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Carbon Neutral Doesn’t Cut It

Why a sustainability mission needs to go beyond the bare minimum to impact real change for the climate, and why BYBI is the one to lead the conversation around carbon.

The scientific consensus is clear; the world has an urgent carbon problem. Carbon has created a blanket type effect around the globe that effectively traps heat and is rapidly changing the world’s climate. As the earth continues to heat, science tells us the impact will not only be catastrophic, but irreversible.

If carbon is the cause, then carbon reduction is the only solution. Building a consumer brand in 2020 means that we have the responsibility to consider your contribution to climate change, given we are privy to a profound amount of evidence that our industrial processes have huge carbon footprints. It is naive and irresponsible to think we don’t need to make changes as a collective beauty industry. 

How is BYBI tackling carbon?

In the short term, by the end of 2020, we are offsetting all of our historical emissions. We are taking responsibility for our past actions, penalising ourselves for our carbon misdemeanours. But it’s not enough.

While investing in carbon offsetting, like reforestation or funding renewable energy projects, are extremely important in furthering our global efforts to combat climate change, they often take time to build impact and scale. Trees quite literally take a long time to grow. But it doesn’t really address the problem: we can’t offset ourselves out of the climate crisis. While it would be much easier to pay our way out of the problem, it won’t change the fundamentals of how our industrial processes work. Change needs to be more profound, because carbon neutral is not enough to address the world’s needs.

We are building a beauty industry first: a carbon negative supply chain, where we have the net effect of removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, rather than adding or offsetting it through carbon tax or external offsetting projects.

How are we going to do it?

In all honesty, we haven’t 100% figured it out yet. As a first point, we know that there are areas of our supply chain that need immediate attention such as transportation and production. We’re investing heavily in our internal infrastructure and systems in order to prioritise demand planning and ban unsustainable methods of transportation to move goods, such as air freight. All manufacturing will also run on green energy from 2021. Those two decisive actions alone will reduce our monthly carbon emissions by several tonnes, immediately reducing our carbon emissions. 

We’re looking at achieving a carbon negative supply chain through three strategies: reduce, capture and remove. We’re looking at implementing internal processes that offset our emissions through a process of sequestering. We already do a lot in this arena: carbon negative packaging, local sourcing and upcycled raw materials, but it’s now about measurement, augmentation and transparent goal setting. Our focus is on our production supply chain, because this is where the bulk of our emissions sit, but our work is also extended to distribution and operational outputs. We think we can do it by 2025, more on that to follow...

It won’t be easy to become carbon negative, but we believe that it’s the right goal and with the right approach, an achievable one. Carbon neutral just doesn’t cut it.

Written by BYBI founders, Elsie & Dominika.