The urgency of climate change can be overwhelming. All the data and information can make one paralized in passivity, not knowing exactly how to help or how to decrease damage. But having feelings is the first step. It means that you are aware. The next step is action and one of the best actions you can do is put your money where your mouth is – only buy products that don’t do harm. The new Climate Neutral certification is making that action easier for consumers.
“When consumers are going to the store and are choosing between two different companies and they see our label they will know that that company they see the label on is taking climate action seriously,” Brand and Communications Manager for Climate Neutral Caitlin Drown tells ASN.
Drown feels that Climate Neutral will help motivate to action in other areas of their life too.
“By making these steps as easy as possible, we are empowering consumers to think consciously about climate change,” she says. “It gets people to reflect about how their daily lives impact the environment, giving them more time to take other steps.”
Drown’s hopes are that consumers will ask “What else can I do and how can I get other people involved?”
Yet, Climate Neutral’s goal isn’t just about the consumers, because, of course, it has to start with brands. Climate Neutral’s certification calculator is as transparent as their goal. Four actions are taken by a company: measuring their carbon footprint to a unified standard, then the company has to reduce as much as they can. The rest of the footprint must be offset. Then the company can be certified and proudly wear the label.
“I heard one of the founders of Climate Neutral speaking and he said something that just really resonated with me at the time,” Jessica Hann, VP of Brand Communications for Avocado (one of the first brands to get certified) tells ASN. “He said, some people think businesses shouldn’t be able to pay their way out of the climate crisis, but, that they disagree – that businesses should have to pay. And I think he’s right.”
On the surface, Avocado might look like an unlikely brand to want to become “climate neutral” because they make mattresses which are inherently unfriendly to the environment – Most used mattresses end up in a landfill and often have a heavy carbon footprint just for transporting.
“We like to joke that mattresses just happened to be something we do,” Laughs Hann. “We’re a direct-to-consumer, sleep brand, but we were founded on a mission and sustainability which is really one of our core values as a company.”
Avocado is making a statement by showing that they can be carbon neutral.
“It’s kind of an old and established industry where, there isn’t a lot of transparency,” says Hann on the bedding industry. “There’s also so much waste with these mattresses that are built to last only a couple of years and then they end up in a landfill. And, because they’re made of unnatural materials, it’s not even like they can biodegrade there, they’re just kind of stuck.”
This is where companies like Avocado can put their money where their mouth is and offset this waste by finding homes for returned mattresses.
“Our vision is a world that’s united by sustainability and social responsibility,” Hann expalins. Prior to their Climate Neutral certification, Avocado has been a 1% For The Planet member, they have been operating as sustainably as possible. Even though their mattresses are already biodegradable, except their recycled steel inner spring, Avocado still doesn’t want them to end up in landfills.
“Our goal is to have more than 95% of mattresses that are returned find a good home rather than end up in landfills,” Hann tells ASN.
This of course costs them money, which is part of their offset measurements to be Climate Neutral. However, it doesn’t cost much. In general, Climate Neutral estimates it costs about 0.4% for their revenue.
“Many companies are doing the math and realizing that it really isn’t going to cost them that much to reduce and offset their carbon emissions, especially when it’s broken down to the product level,” says Drown.
Existing companies with similar ethos are getting inline to become Climate Neutral along with startups that are wanting to make the decision from the get go.
“We’ve heard from companies ranging from pre-revenue start-ups all the way up to major consumer brands, all equally eager to reduce their impact on the climate,” Drown tells ASN. “Their passion really gives us hope that we can tackle the climate crisis, and that business will lead the way.”
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