A year may have passed since our last Ecologi tree-planting update but by no means has it been quiet. We continued to make monthly donations to Ecologi through our membership and ad-hoc tree purchases, and we’re delighted to announce that we have reached the end of our 10,000 tree journey.
In December 2022 we funded the 10,000th tree of this Financial Expert campaign.
A carbon offset update
If you’ve followed Financial Expert for a while, you’ll be familiar with our green credentials. We don’t just offset our carbon emissions but aim to overcompensate. In a 2021 review, we calculated that the footprint of the company (including our third-party servers) was 525 kg of CO2 equivalent (0.5 tn).
In the two years to December 2022, through our climate change partner Ecologi, we have now obtained over 45 tonnes of certified carbon offsets.
At the start of this campaign, we targeted 10,000 trees. These would be funded by our advertising revenues, and commission received from signing up other new Ecologi members.
Initially, our referral income was sufficient to fund approximately half of the need, however, these referrals reduced over time, as the cost of planting each tree increased by approximately 100%.
By December 2022, the campaign was entirely funded by direct donations, which equated to approximately 5% of our profit before tax.
We hope that this example will encourage other organisations to follow suit. We’ve proven that dramatic climate change impact – going way beyond the offsetting of ones activity, can be a financially sustainable practice. Being climate positive isn’t cheap, but we believe that profitable and successful enterprises should be doing what they can to help mitigate the effects of climate change.
A visualisation of our impact
Ecologi’s platform helpfully lets you keep track of your impact with a visual depiction of a forest. Trees planted through the monthly subscription appear as single trees, whereas our one-off monthly tree purchases of 300 – 500 trees are depicted as small clusters, so the imagery isn’t to scale.
In spite of this limitation, we still thought it would be fun to share this graphic of how the ‘Finance Forest’ turned out:
Ecologi subscription level
We have continued to subscribe to the ‘Mega’ level of the subscription packages. Over the course of the last two years, the impact of the membership levels has varying significantly.
In 2021, the ‘Mega’ subscription cost £18.80 per month, and yielded a massive 48 trees and 4 individual carbon footprints offset each year.
At December, the ‘Mega’ subscription level is still available, but it results in only 18 trees and two carbon footprints being offset.
What happened to cause this change? In April 2022, Ecologi set out in a blog post that “For example, the average quoted cost of VCS and Gold Standard carbon credits that we regularly receive from our partners has more than doubled since December 2020.”
Therefore to keep the prices of the plans similar, the amount of carbon offset by each plan needed to reduce.
We chose not to reduce the impact of our donations, and instead increased our budget for Ecologi donations to offset the effect of market price changes.
It shouldn’t surprise that the cost of climate projects has increased over the last two years. For one, the pandemic has generally hampered the efforts of international schemes due to freezes in travel and uncertainty. But also, the rise of ‘Net Zero’ has meant that demand for such goods and services are rising. The most efficient, affordable projects have already been funded, meaning the next round of projects will naturally be more expensive. This is the law of supply and demand at work. Prices must increase to continue to incentivise other, more costly, projects to go ahead.
Badges and rankings
We were awarded recognition ‘badges’ for the following achievements on the Ecologi platform:
Our highlights were top 10 sparkly trees recipients – Sparkly trees are awarded for referrals to the platform. We received all sparkly tree-related badges:
Top 50 Individual Tree Planters – this is the simple tally of which users have individually contributed to the most trees planted.
Our climate plans for 2023 and beyond
Now that our 10,000 tree target has been achieved – what will 2023 and beyond look like?
We haven’t yet set out a new strategy for 2023 or the longer time horizon. But we’ll publish another update when we have.
We have decided to remain with Ecologi as our climate partner, and will continue with our ‘Mega’ subscription in the mean time. Our reasons for choosing Ecologi are made clear in our Ecologi review.