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Part 4: 4 Steps to Become a Climate Change Leader

2023. 07. 31.


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Claire Ellicott

Photo of girl looking at trees

What we know now…

The state of our climate is not improving with the current compensation model. In order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, effective climate action measures need to be put in place. If you can align your company’s values with the contribution model and take action, this will help us reach the goal of 1.5°C. The contribution model recognizes that we are dealing with a global problem and puts forth effort to make a real climate impact.

Here are some of the benefits of the contribution approach:

  • Transparency: building customer trust and avoiding greenwashing accusations

  • Flexibility: choose what project you think best aligns with your company’s values

  • Positive social & climate impact: Encouraging others to be aware of the global problems we face and to take action, improving biodiversity and the longevity of ecosystems

If you like the sounds of these benefits, continue reading to learn how you can implement the contribution model into your business plan.

4 steps to become a climate change leader:

1. Calculate emissions for your entire value chain

The first step: calculate an accurate annual report of the total greenhouse gasses your company has emitted. An accurate calculation of your company's GHG emissions allows you to see where the majority of your emissions are coming from, be aware of the total impact your company has on the climate, and determine where emissions could be cut.

When calculating your emissions, you need to look at your entire value chain, not just your direct emissions. There is increasing regulatory pressure (to meet goals of the Paris Agreement) to take responsibility for Scope 3 emissions, which are the GHG emissions from your upstream and downstream value chain partners. That can be a massive cost, and you should start taking steps today to measure it and minimize it.

2. Reduce emissions throughout your value chain

After calculating your total emissions the next step is to reduce any climate-damaging emissions. In order to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement we must cut global greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 and reduce them to net zero by 2050 at the latest. Start with reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions to immediately lower your annual emissions.

Next, shadow price the cost-benefit of Scope 3 and start making initiatives to reduce these emissions like picking new partners based, in part on their GHG emissions, and encouraging existing value chain partners to reduce GHG emissions.

3. Take financial responsibility

After you have set your reduction plan in place the next step is to contribute toward climate protection projects. The long term goal is to go completely net-zero by 2050, but we understand it will take time to get there. In the meantime, start financing climate protection projects to take responsibility and improve your company's carbon footprint (“Money for Ton”).

Using the “phase-in” approach to take full financial responsibility for remaining GHG emissions will be the most efficient way for your company to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement. According to WWF, start by pricing 100 € for each ton of Scope 1 and 2 CO2e for emissions. Contribute this amount to a high-quality climate protection project of your choice.

Climate projects that address the crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and inequitable development are all factors that should guide you into picking the right project. The projects your company decides to invest in should include nature based solutions as well as technological innovations that deliver measurable climate benefits.

For Companies

4. Advocacy and engagement

The final step, climate advocacy. Invest in climate advocacy in order to maintain a regulatory environment that is favorable to the climate and your company. These additional investments should follow the four principles of being: globally/locally sensitive, consistently science-based, independently funded, and uncompromisingly transparent. Following these guidelines will ensure impactful climate advocacy, ability to communicate with confidence, and create climate change mitigation.

How can we help?

A motto at Tree.ly: “First avoid emissions, then reduce, and finally contribute to our local forest projects.” We understand that the most effective thing your company can do is reduce and avoid emissions. However, for those hard to avoid emissions you can contribute to a number of European forest projects. Your contribution ensures the preservation of local forests, promoting climate protection, biodiversity, and the regional economy. Your financial contribution is 100% reinvested in the forest, so the forest owner has the means to take additional measures to protect and create climate resilient forests.

What Now? Summary and Outlook

In conclusion, to become a climate leader is to use these recommendations for implementing the contribution approach into your company’s climate strategy. These steps lead to real climate impact along with innovations that create ambitious climate change mitigation.

  • Calculate an accurate annual report of the total greenhouse gasses for your companies entire value chain

  • Identify where majority of your emissions are and set a reduction plan into place

  • Take full financial responsibility for hard to remove emissions by financing nature based climate protection projects

  • Invest in climate advocacy to maintain a regulatory environment