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Even though “climate neutral” is the right term, it doesn’t mean we don’t have any CO₂ emissions. It means that we are using offsetting to compensate for our emissions by supporting projects that will hopefully avoid or reduce emissions faster than us. And we think that feels a bit like cheating. But since it’s the best option for the climate right now, we are determined to at least cheat in the best way possible: with high quality offsets and ambitious plans to continue the hard work of reducing our own emissions.
To help keep the world within 1.5°C of warming to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we need to work together, all of us, to make drastic reductions in carbon emissions. The goals set out in the Paris Agreement in short mean halving greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions this decade and achieving net zero emissions by 2050 - at the latest. This will require an enormous global effort to achieve and unfortunately, the world is not yet on track to do that. Therefore, those of us who can move faster need to do so.
That is why we at Haglöfs have committed to an ambitious climate strategy to reduce our emissions by 50% over the next 10 years and reach net zero already by 2030. This can only be done by looking at every area of our business:
And because we know this will take time to have an effect, we have committed to taking full responsibility for the remaining emissions by going climate neutral in 2021 through the purchase of high quality certified carbon credits.
How we will get there
Our plan to halve our carbon emissions and reach net zero focuses on four main areas:
1. Measure and disclose
Our climate commitment covers not only the emissions from our own operations (referred to as Scope 1 & 2) but also the emissions generated from the production and distribution of all the products we manufacture - from the extraction of raw materials to the delivery to consumers (referred to as Scope 3). This is crucial because the production of our outdoor gear is where our biggest impact lies.
In 2020 we included the impact of producing our gear in our carbon footprint calculations for the first time. This allowed us to set a baseline to measure our progress towards a 50% reduction by 2030. As we don’t own any factories, this is trickier to measure than it sounds, and we have to rely on many assumptions and generic impact data. Our aim is to continually improve the quality of the data, for example by obtaining more supplier specific information. In recognition of the challenges in reporting scope 3 data we purchased an extra 10% of carbon offsets to help compensate for any variability.
We will report our progress through our yearly sustainability report where you can learn more about our carbon footprint, the successes we celebrate and the challenges we face.
2. Reduce energy use
Our priority is to reduce our emissions both in our own operations and across our supply chain where most of the impact occurs. It is important to focus on the largest sources of emissions to have the biggest impact and in our case, this is the manufacturing of materials. Some of the areas we are working on include:
3. Introduce renewable energy
Even with better materials choices and more efficient factories, energy will always be required to produce and distribute Haglöfs products. Therefore, a transition to the use of renewable energy will be fundamental in achieving large scale reductions in overall emissions. We aim to use renewable energy in our own operations and support suppliers to do the same.
4. Remove carbon
Once our emissions have been reduced by 50%, the remainder need to be removed from the atmosphere to be able to reach net zero. Here we will not wait until 2030 but rather take responsibility for our emissions along the way.
We will do this by purchasing carbon credits to offset our carbon footprint.
It is important to ensure that the offsets which we choose are of the highest quality. All the projects have been evaluated against strict criteria and in addition provide benefits beyond just climate mitigation such as supporting jobs in the local community or biodiversity protection.
For Haglöfs 2020 carbon footprint we have:
Most offsets available today support projects which reduce or avoid potential future emissions - such as renewable energy installations or forest protection. While these projects are important and beneficial in themselves, they will not be enough to bring emissions to net zero. It is vital therefore that there is also investment in projects which remove carbon from the atmosphere. This is why we commit to transition over time any offsets which rely only on reducing or avoiding emissions to ones which remove carbon from the atmosphere until we completely remove the same amount of emissions as we emit.
The methods for assessing and accounting for different types of carbon removal projects in the context of net zero remain under discussion with key criteria such as the durability or permanence of the removal being an area of debate and as such the market for carbon removals is still relatively undeveloped. We expect to learn and adapt to changes in the standards and market as we go along. One of the best ways to learn is to get involved, which is why on top of the regular carbon offsets we have purchased we are working with Puro.earth to invest in more novel approaches to carbon removal supporting projects which aim to lock in carbon for longer such as biochar and wooden building elements.
The offsetting projects
All the projects which we choose to support through the purchase of carbon credits are of the highest quality and are verified by the leading standards in the voluntary carbon market - Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) in combination with the Climate, Community & Biodiversity Standards (CCB). This means the projects and their associated emissions reductions have been evaluated against strict criteria and in addition provide benefits beyond climate mitigation such as supporting jobs in the local community or biodiversity protection. The projects we currently support include:
Rimba Raya rainforest protection, Indonesia
Indonesia loses an area of rainforest roughly the size of Belgium every year. Rapid deforestation for palm oil cultivation and agriculture is a significant sourcing of carbon emissions and is threatening Indonesia’s unique biodiversity, depleting much needed ecosystem services.
The Rimba Raya Biodiversity Reserve is working to protect around 160,000 hectares of tropical rainforest and peat swamp from conversion to palm oil plantation. The project area is home to over 350 species of bird, 122 species of mammal and 180 tree species. More than 90 are endangered, including the Bornean orangutan.
The project supports local communities through the development of opportunities outside of forest conversion such as jobs in forest patrolling, fire management schemes and community tree nurseries.
