Making our events carbon neutral
All our activities produce carbon dioxide, CO2, in one form or another, from the cars we all drive to the food we all eat. We want to make our races carbon neutral by planting trees which will absorb the same volume of CO2 that is created in relation to our events. We have started our own grove of trees which we will add to after each event.
Here is what we have included in our CO2 offsetting calculations;
- CO2 emissions from runners travelling to our events (97% total emissions). Based on the distance travelled to the race, calculated using average emissions data for the average vehicle. Train emissions data used when selected as mode of transport. Walkers and cyclists emissions shown as zero when selected.
- CO2 emissions from our own vehicles and office.
- CO2 emissions from medal production and shipping. The factory we use to produce our medals is powered by hydroelectric power stations, but we have included a standard figure here for electricity consumption.
- CO2 emissions from the production of the oranges, bananas, chocolate bars, other tasty treats and our cornstach cups. Taking into account the full life cycle effect from growing to when they arrive at our feed stations and finish line.
We will monitor our CO2 production over the course of the year and top up if necessary, but we feel pretty confident that planting 1 tree for every 20 registrations will cover all our CO2 production + 5/10%.
Trees For Life
We have chosen to off set our CO2 production by planting trees with Trees For Life. There are many schemes out there which offer carbon offsetting, some through the medium of tree planting, others via different means. We have chosen Trees For Life for several reasons;
- Trees For Life is a recognised project working in partnership with European Rewilding Network, Forestry Commission Scotland, National Trust Scotland the Woodland Trust and the RSPB so we have confidence this is a very well run venture.
- The selling point for our events is the amazing settings in which we hold them. Contributing to the restoration of a beautiful natural landscape fits well for us.
- Trees For Life is about restoring a forest to a natural state. These trees are self seeding which means they seed future generations naturally, without intervention from man. All trees eventually die and decay, but by supporting this project a tree will naturally appear to replace the tree that has fallen. Many tree planting schemes fell trees, use the wood and this may release the CO2 back into the atmosphere, which therefore requires new trees to be planted to sequester the same CO2. This is not the case with Trees For Life.
- This is about more than just planting trees, more than just sequestering CO2, Trees For Life is about restoring a whole ecosystem.
More on Carbon Offsetting
We have written more about our thought process and how we worked it all out on our Medium post.
An often levelled criticism of tree planting is that it doesn't address the core issue - it seeks to address the problem, not the cause. That as a planet we can't carry on producing CO2 to the same levels, and planting trees is putting a plaster on the issue. We broadly agrees with this statement. However, short of closing down our business - in which case runners would travel to other events anyway, who probably don't off set their CO2 production - we are not sure how to address this. What we can do, and what we will do is to continue to research ways to continue to make our events fundamentally more environmentally friendly.