My four-year-old son is developing a new obsession for David Attenborough-style TV documentaries, and has discovered a channel on Sky called Eden, which runs these shows all day, every day. All well and good I thought; he’ll learn a bit about the planet to impress the teachers with. But then he turned to me and asked the killer question about what’s going to happen to our planet if too much CO2 builds up.
I used to hear other people talking about acting on climate change in the interests of future generations, and thought it all sounded a long way off. Not any more. Connecting with the next generation on what their world is going to be like is a very powerful experience.
On an individual level, commitments stretching to 2020 and 2050 seem far too remote. The 10:10 campaign supported by The Guardian seems much more real, much more within our grasp. Put simply it asks us to reduce our emissions by 10% by the end of 2010.
I have now signed up as an individual. But until we make measuring and reporting on personal carbon emissions as necessary as completing an annual tax return (now there’s an idea…), we won’t see this type of activity penetrating the mainstream. I have always believed that it is through working with business that the largest changes can be made – which is our mission at Two Tomorrows. But if I am to go forth and exhort my clients to reduce carbon, I must be able to show that I am willing to make my own contribution.
Two Tomorrows has signed up to 10:10 too – not to give us the PR veneer of respectability, but because we know that, for an ambitious growing organisation like ours, this will be a significant challenge.
We know instinctively that emissions from travel to work at our clients’ sites makes up by far the largest proportion of our emissions, and we have some of the data to prove that. But clearly we need a stable starting point, so we have made an initial commitment to confirm our baseline emissions and to review this to see where we can realistically make further reductions. We already offset our business travel emissions using high-quality emissions-reduction certificates – and we know that this can only be a partial response.
Our business is growing, so fulfilling our 10:10 commitment is going to be challenging. And, given our mission, there’s a paradox lurking in our 10:10 challenge. It may be that a few tonnes more business travel carbon by us could lead to a vastly greater reduction by one of our clients.
I’ll report back on our progress along the way.