Protocol for carbon neutral project




1. About us

The O.R.C.A. Foundation (Ocean Research Conservation Africa), set up in 2001, is located in Plettenberg Bay on the world famous "Garden Route" of South Africa. The projects are focused on creating a practical conservation model for the sustainable utilization of marine, coastal and estuarine habitats and returning these habitats to a pristine condition by combining education, conservation, community development, science, tourism and a viable business model. Recognising the need to combine terrestrial and marine activities, Planet Green Ocean Blue is one of the initiatives of the ORCA Foundation that focuses on actively making a difference to the health of the planet by encouraging people to plant trees to offset their carbon emissions.

Planet Green Ocean Blue’s work embraces best practices in sustainable environmental activities that use local labour and promote empowerment of poor communities while also playing an important role in reducing the carbon emissions that are threatening our planet.

Conservation and sustainable development is about people and popular participation, about broad consensus and common purpose, about the willingness of the all agents of change to take full responsibility of the environment in the areas they live.

Planet Green Ocean Blue - Staff
Founder: Tony Lubner : tony@orcafoundation.com
General Manager: Charles Lilford
Project Co-ordinator: Tracy Meintjies: bookings@orcafoundation.com
Nursery Manager: Andrew Scott
Marketing Manager: Natasha Lilford
Auditors: Moores Rowland: b.ferreira@mweb.co.za
Legal Advisors: Martin Hurwitz attorneys: martin.hurwitz@megaweb.co.za

Bankers:
First National Bank
Branch number: 210514
Account number: 62031316856

 

2 - The issue – climate change

Climate change has become one of the most important issues facing humanity. Over the last few years we have finally realised that the way we are living is having a very negative effect on the planet we call home. Science has now proved that our lifestyle is responsible for global warming, and every day we hear about extreme weather all over the world which is causing traumatic disruption in the lives of not only humans, but also the land and sea animal species which share the planet with us.

The root of the global warming challenge is that human beings are generating more carbon than the earth’s dwindling number of trees can absorb and neutralise. This carbon is building up in the earth’s fragile, finely-balanced atmosphere, and causing a ‘blanket’ effect - which means that the heat radiated from the earth isn’t being dissipated as effectively as in the past.

The carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of our modern consumer-oriented society are a major contributor to rapid climate change. Vehicle exhaust gasses, coal-fired power stations, forests burnt to clear land for agriculture, and aircraft travel are the most obvious ways in which we pour carbon into the atmosphere. But there are many more human activities which do so too, and comparatively few of us are aware of them.

Reducing our carbon emissions is obviously vital to slow, or hopefully even reverse, climate change — but the daily reality is that with world economies booming our carbon emissions are rapidly increasing. Even as many nations are taking steps to reduce carbon emissions – notably in Europe - both India and China are continually building many new coal-fired power stations, which is set to aggravate the problem.

At the same time deforestation continues at an accelerating pace as previously pristine areas are invaded by land-hungry peasants and ‘agribusiness’.

Because most people don’t have – or, more accurately, don’t feel they have - the power to influence huge companies or governments to change their environmental policies, it is important for individuals and small groups to realise that they are not disempowered in the vital effort to reduce and neutralise carbon emissions.

Our message is that there IS an easy and effective way for concerned individuals, businesses and groups to take action on a personal, local level.

 

3 - An International Perspective

In 2007 private individuals in the UK spent around £4m offsetting carbon emissions. Business in ‘carbon offsets’ is soaring. About £60m worth were bought globally in 2007, up from £20m in 2005. Within three years the market is expected to top £300m. Whether driven by a desire to save the planet or a sense that "going green" is a powerful marketing tool, carbon offsets are everywhere. Need to book a British Airways flight to New York? Want to buy a new Range Rover or petrol from a BP garage? Simply click on the web link and find ways to offset your carbon emissions.

Mass purchase of carbon credits allowed the organisers of the World Cup to declare it ‘carbon neutral’. Ditto the makers of the Al Gore film An Inconvenient Truth, and the civil servants who arranged the 2007 G8 summit at Gleneagles. In 2008, Hampton School in Middlesex announced it had become the first carbon neutral school in the world, after paying £5,000 to Climate Care, a major British offset firm.

Many well-respected firms, including large multi-national corporates, are signaling their (often) new-found commitment to the environment by using it as a theme for their corporate advertising. Being carbon neutral, or taking substantial steps in that direction, is the new hot politically-correct image to have.

4 - The goal – effective action to neutralise and decrease carbon emissions

To offer solutions to people for effective action to neutralise and decrease carbon emissions.

The most effective solution to global warming is to reduce carbon emissions. Minimizing the use of fossil fuels like oil and coal, and living in such a way that we don’t contribute unduly to carbon buildup in the earth’s atmosphere are eminently feasible.

