Measuring and offsetting our carbon footprint

Updated: 10 Apr 2024

We are a Carbon Neutral Plus Organisation and have been calculating and offsetting our annual carbon footprint since 1 April 2020. Such measurement has resulted in a number of changes to how we operate, with the focus on the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – today and into the future.

Our carbon footprint

Carbon Neutral Plus Organisation logoBetween 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023, 106.38 tonnes of CO2e was recorded as being produced through the operations of the Oddfellows’ Liverpool and Manchester offices, and its associated transport activities, which includes our financial services brand, Unity Mutual.

This figure is up 5.4% on the previous year. However, benchmarked against employee numbers, carbon emissions have remain almost constant (up 0.2%).

A table comparing carbon footprint CO2e from 2020 to 2023

The amounts, calculated by Carbon Footprint Ltd, include fuel consumption, company-owned vehicles and business travel.

What is a carbon footprint?

Our carbon footprint is the total amount of greenhouse gases generated by our actions and measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e).

Flow chat with 3 interlinked icons saying Calculate carbon footprint, Reduce emissions and Carbon offset

Reducing carbon emissions

In the most recent assessment, it reported how site energy usage accounts for 64% of our total emissions, with the majority of this attributed to electricity used at the Manchester office.

In 2021, an energy audit of the Oddfellows’ Manchester office was undertaken. As a direct result, in November 2022, the Society’s electricity tariff for the Manchester office switched from brown to green.

A green electricity tariff is when suppliers make a promise to match all or some of the electricity used with renewable energy.

In addition, all the building’s lighting, which operates on a timer or sensor system, has been updated to LED.

The Oddfellows’ CEO, Jane Nelson, said: “Our focus is to keep learning through our assessments and to make incremental changes to the way we operate so we can bring our greenhouse gas emissions down and play our part in tackling climate change.

“In addition to our move from a brown to green energy tariff, we’ve switched out single-use plastic cups and replaced them with glasses in our offices, encouraged meetings to be remote if travel isn’t necessary and will continue to recycle where we can."

Woman shopping in a market holding a fabric tote bag which says small actions add up on it. Fruit and veg stalls in the background

Carbon offsetting

To offset our carbon footprint for 2022-23, the Society has funded a range of carbon dioxide-saving initiatives around the world. These are:

  • Eritrea: Zoba Anseba Community Safe Water Project
  • Cambodia: Peatland Restoration and Conservation Project
  • Brazil: Pacajai REDD+ Project
  • Bulgaria: Methane Gas Capture and Electricity Production at Kubratovo Wastewater Treatment Plant in Sofia
  • India: Energy Efficient Cook Stove Implementation, Reforestation Of Degraded Land By Mtpl, 300 MW Solar PV Plant at Bhadla, Rajasthan, Wind Power Project of CLP Wind Farms (India) Private Limited

Net Zero ambitions

“We aim to become Net Zero as a Society. This is where we reduce our carbon emissions to the lowest amount possible and offset as a last resort,” said Jane.

“While we are on that journey, our promise is to always offset our carbon footprint.”

The annual assessments, and Carbon Neutral Plus Organisation status, remain in relation to the Oddfellows’ Liverpool and Manchester offices’ operations. However, the Society’s UK branch network will be encouraged to adopt similar approaches to measure, reduce and offset their carbon footprint.

The Society’s next annual carbon footprint assessment will cover the period of 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024.

Importance of taking action

“Climate change is real. It’s the greatest environmental challenge we’ve ever faced. Our actions of the past have resulted in today’s rapid levels of global warming,” explained Jane. “But there is hope, because we can all do something about it.”

A recent article by the BBC reported the world is now about 1.1C warmer than it was in the 19th Century, and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen by 50%.

The article continued to explain that if nothing is done, scientists think global warming could exceed 4 degrees Celsius in the future. This would lead to devastating heatwaves, millions losing their homes to rising sea levels and irreversible loss of plant and animal species.

Further reading

View further information about how the Society is reducing its carbon footprint and managing the risks of climate change.

The BBC's What is climate change? A really simple guide
Gov.uk's Climate change explained 
United Nations' Climate action 

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