🌱 Keeping a clear vision: REGOs vs Offsets, and SunGod's recycled frames
Featuring SunGod, Pots & Co, TRIBE, Kit & Kin and more...
This week we cover:
Offsets vs ‘REGOs’: Know the Difference
A clear vision of the future: 5 key takeaways from SunGod
In case you missed it: 🌱 Carbon Handprints: How IKEA are flicking the switch on renewable energy.
> Good News Last Week
🎯 Pots & Co Ltd announced plans to move its entire ceramic range into glass pots, with the aim of reducing emissions. The glass pots will be 100% recyclable and 100% reusable, and the switch has also reduced the priced of the goods.
🎯 French company Nutropy Raises €2M for the ‘next generation of cheese’. Nutropy is creating animal-free cheeses and milk components, with the funding going to achieving this at an industrial scale.
🎯 TRIBE soared past their £700k crowdfunding goal, reaching £811k with over 1000 investors. Tribe is on a mission to fight modern slavery, via their Tribe Freedom Foundation too.
🎯 Kit & Kin announced that they’re B Corp certified. The brand switched to carbon-neutral production for its nappies in 2020, and also work to protect thousands of acres of rainforest through its charitable foundation, amongst other things.
⭐️ Allbirds announced the launch of its first plastic-free plant-based leather sneaker, the ‘Plant Pacer’. They’ve partnered with Natural Fiber Welding (NFW) to achieve this, after investing $2 million in NFW in February 2021 to support the development of Mirum (which creates the leather like material).
⭐️ Patagonia announced that 100% of the company’s voting stock is being transferred to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, created to protect the company’s values; and 100% of the nonvoting stock has been given to the Holdfast Collective, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting the environmental crisis and defending nature. This is part of their mission to make ‘earth their only shareholder’.
⭐️ eBay announced its partnership with Reskinned, offering shoppers more choice on pre-owned clothing. eBay will connect with resale items, managed by Reskinned, with more than 20 million shoppers through a “brand approved” shopfront.
⭐️ Unilever has partnered with Bboxx and Sunlight to improve renewable energy access in Kenya. Bboxx provides logistics, services and other essentials for businesses and education, such as smartphones. By partnering with Sunlight, they’re aiming to bring clean energy access to at least one million additional residents within a three-year period - this includes retailers in Kenya which are part of Unilever’s network.
> Click on each link to read more.
> Quick Take
Offsets vs ‘REGOs’: Know the Difference
As a brand, navigating the various steps to take to measure, mitigate, manage and then communicate carbon emissions can be tricky, regardless of your size. Most brands are on a journey to reduce their emissions, with some brands choosing to offset those that can’t be reduced. Amid the current energy crisis, brands are keeping one eye on their energy bill going up - whilst knowing that the carbon intensity of their energy needs to ultimately decrease at the same time. Either way, getting clear on the difference between the different instruments available to your brand on your sustainability journey is really important.
This is certainly true when it comes to comparing Carbon Offsets with Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGOs). Offsets and REGOs regularly come up in the same conversations, around compensating for reducing organisational carbon impact, with REGOs more often than not being described as a type of offset. However, the two are far from interchangeable - and the difference is important to understand. Let’s start with some simple definitions…
Offsets and REGOs - what are they?
Investments made in projects aimed at reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as a way to compensate for Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions in a brand’s activity chain
Offsetguide provides a quick, accessible explainer for the different types of offsets on the market.
Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGOs):
A trade-able, market-based certificate verifying a business’ claim that their energy is purchased from renewable sources with low or no carbon emissions. Each REGO issued by Ofgem to a renewable energy generator represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of renewable energy production, which is equal to 1,000 kilowatt-hours. REGOs are one way to prove that you’ve invested in reducing your Scope 2 emissions, backing up any claims you might want to make about doing so - you’ll now own the rights to the environmental attributes of that cleaner energy. The scheme was set up with the intention of making the electricity market more transparent. In the US, REGOs are equivalent to Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).
Ofgem - About The REGO Scheme
Plannetzero - Renewable Energy Options - an overview of different certificate types
What are some of the downfalls, and how can you avoid them?
Carbon offsetting can be broken down into three broad ‘types’: Nature-based solutions, community-based avoidance schemes, and investment in carbon removal technology. However, there’s another layer of variation within these categories. Nature-based solutions can refer to effective rewilding, or it can be misuse of land for shallow tree replanting schemes. Community-based avoidance schemes allow businesses to invest in projects to ‘avoid ’emissions that would otherwise be released. This can be used as an ‘excuse for business as usual’. With studies showing that many offsetting schemes are far from effective, it’s vital that, if you are considering an offsetting strategy, you ensure that it’s Gold Standard certified.
