How Earthly is helping YuLife businesses go beyond carbon neutral

YuLife users plant a tree every four minutes – here, we explain why data and honesty are integral to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) success.

Yugi the Giraffe - 16 March 2022

Three quarters of Millennials would take a pay cut to work at an environmentally responsible company, and 60% of Gen Z prefer to buy from sustainable brands. There are a plethora of business cases – as well as the dominant environmental one – for ESG action. But with 85% of carbon-reduction projects having little to no impact in terms of CO2 reduction, how do you know the projects you’re investing in are getting results: removing carbon and restoring nature?

Furthermore, if a business doesn’t understand the true cost that its products and services have on the planet, there’s a risk of notable green credentials being displaced by greenwashing notoriety. Honesty about impact is integral to building confidence in a movement fraught with hype and woolliness – and actions speak louder than words where Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues are concerned.

This is where YuLife’s partnership with Earthly is making a difference: providing credible carbon audits, and curated climate projects that stand up to scrutiny.

Carbon audits and climate positive certification

Earthly's team of engineers and scientists are able to accurately measure the carbon impact of a company. The business can subsequently be connected with nature-based projects that will help it to become carbon neutral. Beyond neutral, in fact; with the right projects and investment, it can lead to climate positive certification.

There are a number of practical ways in which Earthly can be used to support ESG activity through YuLife, including the option for employees to improve the health of the planet at the same time as improving their own health and wellbeing. YuLifers are financially rewarded with YuCoin for making healthier choices in their everyday life – walking, running, cycling, meditation or fitness classes – and can then use the currency to plant trees, via the rewards section of the YuLife app.

The YuLife philosophy is that small steps create lasting impact, and this is reflected in the numbers. Since the launch of a partnership with Earthly in October 2021, YuLifers have already helped to plant over 9,000 trees – by simply living healthier lives each day.

There is an opportunity for the YuLife businesses to contribute too. Every step, run, and meditation minute contributes to an overall set of targets that release a 5% of premium kick back (ROI) refund. This can be used to purchase carbon credits  or plant additional trees through Earthly.

Interested to hear more? Earthly’s team shares some insight on the industry, how it all works, and why it’s working…

Can you tell us a bit about the ESG landscape – have you seen significant changes in the last two years?

There’s been a surge in focus on ESG, including carbon reduction and offsetting, as well key areas such as biodiversity and inequality. This in part stems from a corporate rush to make Net Zero commitments that support the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement – a game-changing climate deal aiming to limit global warming to below 2°C, and preferably 1.5°C.

More recently, we have seen a boom in the voluntary carbon market, including an increasing focus on nature-based solutions that deliver benefits beyond carbon for people and biodiversity as opposed to renewable energy credits.

Importantly for businesses, interim targets for Net Zero are needed to ensure that emissions are rapidly reduced over the next ten years. This will be supported by new transition plan requirements in 2023. Carbon offsetting and removal has an important role to play both in supporting businesses on their journey to Net Zero, and to neutralise residual emissions in the longer term.

Is it just carbon offsetting with a new name?

No. We want to encourage businesses to go above and beyond just carbon offsetting. We show you where your company's impact is so that you know what mark it is making on the planet. We then help the business invest in the nature-based solutions that will pack the biggest punch when addressing the climate crisis. And we don’t just balance your impact – we help you become climate positive by removing at least 10% more than your emissions.

How does the process work?

We have several solutions that we can offer businesses of different sizes. The most commonly used is our Climate Positive Business certification: a complete assessment of the emissions done in two parts: first we measure the company’s footprint by gathering data about its operations, then we balance those emissions.

Once we know the footprint, clients can choose which project they want to work with to remove their impact. The cost of the removal varies depending on the project. At the end of the journey, we grant them our Climate Positive Business badge and access to our dashboard where they can track their progress and positive impact.

Our API customers on the other hand are able to support our nature based solutions directly through their interface, just as YuLife is. This means that companies and their clients can help to restore nature at the touch of a button, while keeping track of their overall impact.

How do you support businesses that want to get started in carbon reduction through YuLife?

The first step of any carbon reduction project is to measure what the current impact is. Without knowing this, a business won’t know what it has to work with. Earthly will help companies understand, measure and balance their footprint immediately, providing businesses with a report that allows them to see where reduction targets can fit in. Using this process, and measuring on a yearly basis, companies are able to show efforts and goals achieved on their climate journey.

Can you explain how you carry out a carbon audit?

We follow the GHG Protocol which establishes a comprehensive global standardised framework to measure and manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from private and public sector operations, value chains and mitigation actions. This gives us the standards to which we can request data from our clients’ business operations, data that covers scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. This means clients should provide data that covers from their electricity consumption to the amount spent on electronics or legal services.

What if a client doesn’t have the specific data requested?

Clients aren’t expected to know everything that is requested and we are allowed to use government averages in certain cases, so we ask our clients to provide the data to the best of their ability.

What forms of carbon offsetting can YuLife users invest in?

We only work with nature-based projects around the globe that protect, regenerate and restore nature while tackling the climate crisis. In order to be included in our portfolio, projects have to meet a set of minimum standards with regard to climate, biodiversity and social impact. Our assessment has been designed with our independent scientific board of eight expert advisors, alongside the IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions.

We provide the opportunity to partner with the full spectrum of ecosystems, from forests to farming to the ocean, which together have the potential to remove 10 Gt CO2e from the atmosphere per year. Nature-based solutions also provide unique benefits, including avoided emissions from deforestation, direct carbon removal from the atmosphere and co-benefits for people and biodiversity, such as employment and education.

Can you tell us about the projects that companies and individuals have supported through YuLife?

YuLife members have initially been supporting our mangrove planting project in Madagascar that has reforestation and poverty alleviation at its heart.

Mangroves are important for the climate crisis because they sequester carbon at a rate that is 2-4 times greater than mature tropical forests. Each mangrove tree removes around 308kg of CO2 from the atmosphere over the course of its life-cycle (approximately 25 years).

Madagascar has experienced deforestation on an enormous scale with only 10% of its original forest remaining today. Approximately 75% of species found in Madagascar are not found anywhere else in the world. This means it is even more important to protect what is left and to help to reforest areas that have been destroyed.

How can businesses and their employees contributing to Earthly via YuLife track and measure their impact?

YuLife enables members to plant trees by donating YuCoin they’ve earned in the app, while also allowing businesses to go through the same Climate Positive Business certification process that YuLife themselves did with Earthly.

When businesses join Earthly, they get access to a dashboard that shows the carbon they have removed from the atmosphere, the trees they have planted and the projects they have invested in. This dashboard can be made public and accessible to everyone and is currently being developed to showcase the co-benefit details of our projects, allowing for a deeper understanding of the positive impacts created.

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.