).
Our overall Scope 3 emissions – those that are not in our direct control – also increased. This overall number masks significant achievements made by some of our supplier partners. Our distribution center and repacker together achieved more than a 20% absolute reduction in their GHG emissions. For this and other sustainability accomplishments, we awarded one of them the inaugural Green Bernie Award. We are exploring additional opportunities to engage more directly with our manufacturing suppliers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
Back at the home office, for our employee commute Scope 3 emissions, we reduced GHG emissions by 23% since last year, thanks in part to employees’ actions, our more centrally located building, additional alternative transport options, and our commuter incentive program. We recognize that as our company’s sales grow, so too may our emissions. However, we’ll continue working to decouple this correlation and reduce our total amount of emissions.