It’s no secret that climate change is a pressing issue, and Lovinklaan Foundation recognizes that it needs to be addressed on both a local and global scale. Carbon emissions are one of the most significant drivers of climate change, with the annual growth rate in atmospheric carbon dioxide increasing nearly 100 times faster than natural increases over the past 60 years.
Lovinklaan is aware of the threats to our climate, which is why we’re taking various steps to reduce our overall carbon footprint, both on behalf of the Board and our programs. To compensate the carbon emissions that were not avoided, we’ve partnered with Fair Climate Fund (FCF) to purchase carbon credits that will go towards funding relevant and impactful carbon-offsetting projects.
Not sure what purchasing carbon credits entails? Organizations often opt to purchase a specific amount of carbon credits to offset the emissions they’ve produced in a given year. This can be done by sponsoring carbon reduction or removal projects. To accomplish this, we have purchase credits to fund two impactful projects: Bagepalli project in India and Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (KSWS) REDD+ Project in Cambodia.
How it all started
Ensuring we are aligned with Arcadis’ sustainability strategy is critical. In order to do this, we commissioned Arcadis B.V. to carry out a project for the Foundation in 2019 with the objective of calculating the carbon footprint from the Board’s activities and the Foundation’s programs. This project was the first step toward gaining insight into the Foundation’s sustainability performance and pinpointing any potential areas for improvement – in line with Arcadis’ sustainability goals. The study enabled us to calculate the number of tons of CO2 equivalent produced from our activities. Using emissions from 2019 as a baseline, we began exploring how to offset emissions in 2021 alongside FCF.
The results of the carbon foot printing exercise revealed that 89% of our emissions came from activities related to our programs – with Expedition DNA (37%), Quest (30%) and Global Shapers (14%) being the main contributors. Moreover, about 95% of these emissions were due to air travel. From these insights, and in line with Arcadis’s sustainability policy, Lovinklaan introduced new measures to decrease its carbon footprint.
On a Board level, a sustainability policy has been adopted to reduce the amount of Board travel from 4 to 3 times a year and to make more eco-friendly choices when booking flights and hotels, picking restaurants, organizing site visits, etc. As the Board is spread across various regions and time-zones, it’s critical for the members to meet face to face several times a year to ensure they can align on the Foundations priorities and make critical decisions for the coming period.
On a program level, we believe that traveling will always be a significant component of some of our program offerings. However, as we have seen from the COVID-19 pandemic, we can successfully run our programs while greatly reducing travel and increasing virtual aspects. Expedition DNA is an excellent example of how participation has skyrocketed since becoming fully virtual, with satisfaction scores being the highest on record. Additionally, we are reimagining Quest to provide greater long-term value for Arcadians while enabling only purposeful travelling.
Funding the Bagepalli Project in India
One of the selected projects is the Bagepalli initiative in India. The project hits close to home for us, as Arcadis operates this region and has a history in agriculture in the Netherlands. Focusing on small farmers who must adjust to a changing climate, the project was created by Bagepalli Coolie Sangha (BCS) – a community-based organization in the Indian district of Chikballapur comprised of small-scale farmers and farm laborers who began designating areas of their land to plant tamarind and mango trees in 1996. This was brought about by the local drought, which pushed farmers to reconsider the crops they raised.
The 500 farmer families still actively involved in the project will receive 100% cash from the carbon credits purchased. With this, farmers may support their families, care for the land, and grow new trees.
The Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (KSWS) REDD+ Project
The second project selected has biodiversity and climate change intertwined: maintaining biodiversity is critical to ensuring our ecosystems remain relatively healthy. At the same time, climate change poses a severe threat to our planet’s biodiversity.
That’s why we are funding (alongside Arcadis) The Keo Seima Wildlife Sanctuary (KSWS) REDD+ Project in Cambodia. This long-term biodiversity monitoring program observes and monitors critical animal species populations. The species under this project include animals like green peafowl, yellow-cheeked gibbon, banteng, macaque’s species and so on. So far, the project has revealed 6 of the 13 species improved trends (stable or increasing) compared to global estimations.
As new methods become available, existing biodiversity monitoring programs will continue to evolve, and new programs will be put into place. These monitoring activities are crucial for managing protected areas and help reduce the risk of extinction of wildlife species.
As Lovinklaan, we are committed to continuing our efforts to decrease carbon emissions through our programs and Board activities. We are proud that our efforts to offset carbon emissions has a positive impact on the communities where investments are made, and we look forward to furthering our climate initiatives to shape a better future for our planet.