A Conversation with the Leading Experts on Carbon Neutrality

Sep 22, 2019
A Conversation with the Leading Experts on Carbon Neutrality

At Diamond Foundry, we have worked with Natural Capital Partners since 2017, the first year we achieved our certification as a CarbonNeutral® company. Natural Capital Partners are the leading experts on carbon neutrality and climate finance. For us, it was crucial to receive this certification via a third-party independent assessment and according to The CarbonNeutral Protocol, the leading global framework for carbon neutrality.  

We recently sat down with Melissa Vernon, Director of Global Client Engagement at Natural Capital Partners, to learn more about their mission, inspiring work, and global initiatives.

What is your role at Natural Capital Partners? 

At Natural Capital Partners, we work with clients to harness the power of business to create a more sustainable world. As the Director of Global Client Engagement, I lead a support team to manage our clients' day-to-day and long-term strategic needs to achieve ambitious carbon neutrality, Net Zero, and renewable energy goals.

What does it mean to be a certified CarbonNeutral® company? How does it work?

A company with the CarbonNeutral® certification has calculated its greenhouse gas emissions and is taking the appropriate steps to manage them. The types of emissions are generally broken into three categories, or scopes, based on a company's ability to control them. Scope 1 represents direct emissions, such as using natural gas for facilities (e.g., space heating and manufacturing processes). Scope 2 comprises emissions resulting from electricity consumption. Scope 3 includes indirect emissions upstream and downstream in the value chain from business travel, employee commuting and work for home, waste, and other sources as defined by The CarbonNeutral Protocol.

Companies like Diamond Foundry work with a third-party assessment partner to collect and analyze the data and create a Greenhouse Gas Emissions Assessment Report documenting the company's footprint. Diamond Foundry has worked to reduce emissions for years by locating a facility in Wenatchee, Washington, supplied by local renewable electricity. The company then purchases carbon credits to support significant global projects in order to take the net emissions to zero.  

What are some of the global initiatives and projects you work on? 

Diamond Foundry has chosen to support projects such as solar power in Africa or wind power, clean cooking devices, and solar cookers in China. These projects reduce, avoid, or sequester carbon emissions and thus impact local communities in transitioning towards sustainable livelihoods and a low-carbon economy. As a global company, Diamond Foundry recognizes that the impacts of climate change are felt profoundly by communities in developing countries. However, it is the developed world that generates the emissions. Therefore, all projects supported by Diamond Foundry are working to support the least advantaged populations in the world.

How long have Natural Capital Partners been leaders in the industry?

Natural Capital Partners was founded in 1998 as a small organization in the UK dedicated to planting trees. Since then, we have evolved to become leading experts in our industry on carbon neutrality and climate finance. In addition to our clients, we work alongside project developers in remote locations around the world with industry associations, standards bodies, and environmental nonprofits. To do this, we operate globally with offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.

We recently announced a merger with ClimateCare, another climate solutions provider that works with clients to achieve similar goals. Combined, our companies have delivered more than 100 million tons of CO2e reductions, making us a market leader. We connect more than 500 clients to 600 sustainable development projects globally, funded, at least in part, by carbon finance. It's an exciting time to work in this space as businesses, governments, and individuals recognize the importance of climate action. 

What type of companies do you work with? 

Our global roster of clients reflects a range of industries and sectors leading on climate action from information technology, professional services, media and entertainment, financial services, food and agriculture, industrials, transportation and logistics, and consumer products. We also have a program to support small and medium-sized companies to get certified as CarbonNeutral. 

Can you tell me more about the commitment to net zero and what it means for business?

We can't wait any longer when it comes to climate change. For companies, it's straightforward: It's about competitive advantage, engaging customers, attracting the best talent, and managing and mitigating risk. The cost of inaction is a fact. In 2018, CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) calculated that the effects of climate change would cost businesses $1 trillion over five years.

Aiming to Net Zero allows companies to chart a course toward sustainability that aligns with the Paris Climate Agreement, which calls for Net Zero global emissions by or before 2050. Carbon neutrality and Net Zero go hand in hand. By becoming carbon neutral now, companies are committing to immediate results and action on the path to Net Zero for their businesses and the global economy. The CarbonNeutral® certification allows a company to communicate its intent on that journey and demonstrate leadership.