Erasing our Carbon Footprint
Climate change through human action is undeniable and individuals as well as institutions have a moral obligation to contribute to mitigating it. For this reason, the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) has chosen to take responsibility for its carbon emissions and work towards becoming a carbon-neutral Centre.
Our Carbon Footprint
A Carbon neutral office
Beyond Offsetting: Actions to reduce our carbon emissions
The way forward: the centre's future plans
Our 2012 Carbon Footprint - Headquarters
Anthropogenic climate change is a fact and individuals as well as institutions have a moral obligation to contribute to mitigating it. As a research institution working in Sustainable Land Management and Research Development, ICRAF has a particular responsibility when it comes to climate change mitigation. In order to maintain credibility with donors and other stakeholders, the World Agroforestry Centre has decided to take responsibility for its own emissions.
Following the methodology and principles of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and World Resources Institute (WBCSD/WRI), ICRAF Headquarters has assessed its carbon footprint since 2010 and will continue to do so annually. The Centre is committed to making the results of the carbon footprint available to the public. A detailed analysis of the 2012 carbon footprint is now available.
During the 2012 assessment period, the greenhouse gas emissions arising from ICRAF Headquarters’ operations amounted to 2790 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e). The figure below summarizes ICRAF’s footprint by general activity.
In 2012 as well as in 2011, the largest proportion of greenhouse gas emissions arose from services provided by third parties. These accounted for 72% of the total emissions, 75% of which came from flights, hotel stays and taxis. Flights alone were responsible for close to 61.7% of ICRAF’s total emissions.
Other sources of emissions included direct emissions (17% of total emissions) comprising the use of diesel generators, company-owned vehicles, refrigerant gas losses and waste incinerated onsite. Emissions associated with imported electricity accounted for 11% of total emissions.
Between 2011 and 2012, ICRAF HQ's carbon footprint has increased by 179 tons which represents a growth of roughly 7%. This increase was majorly due to a significant increase of the number of long-haul flights. During the same time, ICRAF HQ has seen its total budget increase as well but only by 1%. It is interesting to see that the carbon footprint is not correlated much to the budget.
ICRAF HQ: A Carbon Neutral Office
On 1 January 2013, ICRAF Headquarters received its first certification as a CarbonNeutral® Office. The Centre is committed to maintaining this certification in the long term. The headquarters offset its emissions through the purchase of carbon credits from an external project. The selection of this project was based on three main criteria:
- A highly recognized quality standard on the voluntary carbon market (VCS)
- The provision of additional benefits for communities, including a distinct pro-poor strategy and a focus on livelihood improvements
- Sufficient carbon credits to offset the whole of ICRAF Headquarters annual carbon footprint
For this first year of its carbon neutral certification, ICRAF Headquarters selected the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya, which protects over 500,000 acres of forest, safeguards the wildlife migration corridor between two of Kenya’s largest national parks, and brings diverse benefits to surrounding rural communities.
Emission Reduction Actions at ICRAF HQ
While offsetting emissions at Headquarters is an important step, ICRAF is looking beyond just offsetting and towards reducing its carbon footprint in the long term. A number of green actions are already underway to reduce ICRAF Headquarters' carbon footprint:
Switching to LED
Rain-water harvesting system
High-technology video conferencing system
ICRAF strives to reduce emissions associated with travel through the use of the latest internet communications technologies. Virtual meeting technology (webex), video streaming and video-conferencing are increasingly used to enhance our collaboration across many locations. Recently, the Centre purchased video conferencing equipment for each of the main offices in West Africa in order to reduce visits by research and support staff to the region.
In 2013, ICRAF plans to overhaul the main video, audio and computer facilities on the Nairobi campus to provide high quality communication and collaboration services, with more incentive for staff to work from home offices and to cut down on travel.
The Way Forward
ICRAF is now looking forward and is implementing a climate change response strategy. The main objective in the near future is to extend the carbon footprint assessment to ICRAF’s regional offices, with the ultimate goal of achieving CarbonNeutral® Institution certification for the Centre as a whole.
In the meantime, ICRAF staff will be sensitized on small daily green practices in which they can participate, such as switching off lights and computers when not in use, using both sides of the paper when printing, and carpooling whenever possible.
Improving the carbon assessment process is also a top priority for ICRAF. The Centre will strive to reduce assumptions made during the assessment, in order to strengthen the accuracy of the carbon footprint.
Eventually, the Centre’s Headquarters and regional offices will put in place more GHG mitigation actions, with the hope of stabilizing or even reducing emissions as the organization grows.