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Carbon Neutral Shipping, As Standard

Carbon Neutral Customer Shipping, As Standard

In 2021, we purchased verified offsets to achieve carbon neutral customer shipping. Alongside reducing our emissions, we will commit to doing this every year, from here on. Read on to find out why and how we did it.

As our key step towards carbon neutrality in 2025, this year, for the first time, we have offset emissions for all customer shipping. This means that from now on, whenever you shop with us online, we’ll support projects working to address climate change across the globe.

The full range of actions we’re taking to improve our impact can be found here.

WHY NOW?

Having committed to becoming a carbon neutral company by 2025, we’re starting with customer shipping for three key reasons. First and foremost, we know that our customers are environmentally conscious so offsetting emissions from shipping, along with changing our packaging, is one way we’re improving the impact of shopping with us. Secondly, we’re a global brand serving cyclists around the world so we need to take responsibility for our operations. Finally, although we work with leading third party carriers who are working to reduce emissions, we are not able to directly accelerate this transition so offsetting our emissions is the best way of making inroads in this area.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM:

It’s important to establish that carbon offsets alone are not going to suitably address the challenge of climate change. Over the years, carbon offsetting has gained a mixed reputation as it can allow big polluters to simply treat their environmental footprint as a tax. At Rapha, we know that the most important work is to reduce our emissions but offsetting and achieving carbon neutrality helps us contribute to the broader, global challenge of climate change by getting much needed funds into the hands of people implementing climate solutions.

WHAT IS CARBON NEUTRALITY AND WHAT ARE OFFSETS?

Offsets, also known as ‘carbon credits’, are a way to financially support projects that seek to limit or even reverse global warming through means that range from planting trees to installing wind turbines. By speeding up the development of these projects, an organisation can ‘offset’ the negative impact of its carbon emissions. Any organisation that balances their negative impact (carbon) with the same amount of positive impact (offsets) is said to be ‘carbon neutral’.

Because offsets need to be purchased, committing to carbon neutrality effectively puts a price on carbon. This means that those who emit have to pay the price and those who reduce, remove or avoid carbon emissions are paid for their work. Considering the limited time we have to address climate change, this process is useful because while activities that release carbon into the atmosphere are well established and effectively have a head start, the projects that counter these emissions are only just getting going.

WHO WE ARE SUPPORTING:
 

To offset our emissions, we have purchased carbon credits that support seven projects around the world. Each of these projects are verified to ensure they meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance. To be included in the offsets scheme, each project has also proven ‘additionality’, which means they provide a service that would not exist under usual circumstances.

Projects we have supported in 2021 are:



We’re also thinking about the future, planting trees in areas closest to our customers, starting this year with:

CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS:

Committing to achieving carbon neutral customer shipping means that each year we will calculate the emissions from delivering our products, starting at our distribution centres and ending with our customers before purchasing offsets to match this figure. We’ll be doing this every year from 2021 onwards, without passing the cost on to our customers.

For the 2020 period, we estimated our emissions arising from customer shipping to be equivalent to 3,239 tonnes of CO2. One of our carriers, DPD, already offset their own emissions, which accounted for 370 tonnes. After deducting these offsets from our total, we are left with the equivalent of 2,869 tonnes of CO2 to offset to achieve carbon neutrality.

Of the total 3,239 tCo2e we calculated, 1,611 tCo2e came from additional considerations, mainly accounting for the full petrochemical supply chain (well to wheel), and radiative forcing associated with emissions from air freight. The proportion these adjustments contribute to the total show the importance of including these elements when assessing an organisation’s carbon footprint.

To ensure our calculations are accurate, we are working with an independent advisor, ClimatePartner, that verifies our methodology, estimates and offset purchases. You can see the full list of offsets purchased here.

WHERE WE’RE GOING FROM HERE:
 

Offsetting customer shipping for 2020 is a key step of our journey towards carbon neutrality, which we have committed to achieving across our business by 2025. Between now and then we will keep working towards our Impact Commitments and continue to explore ways of reducing emissions with our couriers, all whilst sharing what we learn with our customers along the way.

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