RESTORE is going carbon neutral in line with its regenerative purpose, principles and vision of doing more good, and not just being less bad. The Carbon Neutral paper proposed by Lisanne and Martin was presented and approved by the RESTORE Management Committee meeting in Limassol in February
1. RESTORE aims to Avoid, Reduce and Replace at least 50% of the CO2 emissions associated with upcoming activities
2. Moreover, RESTORE aims to Offset all past and remaining CO2 emissions, making RESTORE carbon-neutral.
The RESTORE Manifest outlines guidance for regenerative travel decision making. We encourage all RESTORE participants to follow these guidelines both in their upcoming RESTORE travels as well as in their other work-related travels.
Offsetting of our CO2 emissions cannot be the only step we take. Offsetting cannot eliminate the pollutant effects related to carbon emissions, such as high-pollutant areas surrounding airports. While offsetting does counter the global warming effects, it doesn’t eliminate the additional health effects associated with greenhouse gasses such as Nox. In light of the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions needed to limit climate change to 1.5°C, carbon offsets are only responsible after having done everything to avoid and limit CO2 emissions from taking place in the first place. As an example, the RIBA challenge requires the reduction of embodied carbon of UK construction projects by at least 50-70% before offsetting can take place.
We must, however, not only consider the CO2 footprint of RESTORE activities, but also consider the ‘handprint’, being the positive outcomes that are achieved. What is the result of e.g. educating young professionals and academics in a training school, raising their awareness and knowledge of regenerative sustainability and design? What is the result of publishing articles and books on regenerative sustainability? We need to consider a balancing-act between lowering our CO2 footprint while enhancing our handprint.
As such, the key principles of a regenerative travel policy are:
Avoiding, Reducing and Replacing CO2 emissions
Offset any remaining CO2 emissions in a timely manner, using a reliable CO2 offset program
The overall environmental impact will be positive, meaning no remaining CO2 emissions when combined with our positive ‘handprint’ of enhancing and disseminating knowledge in respect of built environment regenerative sustainability.
Our Avoid, Reduce, Replace and Offsetting approach will be done in full alignment with the COST inclusiveness policy, the general principle of giving a fair opportunity to any Action participant to host meetings and the COST Vademecum. It must be also, that our approach will be only applied in addition to the COST rules (CSO documents, in current form or future versions), and as such, COST rules always take precedence over any inconsistency or contradiction.
In planning upcoming activities, the management of the Action will consider, on a case by case basis, web-based options for activities that have a low ‘handprint’ (being the expected outcomes as a result of the activity) in relation to the expected footprint. The invitation to upcoming activities will include the explicit option to join the meeting through dial-in options such as Skype / Go To Meeting. RESTORE will consider web-based dissemination possibilities such as webinars, MOOC’s, etc.
In planning upcoming meetings, the management of the Action will consider on a case by case basis,
– combining meetings and activities, both of RESTORE, as well as combinations with other external events
– the CO2 impact of possible locations, and select a location that has a good combination of a positive ‘handprint’ and low footprint.
The invitation to upcoming meetings will include the suggestion to consider low-carbon transport, such as travelling by train. Participants should consider taking a direct flight instead of a connecting flight.Where flights are taken, considerations should be given to low-budget airlines who typically have a lower carbon footprint. For short distance travel <300 km or where there are direct train connection options, flights would be discouraged
For the purpose of making sure RESTORE has a regenerative, and thus positive, environmental impact after its conclusion, we will offset remaining emissions, in addition to emissions that have already taken place. For this purpose, the total CO2 emissions of RESTORE will be estimated and communicated
Your Offset Contribution
RESTORE has selected reliable and short-term offsetting scheme options, to offset remaining emissions within 15 years. The contributions to this offsetting scheme are made directly by individual RESTORE members and participants, who are asked to send a confirmation ‘receipt’ of the contribution to the CO2 management of RESTORE. The contributors to the offsetting scheme will be acknowledged here on the RESTORE website.
All members of RESTORE and all participants of past RESTORE activities are asked to make a voluntary contribution to the offsetting scheme of €20. This will seek to offset the CO2 emissions of the first three grant periods.
For upcoming meetings, all participants are asked for a voluntary contribution to the offsetting scheme of €15. If the first three grant periods are already offset through the past activities as outlined above, the amount for upcoming meetings will be €6.
Participants that take long distance travels (e.g. >5.000 km / to other continents) are asked for a specific contribution that is in line with the CO2 emissions of their travels (estimated at €10-25).
The Recommended Offset Scheme is The Gold Standard https://www.goldstandard.org Go to select a project. Select a project equivalent to our €20 /$20 offset contribution. Add to cart and check out. Send receipt to us.
We are also exploring the purchase of a RESTORE ‘Grove’ through Trees for Life (https://treesforlife.org.uk ) whereby you will be able to purchase a tree to be planted in the RESTORE Grove. Trees through this scheme will hugely contribute to climate, biodiversity and carbon improvement. We are assuming an offset of 2 trees per tonne of carbon, which would be 3 trees for offsetting RESTORE grant years 1,2 and 3. And one tree per year 4 event. Trees planted through the Trees for Life RESTORE Grove could be purchase for any activity within or outside of RESTORE, or as a gift, and beyond the life of the RESTORE Action.
We are open to suggestions for other, local country specific, offsetting schemes that are suitably accredited.
RESTORE offsetting will be reported in the RESTORE newsletters, here on the website and at events.
Thank you for your support and contributions. The RESTORE CO2 TEAM