In 2021, we teamed up with Green Carbon Finland to embark on a unique project: compensating the carbon footprint of everyone working at Taiste.
How can individual companies become more responsible when it comes to climate change? When considering various ways Taiste could contribute, the question became: what can we do that we wish everyone already did? Compensating CO2 emissions has been a debated topic for quite some time now. While it cannot solve the crisis on its own, it seems like a good place to start.
Of course, an ever-increasing number of companies already compensate for their emissions. We wanted to go one step further by also compensating the individual footprint of everyone working here. That includes life outside work too, up to the current Finnish average. The calculations are done annually, using the Climate Diet Calculator provided by the Finnish Environment Institute.
In addition to the compensation itself, this serves two purposes. By calculating our individual emissions we as a community become more aware of what our carbon footprints consist of. Also, because this approach is still novel, it is easier to create discussion around the topic – which hopefully helps creating a positive snowball effect.
One issue with compensation is that it's not always made clear what it means in practice. When we were looking for a suitable company to partner up with in our project, transparency was the most important criteria. After some consideration, we ended up choosing Green Carbon Finland. Based in Jyväskylä, they were the first in the Nordic countries to offer forest-based compensation that qualifies for the ISO standard.
What's noteworthy here is that Taiste's CO2 compensations are not some abstract thing in the future – they have already been realised.
Green Carbon's carbon sink projects are implemented all across Finland in co-operation with the local forest owners. This means that their clients know exactly where the compensation takes place. In our case, the locations are Alavus, Alajärvi and Kuortane.
"What's noteworthy here is that Taiste's CO2 compensations are not some abstract thing in the future – they have already been realised", Green Carbon's CEO Matti Toivonen explains.
"We're creating extra growth within the forests. Each cubic metre on top of normal growth translates to around one ton of carbon sequestration."
It comes as no surprise that people are putting an increasing amount of emphasis on how ecological their workplace is. This is a positive development, since it increases the pressure for companies to give sustainability more thought.
"It's inspiring to be part of a work community that chooses action instead of pretty speeches", says UX Designer Sanni Karlsson.
Juha Kekkonen, who just joined our UX team in August, also found the approach refreshing.
"This is the most concrete step towards sustainable development that I've seen in the field of IT here".
What comes as a positive and encouraging surprise is that a compensation project like this is not, in fact, a huge investment. The price for this year's employee compensations ended up being around 10k€. With the money, the compensation amount ended up being 242 tons. The idea that a large number of other companies could do the same is very realistic and could have a significant effect when combined. Let's spread the word and get to it!