To mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are incredibly excited to announce that Moneybox has signed the UN Climate Neutral Now Initiative and taken the steps to become a carbon neutral company! Over the past few months we have been working with UN Climate Change verified company, Alectro, to conduct an in-depth carbon footprint analysis of Moneybox. Our goal was to map our footprint, understand where our emissions are coming from and offset these by supporting a mixture of Gold Standard accredited and United Nations accredited Certified Emission Reductions projects from around the globe. Moneybox is the first UK fintech to sign the initiative. 

Becoming carbon neutral is something we’re really proud to have achieved. We believe that as individuals and as a business we all have a responsibility to work towards a more sustainable planet. Over the last few months, where countries across the world have been social distancing, we’ve seen the impact our behaviour is having on the planet, and how responsible, proactive actions can really make a difference. We always strive to be completely transparent with you, our users, about the choices we make as a business and our carbon footprint is no different. Take a look at our deep-dive into the project of making Moneybox carbon neutral.

 

Why carbon offsetting matters

In response to the critical threat of climate change, in 2008 the UK agreed a legally binding commitment to reduce national emissions by at least 80% compared to 1990 levels, by 2050. In 2019, this was upgraded to a 100% reduction target, and in the process the UK became the first major economy to pass a net zero emissions law. All around the world, nations have committed to reducing their carbon emissions in line with a target of keeping a global temperature rise below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5°C. 

 

Why becoming carbon neutral is important to Moneybox

The importance for everyone to act responsibly towards climate-related issues is now stronger than ever. We want to play our part in contributing to the UK’s net-zero emissions targets and global Paris agreement targets, through taking action to operate and grow Moneybox in a sustainable way. Our co-founders, Ben Stanway and Charlie Mortimer, put their full support behind this project. When Charlie’s 7-year-old daughter came home from school after learning about climate change and asked ‘what is Moneybox doing to change the world?’, it cemented his position to act now – “Achieving carbon neutral status has been an important mission for us, and it’s something we’re really proud to have accomplished so early in our journey as a company. As individuals and as a business we all have a responsibility to work towards a more sustainable planet.”

We are also exploring how we could help you, our community, work towards a carbon neutral future through offsetting. The next stage of our carbon neutral journey is understanding how we could help you achieve this – stay tuned.

How we measured our carbon footprint

We worked with Alectro, the carbon analytics company verified by UN Climate Change, to deliver our carbon offsetting programme. The project(1) consisted of an in-depth analysis of all Moneybox activities (including company events and office facilities), employees and suppliers, to map our carbon footprint and help us achieve carbon neutral status to the accredited standards. We ensured every offset met the toughest criteria(2) to have the largest impact possible.

 

 

What we found out 

Our analysis measured emissions related to everything from building facilities, work travel, to employee commuting, office coffee consumption and Moneybox social events.

 

We were very pleased to find out that our carbon footprint in 2019 was 0.84 tCO2e per employee(3) (prior to offsets).

This is a promising result when compared to the UK commercial average of 6.4 tCO2e per employee, and 2.8 tCO2e per employee in other financial and professional sector firms(4). Where most organisations face difficulty in working out where to cut emissions, our results show that we can proactively ensure this doesn’t breach set targets, and puts us in a strong position to manage our footprint going forward.

 

The Moneybox team’s commute 

We made the decision to count employee commute as a primary contributor to overall company emissions, although they’re considered Scope 3 emissions (lowest ranked) in the GHG protocol (see scope of work graph above) and are often left out of emission reports conducted by larger organisations. 

Our total employee commute turned out to be already quite environmentally efficient. Over 35% of our team live within 10km of the office, and almost 85% within a 30km radius. Of the ~450,000 kms commuted, 96% of these were low carbon (train, overground, underground, bus), and 14% were zero-carbon (walk or cycle). Driving accounted for 17.5% of emissions, despite being only 4% of journeys.

 

The Moneybox diet 

Food and drink are an important part of the culture at Moneybox. We provide our team with kitchen supplies such as coffee, milk, fruit and snacks (as well as some alcoholic drinks available on Fridays!). We analysed spend data on internal and external (supplier) consumption and found that overall, ~24% of our total company footprint came from food and drinks.

 

We’re proud to support local and sustainable companies for our office food and drink: 

  • Fruit is delivered twice a week from Mash, a totally waste-free local company 
  • Coffee is supplied by Pact who operate on a Direct trade model, paying coffee farmers directly at 25-125% over Fairtrade rates 
  • Milk is 100% British milk delivered from local dairies via Office Groceries.

