Creating A Climate-Positive Company

Creating A Climate-Positive Company

By Amir Mortazavi Testing

In the past 35 years, we’ve seen the drastic effects of climate change. The past five years alone have been the planet's warmest years on record. With this rise in global temperatures, our oceans are absorbing the excess heat in our atmosphere, thus leading to more intense storms and rising sea levels. Climate change of this stature could force more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, according to a report by the United Nations.

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Unsustainable, polluting businesses are at the forefront of this climate catastrophe, irresponsibly and irreversibly causing environmental destruction, major public health concerns and geopolitical stress. Instead of being part of the problem, you can be a part of the solution by actively taking leaps to become a climate-positive company and community.

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I am excited to share how my company is currently taking this leap through rewilding, conservation, clean energy, zero waste, events and sustainable design — and how you can take the leap, too:

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1. Build a team focused on becoming climate-positive.

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You can start the process by appointing a chief sustainability officer, whether in-house or on a freelance basis, who will be in charge of all sustainability efforts. At my company, we appointed two different professionals to lead our sustainability initiatives and handle our monthly sustainability events. Once you have a team, you’re ready to begin the journey toward becoming climate-positive.

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2. Assess your organization's carbon footprint. 

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The next step your business must take is to figure out your yearly carbon footprint incurred by employees and operations. There are many services out there to help you with this. We partnered with a company that helped us learn that each of our employees contributes to approximately 1 carbon ton per year while in the office. With 400 members and employees, that set our carbon footprint at 400 carbon tons. Becoming climate-positive means giving back more than you take, which for us meant that our new goal was to offset 800 carbon tons yearly.

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3. Develop partnerships that help move you toward your climate-positive goal. 

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Once you have a tangible goal, spend time developing partnerships with environmental conservation and reforestation leaders who can help you offset your carbon emissions through the support of various projects.

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When establishing these partnerships, it is imperative to ask how these organizations oversee the progress of each project to ensure they are credible and effective. Your partners should thrive on transparency and provide real-time photos and videos that track each project’s progress.

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4. Use renewable resources. 

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In addition to offsetting carbon emissions for each employee, a company’s travel footprint can often be one of the largest culprits. With that being said, be sure to include such business travel emissions in your total offset.

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Another thing we realized is that energy consumption, construction and shipping items are other large offenders in creating carbon emissions for a business. This is why we have chosen to power our facilities with 100% renewable solar and wind energy. Contact your local natural gas representative to find out about opportunities in your area that use these renewable resources.

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5. Build your office with a timeless design. Design your spaces to be as timeless as possible by using solid and durable materials of the highest quality that are created to age with grace and last for generations. The goal is that you should never have to replace any furniture pieces. I believe timeless design is sustainable design, which in the long term will save you money and time (all while saving the planet).

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6. Engage your community and employees. 

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Finally, hold space to educate your community on the importance of living a sustainable life. Get them engaged by hosting tree-planting volunteer opportunities and climate-positive events. This invites important conversations around renewable energy, sustainable consumer products, reforestation and zero waste, to name a few.

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People are most receptive when they feel they have a voice in the process, so polling your employees and members to see what initiatives they want to support can help create a sense of ownership. Remember that at first, it’s way more about the quality of these engagements than the number of attendees. While you want these to be well attended, anything worthwhile can take time to gain traction, and when it does, people will organically spread the word as they connect with the cause.

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I realize these actions are no silver bullet in reversing the climate crisis. But I believe in positive forces for change, and I am hopeful that together, we have the power to help save the magnificent place we are fortunate to call home. Let's move toward a greener future — together.

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As Initially Posted on Forbes.