All that is required is for each of us to have the commitment to do it.

However, given humanity’s current heavy dependence on a variety of carbon-producing processes, it is going to take a while to reduce carbon emissions significantly – even given the necessary commitment to do so, which is not yet present.

So in the interim something else needs to be done. And there IS something very effective that CAN be done. We can help nature to handle the carbon buildup by planting trees.

By supporting forest restoration, you will be helping to absorb some of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere, as well as providing habitat for a wide range of wildlife.

Trees are green machines that act as natural filters of the air. Through the process of photosynthesis they absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in their trunk, branches, leaves, roots, soil and foliage, while releasing oxygen back out into the atmosphere.

Apart from taking effective steps to reduce our own carbon-generating activities, planting trees – or entering into an agreement to have trees planted on our behalf - is the easiest and most effective way to do something to help the earth cope.

 

5. How we achieve our goal

- Direct people to utilise the Carbon Calculator to determine the Carbon created from their lifestyles.
- Assess business’s unique carbon footprint.

1. Creating a high profile for the necessity of becoming carbon conscious.

There is an urgent need to create much greater awareness of the carbon-generating consequences of lifestyle choices, and the way events, venues, office buildings, business processes, industries and simple daily activities contribute to global warming. Through the daily education activities of the Planet Green Ocean Blue and The ORCA Foundation this awareness is constantly being introduced and reinforced.

While there is finally broadly-based awareness of climate change, and a general recognition that human activity is largely responsible for it, there is as yet little awareness of how each of us generates carbon, and how much we generate by what we do. This has left many of us feeling disempowered. While we are aware of the urgency of the issue, we are not aware of exactly what we can do.

This is about to change.
We make use of a Carbon Calculator (developed by internationally-respected auditing firm, Price Waterhouse Cooper) , which makes it easy to measure the carbon emissions of an individual, or a family, or a business – and to become aware of the carbon consequences of various activities.

Average individual emissions are calculated from lifestyles: heating and lighting the home, cooking, driving a car, flying in aircraft, an individual’s degree of energy efficiency, etc.

So now we can assist anyone to determine the amount of carbon they are responsible for producing. Furthermore, we can then determine the number of trees that need to be planted to offset this carbon - thereby making them Carbon Neutral Approved.

2. Who will invest in trees?

i. Individuals – the ultimate solution is for individuals to take responsibility and action. The system enables individuals to fund the planting of indigenous trees, either on a once-off or ongoing basis. The status of the trees can be constantly tracked using Google Earth.
ii. Business – Similarly there are a range of options for business organisations to become involved. Besides participating in a project that is improving both social and environmental conditions, business can take advantage of promoting positive branding for the benefit of improving bottom line profit.
iii. Landowners: Landowners that plant forest or re-forest portions of their land, using the Planet Green Ocean Blue system, will enjoy the benefit of improving the value of their land at a fraction of the cost. Also, they will be able to participate in selling carbon credits for their forested portion and gain further financial value for their land.

3. Creating synergy with like-minded groupings

It is in the best interests of the project to be linked to other organisations and groups which share, in broad terms, our mission to take effective action in the area of environmental conservation. On the principle that ‘one and one make three’, we have established relationships with such bodies, who are aware of what we are doing, publicise our activities, display our brochures, etc. In return, we also give them a ‘shopwindow’ in our venues. From time to time, we participate in particular projects with them as well.

 

 

6 - The process

i. Creating awareness

  • Small events, sponsor-branded invitations and programs
  • Meeting with community leaders, officials and representatives of various levels of government and NGOs.
  • Educational initiatives
  • Contact with individuals, groups, and private enterprise
  • Contact with the media

ii. Buy –in

  • Signing ‘em up
  • All the awareness-building in the world will not plant more trees if the final step in the ‘marketing’ process does not result in signed contracts and agreements, and consequent funding. So this aspect of the process is focused and results-driven.
  • Contracts and agreements
    The contracts and agreements available to ‘investors’ (private individuals, businesses and other groups) are as flexible as is realistically manageable – to cater for various ways of buying into the project.
iii. Project management

The following functions are handled by Planet Green Ocean Blue staffers:

  • Administration
    Co-ordination
    Accounting and Auditing of the process
  • Marketing
  • Signups, contracts, agreements
  • PR, media, programmes, events
    Website, brochures, advertising, educational programs (in both underprivileged and privileged communities)
  • Plantings Management
    Site assessment
    Liaison with nurseries, landowners
    Liaison with Guardians
    Follow-up assessment of plantings

 

7 – Accreditation, credibility

A description of how the project ensures credibility- a ‘mission-critical’ factor.

