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Part 3: The Benefits of the Contribution Model

2023. 07. 19.

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Claire Ellicott

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So far

In our last two blog posts we discussed the flaws within the compensation model and introduced a new type of approach “the contribution model

Compensation often leads to…

  • Greenwashing claims: leads to customer distrust

  • Offsetting CO2 emissions with low quality credits: ineffective climate action

  • Unclear carbon counting: inaccurate calculation of greenhouse gasses

In this post, we will explain the benefits of the contribution model and how this methodology offers solutions to solve these current problems and how it serves a greater impact towards our climate.

Here are the benefits:

If you are considering using the contribution model to improve the state of our climate then here are a couple benefits to sway you out of the outdated compensation model.

Transparency

One of the greatest things you can do as a company is to be transparent, especially when it comes to carbon counting and the climate projects you contribute towards. Companies using the compensation model often end up miscounting emissions and then compensating the incorrect amount of emissions with projects that don't make any real impact - causing them to be at risk of greenwashing.

Companies using the contribution model report their support to the climate protection project separately from their own value chain with avoidance and reduction plans set in place. No claim is made towards product- or company-level net-zero. Allowing companies to remain away from these accusations of greenwashing along with enhanced customer trust and real climate impact.

Putting the Environment First

If we can admit that we are facing a global problem and collectively put forth effort to help then real climate impact can be made. It’s important to emphasise the importance of avoidance and reduction practices, this should always come first (after a detailed and accurate GHG calculation). Climate contributions complement reduction/avoidance actions in order to accelerate efforts of accomplishing the United Nations goal to be within 1.5°C global warming.

Contributing has countless benefits for our climate, there are several kinds of projects your company can choose to invest in. The type of project you decide to contribute towards determines the climate impact it will serve. For example, forest projects sequester carbon to mitigate climate change, preserve biodiversity, prevent flooding and land degradation, conserve soil, all while being a place for recreation and leisure. Contributions can also be made without a focus on carbon, but focussing for example solely on biodiversity. They could even be an investment into nascent technologies via buying credits from Direct Air Capture (DAC), a key piece of technology that has high potential for carbon removals, but currently has prohibitively high costs.

Social Impacts

It is a crucial time to start implementing climate action plans to save the state of our planet. It’s especially important that we make systemic change in the way greenhouse gas emissions are currently being compensated for. The United Nations has called for powerful action to reach the SDGs and deliver meaningful progress for the planet by 2030.

“Unless we act now, the 2030 Agenda will become an epitaph for a world that might have been” – António Guterres, Secretary-General, United Nations

When more companies make it known that they are making a positive climate impact by contributing to high quality climate protection projects it influences other companies to do the same. Being educated about the state of our climate and how to take action will get us to a thriving and habitable planet in the future, creating awareness inside and outside of the company.

Tree.lys Benefits

With Tree.ly, your company is choosing to unlock the full potential of European forests, not only buying credits to get your company to “Net Zero”. Contributing to Tree.ly’s forests means you create a significant and measurable climate impact, but again, it’s best to avoid and reduce emissions first. Tree.ly is aware of the constant greenwashing therefore we avoid this at all costs. The project methodology (SILVACONSULT® Forest Carbon Standard) is based on ISO 14064:2. The projects are then certified by TÜV and visited annually to ensure that real climate action is happening.

What now? Summary and Outlook

  • Transparency leads to enhanced customer trust while remaining away from greenwashing accusations

  • Instead of focussing only on getting your company to “carbon neutral” admit that we’re dealing with a global problem.

  • Becoming educated yourself is the first step – once you are aware of the problem you can encourage others to become aware of the global problems we face and then take action

In the final part of our miniseries we discuss how your company can implement this contribution approach. Focusing on the four pillars to get your company to a climate industry leader: reporting, reduction, taking financial responsibility, advocacy and engagement.

Go to part 4 here