05 Nov 2019 | 12.57 pm
New Carbon Offset Idea For SMEs
ChannelSight’s John Beckett launches Forestry Partners
05 Nov 2019 | 12.57 pm
Tech entrepreneur John Beckett, founder of ChannelSight, has unveiled Forestry Partners, billed as a social enterprise to help Irish SMEs offset their carbon emissions.
Beckett (pictured) says that c 30 Irish firms have committed to the concept, including Version 1, Distilled Media, SoapBox Labs, iCabbi and Phorest.
Forestry Partners says it has a 12-month roadmap to sign up 250 firms with the goal of creating at least 25,000 tons of CO2 equivalent offsets and achieving 200 acres of planted or committed trees.
Forestry Partners will give companies access to an online tool to track and calculate their emissions. These emissions are rated with a score and the company provided with a cost to plant woodlands to offset those emissions. Offsets are purchased and Forestry Partners certifies the offsets and details the specific woodland planted.
According to Beckett: “We believe this campaign is the first step to transitioning Ireland to become a global leader in the fight against climate change, led by the private sector in an inclusive, meaningful and enjoyable way while creating a lasting legacy of restored Irish woodlands.”
Ronan Percival, co-founder of Phorest, an early adopter, commented: “We were excited by the Irish Tech Goes Carbon Neutral idea as soon as we heard about it, and signed up immediately. The team in Phorest is really passionate about the environment and this scheme offered such a straightforward way for our company to have a positive, meaningful impact on climate change, much more so than if we just worked on a project independently ourselves. We’re delighted to support it.”
Speaking to Business Plus this week, John Beckett explained in more detail the setup of Forestry Partners.
Where are the trees going to be planted?
We are working with landowners all over Ireland to create new native woodlands. It’s our desire to work with communities to create new woodlands that can become a valued community resource as they grow – a lasting legacy that fosters biodiversity through the creation of new habitats, while also capturing carbon from the atmosphere.
Does Forestry Partners rent the land for planting?
We work in partnership with landowners who wish to create native woodlands on their property, while also acquiring land and placing the newly created forest in trust, where we can be sure it will be permanent.
What are the typical costs for an SME?
The cost depends very much on the type and scale of activity undertaken by the business. We have built tools that help businesses to understand what emissions they are responsible for – not only so we can offset them with planting, but also so the business can focus on reducing emissions in the future, for example by moving to a green electricity tariff, and taking less flights.
Technology and other office-based businesses typically have three main drivers of emissions: electricity/heat, mileage including commuting, and flights. A typical cost to offset the emissions created is less than €100 per person.
Is there a membership fee beyond the cost of the trees to be planted?
We are a social enterprise with our primary targets being impact-focused (i.e. planting trees) rather than profit-focused. Any profits that we make from our activity will be re-invested in the business to plant more trees.
We’ll be releasing an annual report detailing everything that we’ve achieved and where we spend the money we bring in. All our planting will be audited by third-party forestry companies so we understand and can communicate what we’re achieving.
In order to cover the costs of running the organisation we charge a membership fee based on the number of people in the organisation. For businesses of up to 100 people this is €1,000 per year.
What is the social enterprise angle to Forestry Partners?
We believe the best way to make it sustainable is to make it profitable. Any profits made on our activity will be ploughed back into the business to enable more impact to be achieved, and all our activities will be fully transparent.
The forests that we plant will be placed in a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG), with a mandate to ensure those forests are permanent. This means that even if the management company that is running campaigns like Irish Tech Goes Carbon Neutral don’t continue in business for the long term, the forests will be protected and permanent.