 

Life in the Cloud

Being a technology company, we are aware the electricity consumption of using the cloud is large, but we also know the emissions don’t have to be. Cloud computing is controlled by key companies, most of whom have committed to reducing emissions. The most ambitious of these commitments is from Microsoft who’ve said that by 2050 they will have removed all the carbon they’ve ever emitted. We use Microsoft Azure cloud computing technology, meaning that the technology we need to operate is resulting in the lowest impact as reasonably possible. Data centre calculations are very difficult to analyse accurately. Official carbon footprint scope analysis also doesn’t require them to be included when they’re cloud-based, so this was not included in our project scope. However, in our report, Alectro made an estimation that our emissions are 2.5 – 4.5 tCO2e/year.

 

What was the outcome? 

To offset our total company carbon footprint of 49 tCO2e, we have committed to support four charitable projects that sit within the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). All Moneybox employees were asked to vote on their top three goals (out of a possible 17), which provided our team and Alectro with the right guidance for which projects to support.

The Moneybox team’s top voted goals

  1. SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. SDG 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  3. SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Find out more about the United Nations SDGS.

 

Offset projects

We then chose the projects that best targeted these SDGs. This year, we are proud to offset our carbon footprint by supporting three Gold Standard projects and one PacificHydo project.

 

Safe Water Access in Rwanda

Offset: 13 tCO2e

CO2balance works with local groups and NGOs in Rwanda to deliver clean, safe water by identifying and rehabilitating broken-down boreholes. An ongoing maintenance programme, alongside water sanitation and hygiene training, ensures a safe and reliable community water supply is maintained. Each of the 12 micro-projects under this programme prevent 10,000 tonnes of CO2e emissions.

 

100 MW Wind Power Project at Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

Offset: 13 tCO2e

This 100 MW wind power plant, supported by Orange Renewable, is located in the district of Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh, India. The project consists of 50 Wind Turbines of 2.0 MW each generating clean electricity. To ensure the best possible outreach to the community, the project has a dedicated site team that works exclusively on engaging local stakeholders. The goal behind this project is to generate over 215 GWh of clean energy and positively impact the lives of local communities.

 

WithOneSeed Timor-Leste Community Forestry Programme 

Offset: 13 tCO2e

WithOneSeed community forestry program, developed by xpand Foundation, is the first social enterprise acting on climate change through community lead forestry in Timor-Leste. It is dedicated to improving the resilience of subsistence communities to make environments sustainable, to end poverty and hunger, to deliver open education and to create regional partnerships.

 

Chacaves Hydroelectric Project, Chile

Offset: 10 tCO2e

Chacayes run of river hydro project is a 111 MW power plant located in the Cachapoal Valley of Chile. Operating since 2011, it has played an important role meeting the country’s increasing demand for electricity, reducing CO2 emissions and contributing to the economic growth and sustainable development of local communities.

 

What’s next? 

While our emission results put us in a strong position to manage our footprint going forward, we will continue to explore ways that we can reduce our existing carbon footprint in everything we do by maintaining a focus on recycling, low levels of business travel and choosing suppliers with a similar transparent and proactive approach. 

As a component of the project, we have signed the UN Climate Neutral Now Initiative, becoming part of a community of more than 300 organisations committed to working towards a carbon neutral world. The initiative sets out three principles for organisations and individuals: measure, reduce and offset. By becoming a signatory, and the first UK Fintech company to sign the initiative, we hope to encourage more young companies from the UK and around the world to take climate action early on and to grow their businesses in a responsible and sustainable way. 

 

1The project with Alectro was undertaken in the period between January and February this year, based on qualitative and quantitative data gathered from the period between 1 January to 31 December 2019. 

2Emission profiles were measured in line with the GHG Protocol Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, measuring and reporting Scope 1,2 and 3 emissions to globally embraced standards.   

3This uses an average value of 58 employees throughout 2019, calculated from monthly employee data 4Average carbon footprint from recognisable financial and professional sector firms. Carbon emissions obtained from well-publicised data. Source – Alectro (http://alectro.io/)

For more information about the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) initiative, Climate Neutral Now, visit: www.ClimateNeutralNow.org 

For more information about Earth Day 2020, and to provide your support to fight climate change please visit https://www.earthday.org/donate/