  • The project carries accreditation from a number of recognised organisiations:
    Specifically the international standards auditing group TUV Reinland have approved
    the process
  • Only indigenous species of trees are planted in open space or in already degraded areas, rehabilitated from previous alien species.
  • Trees are only planted in areas where there is contractual agreement with private land owners to ensure that these trees are not cut down and remain intact for generations to come.
  • Trees are kept in a database with specific GPS readings indicating their specific location to ensure that there is no double accounting of trees in the future.
  • To be approved “Carbon Neutral” involves an audit of two parts, one being the process we follow at Planet Green Ocean Blue and the other the planting of trees by an independent auditor. This will provide comfort to participants that the offsetting is credible.
  • Only recognised Certified nursery growers are used for this program.

8 - Map

An ongoing record of plantings, with GPS co-ordinates.

9 – Funding requirements

A detailed breakdown of budgetary allocations in ‘rands per tree’ format.

· These are calculated as a cost per tree, which translates to around :
· $ 10.00 or SAR93 per tree VAT inclusive. The components of this pricing are:

ACTIVITY ACTION COST (Rand)
· Meeting with community leaders, property owners, officials and councillors ORCA 2.00
· Site assessment, and selection of community guardians to care for the planted areas. ORCA/NURSERY 5.00
· Printing and signing of contracts with property owners ORCA 4.00
· Marketing costs ORCA 7.00
· Sowing of seed in nursery into seedling trays. NURSERY 2.00
· Transplant of seedling into 4kg bags NURSERY 7.00
· Growing of tree to 1m height NURSERY 9.00
· An indigenous tree of at least 1m in height delivered with planting instructions NURSERY 2.00
· Planting of tree NURSERY 7.00
· Providing educational material for Guardian ORCA 4.00
· Public relations, small events, sponsor branded invitations and programmes, and media release distribution ORCA 4.00
· Project Management, coordination, administration, accounting, reporting and media , advertising ORCA 8.00
· Follow up assessment of trees distributed following event, three and six months later ORCA/NURSERY 3.00
· Transport for all meetings and workshops, collection of materials etc. ORCA 2.00
· Contribution to Orca Foundation – Conservation and Education ORCA 5.00
· Transport of 4kg bag outside of 50km radius 4.43

· Mulcing around each tree 3.00

· Marketing and sales commission outside or ORCA (10%) 8.15

· Commission to selling agent Private 5.00

· VAT 14% 11.42

TOTAL 93.00

Land Owner Component

· ACTIVITY ACTION COST PER TREE
· Participation of Land Owner in project LAND OWNER 2.00
· Preparation of land for transplanting LAND OWNER Dependant on quality of land
· Planting of tree LAND OWNER 0.00
· Training of the guardians including materials, stationary and catering LAND OWNER
· Ongoing care of trees (payment to guardian) LAND OWNER

 

 

10 – Practical ways to reduce your carbon emissions

(courtesy of Energy savings trust)

Here are some recommendations to get you started. Avoid overwhelming yourself with drastic changes. It’s best to view this process like you would if you were adopting healthy eating instead of going on a crash diet. So do one thing new each week or each month and see your carbon footprint shrink over time.

At home
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Use our house calculator to find out how much CO2 you use. You can also get advice from the Energy Saving Trust. You might even be eligible for a grant to improve the efficiency of your home.

Heating conservation

  • Draughts waste a lot of energy by losing heat. One quick and relatively cheap win is to put a brush or seal on your doors to prevent air escaping round the edges. Letterboxes and keyholes also lose heat and can be covered too. Gaps in floorboards and skirting boards also let in draughts; you can fill in these gaps with newspaper, beading or sealant.
  • Stick aluminium foil or reflective panels behind radiators. This reflects heat back into the room rather than being absorbed into walls.
  • In winter close your curtains at night to stop heat escaping.
  • Make sure your loft has loads of insulation. It’s one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save energy and will pay for itself in hardly any time.
  • Consider insulating your cavity walls.
  • You can reduce 50% of your heat loss buy installing double glazing which in turn could cut your heating bill up to £90 a year. Make sure they are properly installed though, as gaps around the outside will lose heat.
  • Turn your thermostat down to 18°C and put on an extra jumper.

Electricity conservation

  • Switch to a renewable electricity supplier
  • Buy A-rated electrical appliances.
  • Switch to energy saving light bulbs, when your old bulbs break. They last around 10 times longer than ordinary light bulbs; they will save you money and come in loads of different styles.
  • Items left on standby can use up to 85% of the energy they would use if fully switched on. Turn them off at the wall – it doesn’t take long.
  • Electric tumble dryers use a huge amount of energy. If it’s a nice day dry your clothes outside or even inside if it’s not so nice.
  • When using a washing machine ensure there is a full load and turn down the temperature.
  • If you have lights in your garden use solar powered lights that charge during the day and don’t require electricity.
  • Take your phone charger out of the wall. It uses energy even when it’s not charging your phone.

