Updated: Mar 11, 2022
Sustainable business practices are core to Mananalu’s mission. It’s why we created an alternative to plastic water bottles in the first place. But the reality is: We need to ship heavy water bottles around the country to keep this company going. That's why we make sure our product and company are Carbon Neutral. Here's a cheat sheet on what carbon offsetting means.
Future generations deserve clean water and air, so this is where we focus our sustainability commitments. We’re proud to say this has resulted in a product that is both plastic negative and carbon neutral. These efforts also support 1% for the Planet–a global network of organizations that donate at least one percent of annual sales to environmental causes.
We also recently received our Climate Neutral Certification–meaning we remove the same amount of carbon from the atmosphere that we produce, through carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are slightly more complicated than plastic removal, but immensely important when it comes to saving the Earth from climate change, so we wanted to share everything that we’ve learned along the way.
Who Needs a Quick Refresher on Climate Change?
By now, we’ve all heard the shocking statistics about climate change and the urgency to act now. But unless you’re a climate scientist, you’re probably not an expert on carbon emissions and how they impact climate change. A little refresher never hurt anyone, so let’s start there.
Climate change is largely caused by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the primary greenhouse gas (GHG) that accounts for 80 percent of all GHG emissions in the United States. When released into the Earth’s atmosphere, GHGs (which also include methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases) create an impenetrable layer that traps heat. We all contribute to carbon emissions–known as our carbon footprint–through everyday activities like driving our cars or heating our homes. In fact, the average American carbon footprint is estimated at 16 tons, or 32,000 pounds, which is significantly higher than the global average of 4 tons.
We are already feeling the effects of climate change through recent incidents of extreme weather, which will only become more frequent and intense as global emissions continue to grow. Scientists maintain that achieving climate neutrality by 2050–or striking a balance between carbon emissions and carbon sequestration–is critical to limiting the worst effects of climate change.
While true climate neutrality will ultimately require public-private collaboration on a global scale, significant technological advancements, and improvements to infrastructure, there is an interim solution for neutralizing the impacts of carbon emissions that cannot currently be avoided. This is called carbon offsetting.
What Exactly is Carbon Offsetting?
In layman’s terms, a carbon offset involves removing an equivalent amount of GHG from the atmosphere for an emission that is made elsewhere. It’s worth noting that while carbon offsets are measured in 1 ton of CO2 removed (hence the name), they cover all GHGs, many of which are actually worse than carbon. The methane from cows, for example, which is released primarily by the beef industry, is actually 20 times worse than CO2.
Carbon offsets typically take the form of an environmental project that either prevents or removes GHGs. For example, a reforestation project that leads to the sequestering of carbon dioxide through the addition of trees, or the purchasing of clean-burning ovens in developing countries to reduce deforestation for firewood.
When carbon offsetting projects are documented and third-party verified, they generate a carbon credit. These carbon credits are purchased by individuals or businesses when they take an action to eliminate their carbon footprint and work toward climate neutrality.
Carbon credits are important because they represent “ownership” over one ton of carbon dioxide that has already been removed from the environment, thereby ensuring that the same carbon credit cannot be sold to another party. For all of these reasons and more, Mananalu has chosen to support third-party certified projects that generate a carbon credit, through Gold Standard, an industry leader for the most ethical, verified carbon credits available.
How Does Mananalu Support Carbon Offsetting?
Our sustainability team at Mananalu carefully tracks and measures our carbon emissions, which in 2021 came out to 376 tons, or 216 grams per can of Mananalu. This accounts for our employees, as well as the production and fulfillment of our cans of water, which includes purchasing aluminum cans, filling them with water, and moving them around the country.
Currently, we are completely offsetting our carbon footprint, through the support of five projects together with BioCarbon Partners, such as an avoided deforestation project in Zambia’s Luangwa Forest and the planting of diverse bioforests in Panama.
Each project was selected not only because it is proven to have a direct carbon offset, but also because of its downstream benefits. For example, in addition to reforesting an area with one of the highest rates of deforestation in the country, the Luangwa Forest Project is also addressing drivers of deforestation. This includes taking steps to eliminate poverty, creating jobs, and improving social services and infrastructure. The project is currently benefiting close to 36,000 households and enabling significant reforestation.
We mentioned earlier that in addition to offsetting our entire carbon footprint in 2021, Mananalu is also on the path toward a Climate Neutral Certification. This certification is important because it signifies that a company has achieved zero net carbon emissions while taking tangible steps to reduce future carbon emissions.
We are also excited to learn more about–and hopefully support!–cutting-edge carbon offsets in the year ahead. We find active carbon capture to be particularly compelling, which uses machines to actively draw carbon out of the air and sequester it below the ground or into rocks. We are fascinated by blue carbon, which offsets carbon through ocean-based projects, such as the conservation and reforestation of seagrass, salt marshes, and mangroves.
Most importantly, in 2022, Mananalu’s goal is to reduce the quantity of carbon emissions per can by 20 percent, for a total of 172 grams per can. We will do this by ensuring that our operations become increasingly efficient, which includes bottling water close to where the people drinking it live, thereby lowering our shipping footprint.
Now that you’ve gotten a crash course on carbon offsetting and why it’s so important, we hope you’ll join us on this wave of change. Consider offsetting your own carbon footprint, which you can do for as little as $10 per ton, or about $160 per year. It’s an investment in the future that pays back in dividends for generations to come.