Looking to the rain forest

CO2 compensation - Schwabe supports a start-up

The topic of emissions and energy is one of our areas of focus in the Schwabe Group’s strategy towards becoming a climate-neutral sustainable company. To reduce our CO2 footprint, we always apply measures in a particular sequence: reduction – substitution – compensation.

No climate neutrality without climate compensation

We have been working on reducing our CO2 emissions for many years now - and have already achieved a great deal. Another considerable step forward took place in 2022 when we substituted the fossil fuels  we purchase with renewable sources of energy.

We are continuing to work on reducing the size of our carbon footprint. That said, a manufacturing company like the Schwabe Group will always produce a certain amount of greenhouse gases. In other words, there will inevitably be some emissions. In the process of achieving climate neutrality, hardly any manufacturing company will be able to get by without compensation.

The Schwabe Group promotes innovation

Looking to the rain forest

The Schwabe Group supports the innovative approach of a start-up company called Treeo. It develops methods for CO2 removal which will trap carbon from the atmosphere on a lasting basis.

There are many reforestation projects designed to compensate for companies’ emissions, and they are designed to trap CO2 on a long-term basis. But in some cases it is not clear whether the newly planted trees can even survive for a longer period of time and whether lasting carbon removal can be guaranteed.

The goal: net-zero emissions

Our understanding of CO2 compensation was shaped by the 1997 Kyoto Protocol: for every ton of CO2 emitted, another should be avoided elsewhere. That approach, however, meant that the original ton of emitted carbon was still in the atmosphere.

By contrast, Treeo is pursuing the approach known as net-zero emissions. This means that instead of “neutralizing” a ton of carbon by preventing it elsewhere, another is permanently captured from the environment to compensate. The net result is thus defined as zero emissions.

One way to achieve this goal is to capture carbon long-term in trees, construction timber or as biochar. In other words, this can happen throughout the entire value chain over the course of decades.

Society and science are both still located at the very beginning of this development. It will take several years of experience to figure out how to remove carbon permanently through approaches such as biochar. This would be a major breakthrough in correcting climate change.

The graph shows the difference between climate neutrality and net-zero emissions.

Further developing CO2 removals together

For us, compensating for CO2 means net-zero emissions, and the partner we have chosen for this endeavor is Treeo. This organization works with small farmers in Asia and Africa to develop long-term carbon capture in forests. Individual monitoring will track how much CO2 each tree captures.

At the moment, Treeo is preparing to have its approach to CO2 compensation certified. Currently, however, the focus is on the financial support and conceptual optimization of the project.

Why we chose Treeo

One of the reasons we decided to pursue carbon compensation with Treeo is that we are involved in monitoring, can actively integrate ourselves into this start-up and can help develop the concept. We want to learn along with Treeo, and based on the experience we gain with them, we want to grow better and better.

The Treeo app makes it possible to monitor each tree individually and creates long-term transparency since every tree is scanned once a year.

The small farmers Treeo works with are to be paid based on the carbon capture of their trees, and in addition they benefit from agroforestry options by being able to grow crops such as rice, corn or peanuts. In other words, the small farmers who plant “our” trees work with their families and communities and receive long-term additional sources of income by removing carbon and pursuing related agroforestry.

By supporting Treeo, we are blazing a new trail. Treeo is a young innovative project in which ambitious and clever minds work together. It will develop in conjunction with its supporters — such as the Schwabe Group. We as a company can become actively involved.

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