The Tshwane office of leading consulting engineering and infrastructure advisory firm Zutari practices waste segregation at the source. The funds from this recyclable waste have enabled it to purchase carbon offsets for some greenhouse gas emissions from the reputable Gold Standard.
“The recycling centre has also created full-time employment for a disabled individual from a disadvantaged background,” explains Sonja de Klerk, Lead of Quality, Environment and Sustainability. “This innovative approach enables us to promote a circular economy and climate change awareness simultaneously.”
Gold Standard was established in 2003 by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and other international NGOs to ensure projects that reduce carbon emissions adhere to the highest levels of environmental integrity and contribute to sustainable development.
The so-called Gold Standard for the Global Goals was launched with the adoption of the Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, a best practice standard for climate and sustainable development interventions.
While the purchased offsets will not make Zutari entirely carbon neutral, it is sufficient to offset any emissions produced in several countries where the company operates for the 2022 financial year, explains de Klerk. The carbon footprint for the 2023 financial year (ending 30 June 2023) will be calculated soon, and Zutari again plans to procure carbon offsets with funds generated through recyclable waste.
Zutari and its heritage company have measured their carbon footprint since 2014. They have conducted various campaigns to sensitise staff about the emissions they produce through their daily work and how these can be reduced. “The first prize is always to avoid or reduce emissions, rather than offsetting them afterwards,” highlights de Klerk.
However, emission avoidance is not always possible. Zutari has therefore begun the journey to offset its Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. The Gold Standard projects selected by Zutari for offsetting purposes reveal its commitment to the continent and its people.
The Kenya Biogas Programme supports Kenya’s endeavours to develop a commercially viable biogas sector. It facilitates the funding of biodigesters for families, particularly in rural environments. Domestic biodigesters provide a way for households with livestock to reduce their dependence on polluting firewood and expensive fossil fuels.
In the longer term, Zutari plans to expand the offsetting of the carbon emissions arising from its operations. However, the most significant impact it can have on climate change and the circular economy approach remains through its projects.
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