How Can We Reduce Our Carbon Footprint?

Updated: Sep 14, 2021

With Earth Day drawing our attention to the environmental impact of our actions, co-founder and CEO of Capture, Josie Stoker shares tips on how we can all take simple steps to decrease our carbon footprint

How many decisions do you make in a day? Hundreds? Thousands? Tens of thousands? Some may be small, like whether you choose to snack on an apple or a muesli bar. Others may be more complex, like choosing what energy company you want to go with or purchasing a car. These decisions lead to actions (or inaction), and these actions come with the side effect of contributing to our carbon footprint.

Our carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of our activity. Right now, it is more crucial than ever that societies make a significant effort to decrease global carbon emissions. For individuals, sometimes it can feel like we’re just a small drop in a much bigger ocean. However, the great news is, our actions can make a difference.

We caught up with Josie Stoker, co-founder and CEO of Capture, to tell us more about what we can do as individuals:

What are your top three tips to reduce your carbon footprint?

  • Reducing meat - Reducing meat (especially beef) is one of the highest impact choices you can make when it comes to reducing emissions! Industrially produced meat is the leading global cause of deforestation (clearing land for animals to graze or to plant food for animals to eat). Processing meat also requires a lot of energy and water. The environmental footprint of a [plant-based] Beyond Burger is 38 times better than a beef burger (12.7x less carbon, 43.3x less land and 58.6x less water).

However, looking at where your meat comes from is also helpful. For example, beef cattle raised on deforested land is responsible for 12 times more greenhouse gas emissions than cows reared on natural pastures, but even the best scenario per kg serving of beef has over 4 times the emissions of a serving of tofu, as this handy graphic from the BBC demonstrates.

  • Reducing your flights - Another huge impact choice. I’ll let the below graph speak for itself here. To help put this in perspective, the average UK carbon footprint is around 12.7 tonnes, and we’ve been advised that we need to get this down to 2.3 tonnes. There’s a lot of work to do!

  • Switching your home energy tariff to renewables - This is a third great option to drastically reduce the carbon consumption of your home! There are plenty of options to choose from, and by selecting a renewable tariff, you’ll ensure that no fossil fuels are burned to keep your lights on!

From your experience, what are the biggest factors holding people back from leading more sustainable lifestyles?

I think a fair few people do hold back, thinking that they could never go vegan or give up flying, therefore they will never be able to be sustainable - but we need a lot of people ‘doing sustainability’ imperfectly, rather than just a handful of perfect individuals!

Whilst it’s easy to keep track of sugar or fat in our diets, it’s a pain to find and track sustainability data. There's a huge knowledge gap due to a lack of clear and transparent data and guidelines to put things in perspective.

How can the Capture app help individuals and teams reduce their carbon footprints?

Capture helps individuals understand emissions from travel and food choices, set customised monthly emissions targets, then auto-track on the go! We also have a learning section with weekly articles and tips (where we go deeper into societal issues around sustainability too), and optional offsetting for those who want to add that extra step.

We help organisations mobilise a sustainable workforce through our in-app branded team areas, where you can join your colleagues in sustainability challenges, track collective CO2 savings and get involved in leaderboards!

How do you expect sustainability trends to change over the next decade?

I’m expecting a huge leap in sustainability data and transparency, empowering us all to easily ensure that who we work for, vote for, buy from and invest in aligns with our values.

As Josie highlighted, we mustn’t get hung up on trying to be perfect when it comes to sustainable living. Taking one manageable step at a time is something we can all do. Here at Mama Dolce, we’re on our own sustainability journey. We believe that this is a journey that never ends, and we will always be learning and seeking to improve where we can.

What’s a decision you’re pondering right now? What's one thing that you're going to do today to decrease your carbon emissions?

free-from, with love x

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