What is carbon offsetting?
You've probably already heard that carbon emissions cause climate change.
Carbon offsetting is simple in practice. When you buy a home or car insurance policy from us, we fund a project that reduces carbon emissions. That's it!
While carbon offsetting isn't the solution to climate change on its own, it's an important and immediate way to address some of our unavoidable carbon emissions.
There are lots of ways to reduce carbon, but we choose projects that have added social and environmental benefits, such as offering cleaner, more efficient cookstoves in Ghana.
All the projects we fund are independently audited to internationally agreed standards, to prove they save the carbon they say they do.
What Co-op does
Co-op Insurance champions a better way of doing business, and reducing carbon is just one part of our ethical approach.
So, if you buy your car or home insurance policy from us, we'll offset 10% of your car or home's energy CO2 emissions* for the first year of your policy as standard. We'll choose a great carbon offset project that's proven to work and does some additional good in the world, like Gyapa Stoves in Ghana.
As well as that, we'll only invest your premiums ethically, in line with the policy developed with our customers. That means, for example, that we won't finance businesses involved in animal testing of cosmetics and household products, the unsustainable harvest of timber, or extracting fossil fuels from the ground.
And finally, we'll do what we can to reduce the impact of our own business on the environment. Since 2006 we've reduced our own direct carbon footprint by 54%, and we source 100% of our electricity from renewable sources (including our own windfarms).
More about Gyapa Stoves
When you buy your car or home insurance policy from us, you're supporting a carbon reduction project called 'Gyapa Stoves'. This project is all about supporting cleaner, more efficient cookstoves in Ghana. It helps create jobs, save families money on fuel and protects the environment at the same time. It's a win-win.
It's immediately obvious how it works when you look at the stoves, they have a thick ceramic liner which means compared to traditional metal stoves they're lots more efficient. They use 50-60% less charcoal. That means less fuel being burnt, less pressure on forests, and less carbon emissions.
What's more, they're not just given away for free; the project is all about building a sustainable long-term income for people. They're manufactured locally (including by a small worker's Co-op in Accra), made mostly from recycled material, and sold by hundreds of small retailers, creating jobs and improving lives.
What you can do
Offsetting carbon emissions won't halt climate change on its own, it's just one part of the response. Things we all do every single day all add up to have a surprisingly big impact on the environment, whether it's heating and lighting our homes, the stuff we buy, or travelling to work.
If you're interested in finding out more, there are some great resources online to work out how you could reduce your impact on the environment in just a few minutes, and you might even be able to save yourself some money!
WWF Footprint Calculator: http://footprint.wwf.org.uk
Energy Saving Trust: http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
Supporting carbon reduction projects
What is a Gyapa cookstove?
helped by each tonne of carbon offset(1)
For each policy sold*, you're helping to support access to clean cooking for one person (Car Insurance) or two people (Home Insurance) for a year.
amount of miles offset for every motor policy
For every motor policy purchased*, we offset 240kg of CO2, that's equivalent to driving 797.66 miles or from London to Milan(2).
amount of laundry loads offset for every home policy
For every home policy purchased* we offset 440kg of CO2, that's equivalent to doing 1,088 loads of laundry in an efficient 6kg washing machine(3).
*Motor policy offset calculated from the average UK passenger car emitting 2.3 tonnes of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases travelling an average of 7,800 miles per year, based on 2018 government-published figures from DfT and DfBEIS.
Home policy offset calculated from the average UK home emitting 3.9 tonnes of CO2-equivalent greenhouse gases from energy use, based on 2017 typical household energy consumption from Ofgem and 2018 government-published figures from DfBEIS.
(1) Based on a methodology approved by the London Benchmarking Group (LBG); each tonne of carbon offset for the period supported by the Co-op helped support access to the benefits of the Gyapa stove for 4 people.
(2) Based on an estimated total road distance of 792 miles between London and Milan and carbon emissions of 0.3kg CO2-equivalent per mile from the 2016 DEFRA conversion factor for the average UK car (unknown fuel). Source: Google Maps and GOV.UK.
(3) Based on an energy consumption of 0.9kWh per cycle from EU-published benchmark figures (best available technology) for household washing machines with a rated capacity of 6kg, and total carbon emissions of 0.45kg CO2-equivalent per kWh from the 2016 DEFRA conversion factor for UK grid electricity (including transmission and distribution losses). Source: EUROPA and GOV.UK.