For the Earth by Twig
For the Earth is a catalyst for change.
We help businesses transform the lives of their most important stakeholders - their customers and their employees. We turn sustainable action into shared, rewarding experiences by blending gamified and real-life impact features. While elevating individuals' life experiences and facilitating collaborative, sustainable action.
Our partners can follow the growth of a forest, get in touch with the beneficiaries of their actions, build and compare environmental/social credit scores, and access wellbeing and performance programs while offsetting their carbon footprints.
Joining For the Earth, or any other sustainability-focused initiative, will not single-handedly solve climate change, but it can be a key contributor to driving change. The FTE platform not only allows individuals and organisations to offset their emissions through our diversified carbon portfolio but also provides resources and educational material to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Offsetting in combination with seemingly smaller, more conscious daily habits can make a difference by mitigating negative impacts that are driving the climate crisis.
Furthermore, For the Earth offers a suite of impact-related features and analytics such as tree planting, donations, and carbon footprint calculation. These services can be easily accessed via our online portal or API interfaces and allow our partners to embed sustainable action in their everyday routines.
For the Earth is not a registered non-profit. We are part of Twig Group which is a for-profit, privately-owned company. However, Twig Group has decided to run For the Earth as a not for profit initiative wherefore:
- we try to be as transparent as possible with our pricing
- we offer our products and services at cost
- we reinvest any remaining/potential profits into social and/or environmental causes
Greenhouse gases (GHG) such as carbon or methane are created from combustion/respiration on earth and float in our atmosphere. When floating in the atmosphere, GHGs absorb a certain share of solar heat energy to send it back to Earth’s surface - hence the term Greenhouse Effect. Normally, these gases are steadily removed from the atmosphere by our plants and forests and subsequently stored in rocks, the ocean or the soil. Like this, carbon constantly flows between the different planetary reservoirs. This effect is called the Carbon Cycle and is a key pillar in keeping global climate stable.
However, human activity in the past 50-70 years - such as burning fossil fuels for transportation or electricity production - lead to an increase in the amount and concentration of GHG emissions. The emissions levels got so high that nature’s solutions to remove the gases from the atmosphere are not sufficient anymore, and we observe a dangerous rise in global temperatures alongside with a very tangible imbalance in the Earth System (e.g. bushfires, floods from rising sea levels, biodiversity loss, and hurricanes).
To have any chance at stopping climate change and reverting the effects on our climate, we need to limit the release of GHGs and try to absorb those gases what were released already. It is imperative the individuals and businesses play their part to emit less and find solutions that accelerate carbon removal.
The greenhouse gases that people or businesses emit from daily activity, e.g., burning fuel for transport or machinery, or using electricity that is generated from burning coal, can partly not be avoided, so by offsetting, individuals and businesses can compensate for their carbon emissions by directly investing in carbon reduction and carbon removal projects. These projects undergo a rigorous assessment process to pass verification by independent third-party agencies.
The carbon market has already played a key role in scaling renewable energy initiatives around the world, and our continued participation will drive, and fund, the innovation needed to help us reach our global net-zero targets. Still, it will only be the compound impact of carbon offsetting, changes in consumption, and lifestyle patterns that will lead to the change required to stop - and potentially even revert - climate change.
A carbon footprint is an estimation of the total sum of greenhouse gases that are generated directly and indirectly from your lifestyle choices. Typical drivers of the footprint are choices on what we eat, how we travel, and how we heat our homes. Also, where we live can greatly impact our overall footprint as some countries' average emissions per person are much higher than others. To ensure that we offset the correct amount of carbon for each person, we do not only take the averages based on national, and territorial emissions into consideration but calculate the consumption-based emissions using an adjustment factor.
For example, the average UK citizen’s carbon footprint based on the “territorial” emissions that occur inside the country's borders is only 6.71t CO2eq per year per person. However, this number needs to be adjusted by the emissions that occur during the production of items that are imported to the UK and consumed by UK citizens. For the UK - as for most countries in the Western hemisphere - the consumption-based emissions are higher than the territorial emissions. So, to calculate the actual consumption-based emissions per capita in the UK, we need to adjust the 6.71t CO2eq by more than 40% (”imported emissions due to consumption”) which leads to an actual carbon footprint of 9.5t CO2eq per year per person.
The data sources that we use for the calculation of the carbon footprints are the WWF, the Office of National Statistics, the Eora MIRA database, the World Bank, and Defra. The calculations and data have been confirmed by professors Thomas Wiedmann and John Barrett, experts in environmental footprint analysis and accounting for consumption-based emissions.
We offset your carbon footprint by sourcing and retiring carbon offsetting projects for you. Retiring is the process when a carbon credit is purchased - and thereby taken off the market - so that it can not be traded or swapped again. To ensure transparency and avoid redundancy, we issue a unique offsetting certificate that indicates the amount of carbon that we offset on your behalf. Furthermore, share the carbon credit purchases/retirements that we make via our public impact dashboard so that you can keep track of our activities in this space.
