Kartesia strengthens its climate commitments
Last year, Kartesia updated its key stakeholders on how it was working to integrate ESG screening and climate change credentials throughout its portfolio. To achieve this goal, we partnered with third-party analytics provider Sustainalytics, who assess the carbon footprint of our investment portfolio using estimation models and compared it with an appropriate benchmark. It is only fair that we hold ourselves to the same high standards that we expect from our portfolio companies, so we have assessed our own carbon footprint. With the support of the UK based company Carbon footprint Ltd, have now assessed and offset our carbon emissions.
The climate change debate is not going away and nor is the irreversible impact on the world’s ecosystems and environment. World governments have set a “carbon zero” target for 2050, but even this may not be enough, so it is essential that every individual and company takes a serious look at how they operate and where they can cut the impact of their carbon footprint. This is clearly not an easy task and it is simply not possible for all of us to completely transform our way of living overnight, but there are other options available to us, including carbon offsetting.
In light of this, we are delighted to announce that Kartesia has been a carbon neutral organisation for the last 12 months. Carbon offsetting involves compensating for carbon dioxide emissions arising from human activity and industry by participating in schemes designed to make equivalent reductions in the Earth’s atmosphere. Kartesia worked with Carbon Footprint Ltd to assess its carbon emissions and then develop a programme of carbon offsetting to bring us carbon neutral status.
Kartesia selected a project that plants trees and protects existing forests in both the Great Rift Valley, Kenya and in the Amazon Rainforest in South America. For each tonne of CO2 that needs to be offset, one native tree is planted in the Great Rift Valley and a one tonne of CO2 is offset through the Verified Carbon Standard Portel-Pará REDD project in the Brazilian Amazon, which helps to protect the rainforest and stall the effects of deforestation, which acts as an accelerator for climate change as less carbon is being sequestered by the forests of the world.
By participating in these projects, not only are we compensating for our carbon footprint, but also providing additional benefits to the local communities which are often so reliant on these delicate ecosystems for their continued subsistence. Over the last ten years, the project in Kenya has planted almost 180,000 trees and rehabilitated more than 160 hectares of the forest which has helped to restore its water catchment ecosystem function. 20 community members make their livelihood from working in the forest and assisting with the replanting, while the project also includes an “empowerment scheme”. This aims to empower women in particular and has provided dairy cows to members of the community to increase their income from the sale of milk to the villagers and those living nearby.
One of the most devastating results of the rise in global temperatures as a result of excessive carbon emissions has been the destruction of natural habitats for the world’s wildlife. Projects like these not only offset our carbon emissions but help to regenerate those areas most affected by climate change. At the site in the Great Rift Valley, there is now an abundance of bird species, chameleons, antelope, dik diks, hares and elands, vastly improving the biodiversity of the area.
We are also delighted to announce that our efforts over the past 12 months have been recognised by the UN Principles for Responsible Investment (“UN PRI”), which upgraded its scoring for Kartesia from a “B” to an “A”, one step away from the highest available scoring of A+. We are making good progress, but there is still plenty more to be done in the next year and beyond.
Reducing one’s carbon footprint is not easy and particularly for investors with an extensive, diversified portfolio, but ensuring that businesses are contributing to lowering carbon levels, we believe should now be central to an investment case. We are committed to maintaining a carbon neutral status and are hopeful that this becomes an industry necessity, rather than just a “nice-to-have”, as we continue on the path to a “carbon zero” society in 2050.