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  • Writer's pictureMark Hastings

i10: Environmental Champion Award Winner

i10 has won the Environmental Champion award 2022 at the Mercury Business Awards! The award recognises i10's commitment to reducing its carbon footprint with projects including cutting our use of fossil fuels, caring for the natural environment, improving the use of resources by cutting waste, reducing pollution and increasing our environmental understanding.


When you think of Government suppliers leading the way in offsetting their emissions, I doubt the consultancy sector springs to mind. Just because the sector doesn’t use concrete, lease cars or manufacture things doesn’t make it exempt. Yet up until now, consultancies haven’t exactly been proactive here.


Just how unique?

Plenty of business consultancies have carbon reduction initiatives, and indeed i10 has already offset our carbon footprint dating back to the year we were formed, yet we believe we’re the first business consultancy to the UK public sector to carbon offset its projects, making them routinely carbon neutral and ensuring we remain carbon negative. This was corroborated when a client confirmed that none of the twelve other big digital consultancies they worked with offered 100% project-level carbon offset.


Why don't other consultancies do this?

Anything not explicitly required in a quotation/tender has one of two consequences: it either erodes margin (if absorbed) or (if passed onto the client) it risks making the quotation less competitive. Neither are welcome, so until it becomes mandatory in 2050, consultancies don’t carbon offset their work. At i10, we see it as too important to ignore and we take our role in helping the UK Government to lead the way on national decarbonisation seriously. That’s why our internally administered project is carefully aligned to the social value model used by Government.


Specific constraints

This offering explicitly relates to consultancy services (in general) provided to the UK public sector. This is how it works:

  • We have estimated the carbon footprint of a typical UK Government digital project

  • In our proposals, we make commitments to offset the carbon footprint generated by each project

  • We use initiatives such as planting trees in Restor-registered sites and funding Verra-registered Verified Carbon Standard projects, to offset the carbon footprint generated by the work

  • We have our contributions independently verified (see below), and make them transparent a live dashboard that is publicly available A single engagement with the Food Standards Agency (FSA) back in 2021 was the pathfinder here. Under this contract, i10 planted 500 trees per project and has thus far delivered 74 projects. The success of this initiative lead us to roll it out with all our other clients and include it in all new proposals, doubling our commitment per project to 1,000 trees.

How measurement is made

We use a company called Ecologi (www. ecologi.com) to undertake the actual carbon offsetting. They provide a live tracker of how many trees we’ve planted, where, and even which species. This can be seen here, with highlights included below:

Governance

The trees we plant are in Restor-registered sites, typically via Eden Reforestation Projects (977+ million trees planted to date) who work with Governments and local communities to ensure the protection, health and growth of the trees. We also use We used an ‘employ to plant’ model, providing a consistent income for local people who work as planters, nursery staff and forest guards, allowing the local community to achieve greater levels of access to education, nutrition and healthcare. Our partners at Ecologi ensure that sustainable land-use practices are followed. The trees planted will provide new food sources for local people including avocado, lemon and papaya trees.


Additionally, for our carbon capture, we utilise four Verra-registered Verified Carbon Standard/Gold Standard projects, offsetting 180 tonnes of carbon at the time of writing.


Results

  • We already expect to offset 805,000kg/805 tonnes of CO2 per annum through our pathfinder client contract.

  • By rolling this out across all our clients, we expect to offset an additional 1,250,000kg/1,250 tonnes of CO2 per annum

  • Cumulatively, that’s the equivalent of 2,690 long haul flights, or 6,165m2 of sea ice saved, or almost 5.1 million miles driven in a car


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