In the voluntary carbon market, there are a variety of different activities that can produce a carbon credit, by either avoiding carbon and methane gas from being added to the atmosphere or by providing increased carbon sequestration. These activities are undertaken in a carbon offset project and these projects fall into a few categories:
- The first is the avoided emissions, for example, the development of renewable energy, which is placed into the category of avoided greenhouse gas emissions. By creating a green alternative to fossil-fuel-derived energy sources, we can directly measure the amount of CO2 that has been prevented from entering the atmosphere.
We support projects that are generating energy from wind and hydro dams in India and Phillipines.
- The second involves actually removing carbon from the atmosphere through nature-based solutions, tree planting, or kelp farms for example, both of which sequester and store carbon long term, or, direct air capture, which pulls carbon from the atmosphere and then stores it in liquid or solid form.
We support tree planting in Mozambique, Madagascar and fund Amazon conservation in Brazil.
- The third captures, and actually destroys, emissions such as carbon and methane gas -which is far more potent and destructive than CO2- from wastewater for example.
The offsetting projects provide many co-benefits in addition to the emission reduction, the social and environmental benefits for the local communities can include job creation, cleaner air, and water, or improved access to education and health care. Gold Standard, one of the top verifying bodies requires projects to meet at least three of the SDG´s. Carbon offsets can be an incredible addition to any corporate ESG strategy by combining efforts to combat climate change while adding many other additional improvements for the good of society.
When creating a diverse carbon offsetting portfolio, we considered the most pressing issues facing our time and what projects could be part of a solution. Since we are built on circular economy principles, we do not only seek to create environmental impact but also strive to have a social impact with the projects that we chose. Therefore, we include multiple Sustainable Development Goals as criteria in the project selection. This ensures that each initiative includes some co-benefits, such as improved livelihoods of the local people and the protection and regeneration of at-risk ecosystems.
Furthermore, we only select projects that are verified by an internationally renowned organization such as Verra or Gold Standard. Each project receives an individual serial number and is publicly shared in emission registries so that double-counting, or other forms of fraud, are avoided.
Lastly, we aim to select those projects where we can get in touch with the project developers because we value credibility and transparency - not least on behalf of you, our users. We want to make sure that the emission reductions and social benefits that each project promises are actually realized.
You can ensure that your investment is being used correctly because we only select projects that have passed the strictest international standards. Third-party verification systems have been essential in regulating and scaling, the carbon market by providing a framework of measure to ensure projects can meet their intended goals. These standards certify that the projects have undergone an in-depth certification process and that the activities will continue to be monitored and reported on throughout their lifecycle, which will be shared with you periodically. The prices for our subscription are directly linked to low-end market prices of verified carbon credits. We want to make climate action affordable for everyone! While our current focus lies on affordability and inclusion, we are working on offering to you the option to also select more “high-end” carbon projects such as biochar or direct air capture.
Tree planting is one of the simplest and most cost-effective efforts to fight climate change and its negative effects on societies and natural ecosystems. Trees play a critical role in cleaning the air we breathe, sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere, and providing a habitat for a majority of the world’s biodiversity. Tree planting can help promote the regeneration of deforested lands while enhancing the lives of local communities.
We try to only plant indigenous tree species to strengthen biological systems. The trees that we plant include mangroves, terrestrial trees or agroforestry trees that can be cultivated while providing carbon removal functions at the same time. Examples of tree species that we plant include papaya, oriental mangroves, cashew, lemon, and drumstick trees.
We work with Eden Reforestation Projects as our main tree planting partner. We chose to work with Eden because they work with a “bottom-up” approach- providing economic incentives and simple planting techniques that can be easily understood and replicated by the local community. They work in 10 different countries planting endemic tree species, mostly with seeds they find in nearby remnant forests. Most of our trees are planted in Madagascar, Kenya, and Mozambique - all some of the most diverse biological ecosystems in the world.
The planting of trees is carried out by the local community members, an effort that has employed over 11,500 people who have planted over 830 million trees. The tree species and planting method depend on the planting site and what is native to the region.
By working closely with the local communities and governments, Eden takes multiple necessary precautions to provide protection for the trees such as not planting on, or near, logging sites, providing families with clean cookstoves to limit dependence on charcoal, hiring forest guards, and providing economic opportunities allowing the planting of trees to become sustainable sources of income over time.
By foraging seeds from nearby forests and harvesting the seedlings in nurseries, our partners can ensure the highest possible seed quality and increased germination rates. A percentage of tree mortality is inevitable but they have observed that this becomes irrelevant as ‘natural regeneration occurs and trees begin to multiply on their own. For instance, the natural regeneration rate of the Mangrove reforestation in Madagascar sites typically exceeds 150%.
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