REGOs can support brands in choosing a renewable energy supplier - appropriate REGO certificates can help brands demonstrate their commitment to decarbonising their energy supply, and activity chain. However, there is a small loophole in the REGO scheme - Ofgem doesn’t require an energy supplier to provide direct proof of where their energy comes from. Instead, they only need to show how many REGO certificates they’ve accumulated over the years - certificates that can be transferred from other Renewables and CHP register account holders. How can businesses ensure that their REGOs are the real thing?
Be cautious of cheaper tariffs - if a tariff claims to be 100% renewable but is also significantly cheaper, be cautious. (We also acknowledge that this can be variable advice given the current volatility of the energy market).
Get evidence - Ask the energy supplier to provide evidence and documentation from the renewable energy generator that they’re sourcing from.
Take a look at Uswitch’s Green Accreditation - tariffs are accredited and compared, to help you make sure you’re making the right choice.
There are plenty of myths around REGOs too - like how they offer financial support to suppliers, they’re a fast way to green the grid, and they allow businesses to ‘go green’ at low cost - we’ll let Good Energy do the myth busting on those.
Is one better than the other?
There’s no easy answer to this, and that’s partially because there’s no ‘one’ carbon offset scheme or ‘one’ form of REGO. It’s also important to reiterate that they’re completely different instruments too - REGOs aren’t offsets - so it’s vital to understand this before adopting anything into your sustainability strategy. However, in our opinion, REGOs are the type of certifications your brand should be focused on - not carbon offsets. They trace actual emissions avoidance in Scope 2, and we believe mitigation of environmental impact is always the most important step. So, if your renewable energy suppliers don’t yet utilise REGOs, perhaps it’s time to encourage them to do so (they can sign up here).
> Brand Spotlight
A clear vision of the future: 5 key takeaways from SunGod
What does the formula one McLaren squad, the UK SailGP team and the snowsports Freeride World Tour all have in common? Well, for one, they’re sports most definitely not for the faint hearted, and they’re also all in collaboration with SunGod - an eyewear brand determined to change the way we see the world, for better.
Formed in 2013 with a clear vision (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) to transform the eyewear industry, SunGod is very much leading the way in positive impact. With a combined social following of over 300k, and some seriously cool athletes and individuals driving the company's mission, SunGod is proving to the rest of the FMCG industry that putting sustainability first doesn’t mean boring, dry or dull business.
Whilst there is an abundance we could showcase as to why we believe SunGod is leading the way in the positive impact, here are our top five take homes:
Carbon Neutrality - linking with the topic section SunGods entire operation, from day one, is carbon neutral. Working with ClimatePartner, SunGod has mapped the impact of every product ever made, from production, logistics & disposal, and neutralised their impact through Gold Standard carbon offsetting. However, SunGod views carbon offsetting as only an interim step in their progress to Net Zero.
Lifetime Guarantee - designed to limit the amount of waste generated from their products, every pair of SunGods has a lifetime guarantee. So if they break, or you break them, SunGod will repair them, free of charge.
Charity Partnerships - not only do SunGod have a huge sporting presence, their charity collaborations are equally as significant. Supporting charities that align with their values such as Surfers Against Sewage, The Bike Project and Protect our Winters, SunGod match customers' donations, create limited edition collections and volunteer both their team and their athletes' time to give back.
Certifications - SunGod is both a B Corp company and a member of 1% for the Planet reinforcing that everything is for the triple bottom line: people, planet and profit. Their business practices are shaped by informed decisions, seeking to do less harm and more good in everything they do.
100% Recycled Frames - launched in 2021 and rolled out widely across the range, SunGod has created 100% recycled frames. These frames offer all the flexibility and durability renowned with any SunGod product, but manufactured from 100% recycled material; with a 7x smaller carbon impact than their virgin plastic counterparts - a first in the eyewear industry.
As if this wasn’t enough, the 2022 SAS collection features SunGod’s all-new Infinite™ Recycled Lenses. This lens material is a major breakthrough, as it maintains the exceptional level of lens clarity while also, for the first time, incorporating 50% recycled material into the lens itself. This innovation has been driven by a need to push the boundaries of performance whilst simultaneously reducing the environmental impact of SunGod’s eyewear.
Feeling inspired? Shop the SunGod x SAS range:
> In case you missed it
🌱 Carbon Handprints: How IKEA are flicking the switch on renewable energy.
Featuring Truestart Coffee, Huel, Patagonia and more...
> Follow up with…
Article: What is carbon offsetting?
Event: Sustainability Networking Breakfast Event: Sustainable Procurement - 22nd September
Event: Circular Economy in the Food and Drink Sector - 29th September