Over the past 6 months we’ve been thinking, learning, critiquing, researching, developing and now today officially launching a brand-new initiative and we're super-duper pumped to announce that (drumroll please)...
As of today, Zero Co's eco-products will be delivered to your door (and back to us) carbon negative.
Yep you read that right, not carbon neutral, but carbon negative. Wait, what? Is that a thing? It is now.
We know this whole global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, carbon footprint stuff can be complicated and often full of jargon that’s hard for the everyday person (and simple types like us) to understand. So here’s a super simple explanation:
We deliver our eco-friendly products to your door in trucks and vans. Those vehicles emit CO2 (and other stuff) into the air, which makes the world hotter and hotter and hotter. That’s not a good thing.
Today we’re mapping out our plan to play our small part in not just trying to stop this warming, but trying to reverse it. That’s where the carbon negative thing comes in. Here’s how it’s going to work:
From today onwards, for every 1KG of carbon dioxide (CO2) that is released into the atmosphere as a result of us delivering our products to your door (and back to us), we’ll remove 2KGs of CO2 from the atmosphere. Making us not just carbon neutral, but carbon negative.
It’s simple: we put 1kg of CO2 into the air, we take 2kgs of CO2 out of the air.
With every reputable scientist on the planet telling us we need to act urgently and drastically to stop the devastating effects of global warming, we believe that going carbon neutral isn’t enough. We don’t just need to stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere, we need to start removing it. At scale. Immediately.
That’s why we’re going carbon negative and doing it today.
This isn’t some tricky marketing gimmick designed to make you think we give a damn about the planet (which we really do) in the hope you’ll buy more of our products (although that would be a nice by-product of doing the right thing for the planet). This isn’t some vague plan to do something, at some point, sometime in the future.
The world is full of big companies making big promises to do something tomorrow. Or by 2030. Or 2040. Or maybe by 2050. We don’t think we have until 2030, let alone 2040 or 2050 to start reversing global warming.
So we’re acting today. Right now. Starting with this announcement.
How are we doing that you ask? Great question!
To get this project started we asked independent environmental assessors, Earthed Consulting, to conduct a full carbon audit of our entire supply chain. The audit was broken down into 3 stages:
- Stage 1 – track and measure the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere as a result of shipping our products from our Australian factory direct to your house and then shipping the empty pouches back to us (to be cleaned and reused).
- Stage 2 – track and measure the entire carbon footprint of manufacturing our products, from the sourcing of our raw materials right through to filling up our reusable pouches.
- Stage 3 – measure the amount of CO2 generated across our entire business including making our products, shipping them to you and back to us, running our office and all the other things that go into making Zero Co a real-world business.
Today’s announcement relates specifically to Stage 1 of this carbon audit – measuring and then more-than-reversing the CO2 created from delivering our eco-products to your door and then getting the empty pouches back to us ready to be cleaned and refilled.
Here’s what that part of our supply chain looks like:
First our products are shipped (in bulk) from our factory on the Central Coast of NSW to our distribution warehouse in Sydney. From there your order is picked, packed and placed on a big AusPost truck which then takes your order to an Australia Post distribution facility. AusPost then places your order into a smaller truck and delivers it to your door. When you’re done with your reusable refill pouches you drop them off at an AusPost red box and they get sent back to us.
We’ve calculated (on average) that for every 1kg of our products that make this journey, 97.11g of CO2 is released into the atmosphere. We calculated this number based on tracking the journey of every single delivery we made, Australia wide, for the 3 months between November 2020 and January 2021.
So that’s the magic number. 97.11g of CO2 for every 1KG of products we ship to you and back to us.
That means in order to make our deliveries carbon negative we need to remove double this amount. We're looking at removing 194.22g of CO2 (97.11g x 2) for every 1KG we ship.
How does Zero Co’s carbon negative delivery compare with shopping for personal-care and home-cleaning products at the supermarket? Another great question!
We also asked Earthed Consulting to work out how much CO2 is created by shopping for personal-care and home-cleaning products at the supermarket. Here’s what we found:
Here's the supermarket stats:
- The 10 products we currently manufacture represent approx. 1.18% of the total grocery market. We’ve assumed that when you go to the shops, 1.18% of the products you purchase on each trip are equivalent products to ours (personal-care and home-cleaning).
- The average Aussie makes, on average 2.5 trips to the supermarket every week.
- 79% of Aussies travel to the shops by car.
- 66% of Aussies live within 1.9km of a supermarket.
Based on this information we’ve been able to calculate how much CO2 is created by shopping for personal-care and home-cleaning products from the supermarket. The number is 90.62g of CO2 per 1KG purchased. Here’s the 2 models side by side:
Here’s the rub:
If you were to purchase 50kg of personal-care and home-cleaning products from the supermarket per year you'd be putting 4.53kg of CO2 into the atmosphere.
If you were to purchase 50kgs of personal-care and home-cleaning products from Zero Co per year you'd be removing 4.85kg of CO2 from the atmosphere.
Ok that sounds pretty great, but you still haven’t told me how you’re going to do that?
To begin with we’re going to be partnering with Pachama to invest in projects that reforest and revegetate degraded forests. Check out their website to see some of the awesome projects these legends are working on. Essentially we’re partnering with Pachama to plant trees that will soak up twice as much CO2 as we put into the air by delivering our zero-waste eco-products to your door.
Is this a 100% full-proof plan? Nope it’s not, because there’s no such thing.
Is it the silver bullet to solving global warming? Certainly not.
Are we going to make mistakes along the way? Yep, you bet we are! We’re going to make lots and lots and lots of mistakes before we get this CO2 program right.
Are people going to shout us down and pick holes in the plan? For sure. If there’s one thing we’ve learnt so far on the Zero Co journey it’s that there’s no shortage of people willing to sit on the side-lines and throw stones.
But as we’ve said before:
“It has to start somewhere,
It has to start sometime,
What better place than here?
What better time than now?”
- Rage Against The Machine.
So from today onwards, all Zero Co deliveries (to you door and back to us) are carbon negative.
Mike & The SUP Smashers (good band name right there!)
p.s. If you work in the carbon space and have feedback on our announcement we'd welcome your thoughts.