Water savings

  • Make sure your hot water tank is insulated with a thick jacket. It will save you lots of money not to mention reducing emissions.
  • A dripping tap can be not only annoying but if it is a hot tap it can cost you in both water costs and water heating costs. Remember, water also has a carbon footprint associated with it from processing.
  • Always use the correct size saucepan, and when heating water only use the amount you need.
  • When making a cup of tea, only boil the amount of water that you need.
  • Turn off the tap while cleaning your teeth.
  • If your toilet cistern holds more than 6 litres of water (likely if it was installed before 2001) put a Hippo Water Saving device in it.
  • Have a shower instead of a bath, which uses far less energy and water.

Food and the fridge

  • The location of your fridge can make a difference in how energy efficient it is. Make sure it is out of direct sunlight and not close to the oven. Keeping it against an outside wall will help the heat it generates escape easily, and always make sure that there is a few inches’ space all around the fridge so that air can circulate.
  • Make sure you defrost your fridge and freezer on a regular basis.
  • Only set your fridge to as cold as you need it and avoid keeping the door open for long periods of time as the more cold air that escapes, the harder the fridge has to work. You should check the seal regularly as well, if it is damaged then cold air will be escaping.
  • You should never put warm or hot food into the fridge as this will make the fridge work extra hard to try and keep it cold; always allow food to cool down first.
  • Defrost frozen food in the fridge as this helps to keep it cool as it thaws.
  • Buy locally produced organic food.
  • Eat less meat; producing 1 calorie of meat requires a lot more land and energy, compared to 1 calorie of vegetables.

Driving Tips

Cars are generally very energy inefficient and traveling by train, bus or bike is much better for the planet. If you can’t manage without a car, changing your driving habits can help reduce its greenhouse emissions. Find out how much your car produces with our car calculator.

  • Anticipate road conditions and drive smoothly, avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking. This saves fuel and reduces accident rates.
  • Plan your journeys to avoid congestion, road works and getting lost.
  • Drive away immediately when starting from cold - idling to heat the engine wastes fuel and causes rapid engine wear.
  • Check your revs - change up before 2,500rpm (petrol) and 2,000rpm (diesel).
  • The most efficient speed depends upon the car in question but is typically around 55 - 65mph. Faster speed will greatly increase your fuel consumption.
  • Check your tyre pressures regularly - under-inflated tyres are dangerous and can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%.
  • If you're stuck in a jam, switch the engine off if you expect to be there for more than a minute or two. Cutting the engine will save fuel and reduce emissions.
  • Use air conditioning sparingly as it significantly increases fuel consumption.
  • Avoid short journeys - a cold engine uses almost twice as much fuel and catalytic converters can take five miles to become effective. Cycle or walk instead.
  • Accessories such as roof racks, bike carriers, and roof boxes significantly affect your car's aerodynamics and reduce fuel efficiency, so remember to remove them when not in use.
  • Get your car serviced regularly to keep it running efficiently.


Article IV. Flying

We realise that sometimes people have no choice but to fly but the best thing for the planet is if you don’t fly at all, the resulting emissions can often represent the biggest chunk of your carbon footprint. Many short haul flights can be replaced by other forms of public transport such as trains or buses. In the meantime, if you have to fly you can offset your flight using our flight calculator.

  • If you are feeling adventurous and have the time there are many options for travelling long haul without flying. There are many websites available offering advice on how to travel all over the world without flying.
  • When you have to fly, always consider if you can combine trips.
  • It’s best to fly direct rather than stopping over, aeroplanes use a lot of fuel taking off and landing.


Article V. At the Office

A lot of the things you can do are the same as you would do in your home, but if you are feeling adventurous, you can always have a go at persuading your boss to go green as well! Why not point them in the direction of our business calculator?

  • Only use the lights you need. Turn off lights in unused rooms. Better still; get your building to install occupancy sensors.
  • Turn off your computer monitor when you leave the office at the end of the day.
  • Do you really need those hard copies, or can you save it on your computer instead?
  • Print double-sided.
  • Open up - if you have windows you can open, use them to intelligently save energy.
  • Can you share a lift to get to work?
  • Perhaps see if you can teleconference and work from home occasionally.


Food source

Fresh, seasonal and local food is not only more flavoursome but is most often better for the environment than shopping at large supermarket chains. Find a farmers market local to you at www.farmersmarkets.net

The Soil Association offers “a taste of the good life” on their website, giving tips on how to revive the rustic and rudimentary joys of life. www.soilassociation.org


Travel

Taking the train can be a quick and cheap way to travel within and around Europe. Book early to avoid disappointment.
www.seat61.com

 

 
 
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