The Co-op went through a Climate Smart Certification process this spring. The process has three main parts: to complete an inventory of our business’ greenhouse gas emissions, to create a reduction plan for our emissions, and to communicate our plan to the community. I’m happy to report we completed the process and we’re now Climate Smart certified for 2019!
Our measurement process took a surprising amount of work. In the end, we estimate that our emissions were about 24 tCO2e (tons of carbon dioxide equivalent) in 2018. Our largest source of direct emissions is propane use for our cooking equipment – this dwarfs the emissions from our electricity use even though we used over 155,000 kWh last year. As far as indirect emissions go, our largest sources of emissions were staff commuting and paper use; over 60% of our paper use is paper bags for customers (groceries, bread, cookies, etc.). Based on this analysis, we’re working on a plan for reduction. Our plan calls for relatively small changes for the rest of this year – such as continuing to upgrade to LED lights, adding insulation to the building, encouraging staff ride-sharing, looking at alternative packaging, and looking for ways to reduce our waste to the landfill. In the long run, we’re considering big changes – such as replacing our propane cooking equipment with electric equipment.
Probably the most important result of this analysis, though, is that it will help us make decisions in the future; for example, we decided to use a refrigerant in our new cooler and freezer in the bakery that can be captured and reused (instead of released to the atmosphere). If we ever need to purchase a vehicle, we’ll definitely consider electric in spite of the initial cost; electric vehicles pay for themselves relatively quickly in BC.
Let us know if you have any questions or suggestions!