Reforestation a biodiversity hotspot, Brazil
The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest, producing more than 20% of the world’s oxygen and being home to over 44,000 plant and animal species. Between 1988 and 2019, the deforested area of the Brazilian Amazon surpassed 446,000 km2, of which over 34% occurred in the Brazilian state of Pará.
This project is aiming to reforest nearly 40,000 hectares of degraded land in the Portel Region of Brazil In addition the project will also help to re-establish animal corridors and create jobs for local people and women in particular through training in sustainable land use. The project will contribute to the removal of nearly 10 million tons of carbon emissions over its lifetime.
Community-led reforestation, Kenya
Kenya has lost 8% of its forest cover since 1963, this fantastic grass roots project in Kenya is attempting to reverse the trend. Using revenue from carbon finance, the project provides income to small groups of subsistence farmers. The farmers plant and monitor the growth of their trees on their land through an award-winning smart phone network, creating a real time database of trees by age and species. The decentralized model the project is deploying is proving highly successful – since its beginning it 2004, the project has grown to include 65,000 members in 9,000 small groups, who have planted over 8.3 million trees in Kenya.
The project is also focusing on benefiting women, requiring half of small group representatives at project-wide meetings to be women, and all the project’s leadership council and expansion coordinator team are women.
Generating clean energy for the grid, China, Taiwan, Thailand and Turkey
In the countries where most of our products are made fossil fuels including coal remain a major part of the energy mix. Energy derived from fossil fuels generates high carbon emissions as well as particulate matter and sulphur dioxide which is harmful to health.
Grid-connected renewable power plants supply clean energy to the grid, providing an affordable and reliable source of power in local regions. Through supporting renewable energy projects and displacing fossil fuel electricity, these projects cut thousands of tonnes of emissions annually, as well as alleviating air pollution, supporting energy security and promoting the adoption of renewable energy.
The projects also generate local employment opportunities during assembly, installation, and operation of the installations.
Details on how we calculate our emissions, the carbon credits we have purchased to offset them as well as external verification of our data can be found here
Why don’t we just reduce our emissions right away?
We are already working hard to reduce our emissions by looking at every area of our business including sourcing renewable energy for our operations, reducing reliance on air for our logistics and increasing the amount of lower impact materials that we use, however much of the additional work that is required to reach our targets will take time to have an effect.
So, while we work to reduce these emissions, it is important for us to mitigate our current climate impact, and we are doing this by offsetting the emissions in a way that supports communities around the world.
What does Scope 1, 2 & 3 mean?
The Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol organises emissions into 3 different scopes
What does climate neutral mean?
When a company, organization or product claims to be carbon neutral it means the GHG emissions produced are compensated for by paying for projects to avoid, reduce or remove an equivalent quantity of emissions. To stop companies using carbon offsetting to avoid working on their own carbon footprint best practice dictates that a climate neutral claim should also come hand in hand with a commitment and action plan to reduce the actual emissions.
It is important to clarify which part of the carbon footprint is covered by offsetting. While many choose to become carbon neutral in their own operations, it is becoming more common to extend the commitment to cover emissions in the value chain which are often much larger. Haglöfs commitment includes value chain emissions.
What does net zero mean?
At a global level, the IPCC defines net zero as when anthropogenic (i.e., human-caused) emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere are balanced by anthropogenic removals over a specified period.
There is still some ambiguity as to what this means for businesses in terms of the scope of emissions which should be covered, what type of action qualifies as a removal and how it is accounted for. There is work going on to define this more clearly to avoid confusion and inconsistent claims. At Haglöfs we are committed to ensuring that our approach to net zero aligns with current best practice, and develops as the debate matures
In the meantime, we work with the definition that net zero means making reductions in the carbon footprint of our operations and supply chain in line with ambitions to keep global warming within 1.5oC while removing from the atmosphere a quantity of carbon equivalent to that of any residual emissions.
What is carbon offsetting?
A carbon credit is a certificate generated when it has been verified that a project has taken action to avoid, reduce or remove a metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions. Companies, organizations, or individuals can then buy these credits to compensate for their own emissions, and this is referred to as offsetting. Money generated through the sale of carbon credits is used to fund carbon reduction efforts
Offsetting projects can generally be categorized into two different types:
Who provides our offsetting program?
We are monitoring and calculating the emissions associated with our operations and our supply chain to find out our total carbon footprint. We then work with ClimateCare to fund projects around the globe to compensate for our carbon footprint with an equivalent amount of emissions reductions.
ClimateCare is one of Europe’s leading carbon offset providers. A Profit with Purpose B Corp, it works with forward-thinking organizations, to help turn climate responsibilities into positive outcomes for people and the environment.
ClimateCare delivers high impact, Climate+care programs to tackle poverty, improve health, and protect the environment, and have more than 20 years’ experience as a leader in the global carbon markets and climate change sector. ClimateCare also advises on a range of climate change mitigation and adaptation subjects, from large scale implementation to national climate change policies.
We choose to work with ClimateCare because of their reputation as expert providers of climate neutral solutions for private and public-sector organizations. Their core mission of improving lives and tackling climate change aligns strongly with our ethos and we’re delighted to be partnering with them to deliver our carbon offset program.