Measure, Reduce, Remove – The Journey to Net Zero with Patch and Connect Earth

Aug 30, 2023 | Blog

In order to limit global warming to 1.5°C, the target set out in The Paris Agreement, our global CO2 emissions must peak before 2025 at the latest and decline 43% by 2030. If we don’t meet these goals, and we continue to operate the way we are with emissions rising annually, we are likely to exceed our 1.5°C target in the next five years. 

Connect Earth’s API-based solutions empower action against these statistics by providing tools to measure your carbon footprint and emission hotspots for yourself, or your business.

But, we don’t see our route to combating climate change to be one dimensional. We believe that through collaboration, we can build a 360°solution where you first measure your carbon footprint, then reduce the amount of CO2 you are emitting, before working to remove the remainder from the atmosphere. Read more about our take on building collaborative climate solutions and how our co-founder and CTO Nick Carmont is driving this vision forward.

As we grow, we have joined forces with other companies who are also on a mission to help the world meet Net Zero. 

Patch is one of our partners who share the belief that collaboration will be central to this achievement. Founded in 2020 and created to rebalance the planet, Patch has built digital infrastructure for the voluntary carbon market that gives all types of businesses access to a huge variety of climate action projects. From solar power to bio-oil and kelp farming, their customers are able to support carbon removal and avoidance efforts by purchasing high-integrity carbon credits. 

To delve deeper into carbon removals, and to emphasise the importance of our joint ‘Measure, Reduce, Remove’ strategy with Patch, we caught up with Patch’s European GM, Joe Crutwell and Connect Earth’s CEO and Co Founder, Alex Lempka

Step 1: Measure your impact

The first step of your journey to Net Zero is arguably the most important.

“Spreading carbon literacy and awareness is the foundation of our work at Connect Earth. With the knowledge of their emissions, businesses are empowered to be more environmentally conscious when spending. You can’t take your first step without understanding where you are starting from,” explains Alex. 

When evaluating internal processes to measure impact and sustainability, delving into granular detail is essential to ensure accurate emission calculations. Although challenging due to supply chains, scopes, and sometimes limited resources, this critical task is necessary as SMEs contribute nearly half of the UK’s business-related greenhouse gas emissions. We’ve simplified the process with our solution Connect Report that provides financial institutions and their SME customers with streamlined reports that meet regulatory standards.

Step 2: Reduce, less is more

Connect Earth and Patch see Step 2 as a chance to take action. By making informed decisions like switching fuel sources, employee commuting habits and adjusting supply chains, you can reduce the amount of emissions you are releasing into the environment. Not only does this slow down the effects of climate change but it can also:

  • Improve air quality
  • Encourage innovation and investment
  • Protect biodiversity
  • Improve resilience
  • Insight change

Driving carbon reductions is not only the focus of our solutions at Connect Earth, but one that is interwoven with our own internal processes; and key to enabling us to achieve one of our Net Zero goals of reducing emissions by 50% across all scopes by 2050.

Step 3 Removal: Invest and scale 

Carbon removal is a key part of the journey that we are proposing, and one that Patch sees as complex and in need of attention in order to keep up with our hopes to hit the 1.5°C target. 

“We need around 10 billion tonnes of carbon removal capacity per year by 2050, currently we’re  removing anywhere from tens of thousands to low millions of tonnes, depending on your definition of removal. If we wait until 2050, when we’ve done all the reduction we can do and then try to remove 10 billion tonnes of carbon, the infrastructure isn’t going to be there,” explains Joe. “We need to invest in both removal and reduction at the same time in order to get to where we need to be”.

Patch believes we have work to do to make sure our carbon markets are effective and transparent so we can have more confidence in the projects we are buying into, and the value chains associated with them. “At Patch, every project listed will work with a standards body that is backed by scientific research and then be vetted by a third party in order to be accredited before they can be a part of our ecosystem,” ensures Joe.

Both Patch and Connect Earth attest that purchasing carbon credits as part of a net-zero strategy must always be done in tandem with reduction efforts.

“If businesses can begin with Step 1 (carbon tracking) and Step 2 (carbon reduction) to the best of their abilities, removal becomes a strategic part of the process rather than a ticket to continue business-as-usual.” Alex Lempka

The role of the financial institution

Patch and Connect Earth’s partnership is clearly one for the future, providing a comprehensive solution for a journey to Net Zero that is easily accessible and operating at a level of high integrity. The move instils confidence in the future of combating climate change. But it is not without the acknowledgement that other players need to be involved to ‘close the loop’.

“Banks have a critical role to play. I see this along three axes. Firstly, they have their own carbon footprint that they need to create a robust strategy towards. Secondly, they have their customer network. This gives them a great opportunity to drive behavioural change and access to markets through their customer base. Lastly, through the projects that they finance they have great ability to drive change via investments.” Joe Crutwell

“Financial institutions have a significant responsibility in tackling climate change, they also have the opportunity to leverage their expertise and resources to develop products and services that promote sustainability and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.” Alex Lempka

Last year Patch began work with Starling Bank, who have a robust sustainability strategy. “They were looking to compensate for their own emissions each year to make sure they were carbon neutral,” explains Joe. “We became their partner to help them access a wide range of high integrity carbon credits that aligned with their values. They then put these projects to their employees who voted on which project to access carbon credits through”.

This partnership has led to Starling Bank taking part in two climate positive projects, the Uganda International Small Group Tree Planting project and SunCulture Solar Water Pumps.

As banks increasingly integrate sustainability into their frameworks, adopting reporting on their impact and actively reducing carbon footprints for themselves, their portfolios, and their customers, a powerful domino effect takes shape.

 

The Future of Climate Action 

The process of reevaluating and looking to the future in order to pivot and adapt to meet the rising pressure of climate change is one that needs to be repeated. Evolving technology needs support to be able to keep up with our needs to meet Net Zero – investment in all three stages of our proposed route is key to continue making change.

“We need to build awareness around carbon avoidance and removal projects. They are a critical part of the climate solution. From this point we can start to drive meaningful change, and spend. I hope customers using Connect Earth will be able to drive reductions as quickly as possible; in parallel with contributing to high impact projects and helping to scale the carbon removal industry in doing that.” Joe Crutwell.

By embracing the power of measurement, reduction, and removal, Patch and ourselves at Connect Earth are paving the way toward a more sustainable and climate-resilient future. Together, our missions align to help aid SMEs, financial institutions, and individuals in accessing technological tools that empower and enable. 

“With this partnership we are showing our collective defensibility against climate change. We will continue to help our network gain carbon literacy, awareness and insights that can drive the entirety of their journey to Net Zero. Patch is playing a vital role in this process by bringing accessibility and transparency to the carbon markets and we are happy to close the loop together.” Alex Lempka

Want to stay up to date with all things Connect Earth and receive insights straight to your inbox? Sign up to our LinkedIn newsletter and visit our blog page to explore how we are helping the world transition to net zero using carbon data. 

 

About Connect Earth:

Founded in 2021, Connect Earth is a London-based environmental data company that democratises easy access to sustainability data. With its carbon tracking API technology, Connect Earth is on a mission to empower consumers and SMEs to make sustainable choices and bridge the gap between intent, knowledge and action. Connect Earth supports financial institutions in offering their customers transparent insight into the climate impact of their spending.

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