Respecting the planet and supporting a more sustainable future is something we take very seriously at Xero, and we know it’s front of mind for many of our people and customers around the globe.
Today, we’re pleased to announce that Xero has been certified carbon neutral for our owned and operated businesses in Australia and internationally, including New Zealand, the United States, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Asia.
Our certification was issued by the Australian Government’s Climate Active program, which is one of the world’s most established and respected carbon neutrality programs. We are now part of their network of organisations leading voluntary action on climate change. We’re also one of the first software as a service (SaaS) companies to achieve Climate Active certification. Our certification recognises our commitment to offsetting 100% of our carbon emissions as part of our Net Zero @ Xero program and the projects we have selected to offset these emissions.
Journey to certification
In 2019, we introduced our environmental sustainability program called Net Zero @ Xero and started our carbon neutral journey by committing to offset 100% of Xero’s carbon emissions across all areas of the business for the year to 31 March 2019, and going forward. In order to achieve our carbon neutral status, we purchased carbon certified offsets across the globe that are recognised under international standards.
This was a positive first step but this year we raised our ambitions to achieve carbon neutral certification for the year ended 31 March 2020, and beyond. We believe that achieving certification solidifies our ongoing commitment to minimising our environmental impact – now and in the future. You can read more about the projects that helped us achieve carbon neutral certification at the bottom of this blog article.
Going one step further
Early last year, I was lucky to be able to visit the Fishermans Bay Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI) – one of our initial offset projects and a Xero small business customer. I was blown away at the amazing conservation work that the small team at this pristine piece of New Zealand, near Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula, are doing. We were motivated to put extra investment into ensuring the project continues to thrive. So for four years (through until 31 March 2024), we’re fully sponsoring this project.
Fishermans Bay Permanent Forest Sink Initiative owners Richard and Jill Simpson (left) with Craig Hudson (Managing Director, Xero New Zealand and Pacfic Islands) and myself at the Fishermans Bay site.
That means that in addition to the project’s carbon benefits, we’re also directly supporting other biodiversity related activities such as yellow-eyed penguin sanctuary habitat management; possum and predator pest control work; noxious weed control work; provision and maintenance of safe public access tracks for public and educational groups, and much more.
Minimising our emissions
While we see the offsetting of our emissions as important, we also recognise the importance of actively working to minimise our footprint. Here are some of the reduction initiatives we have underway:
- Purchasing carbon neutral electricity across a number of our offices. We have already avoided ~560 tCO2-e through the purchase of carbon neutral electricity from Powershop for our Melbourne and Sydney offices, compared with using typical electricity products
- Reducing electricity consumption via efficiency measures within offices that Xero controls
- Reducing waste production and increasing recycling rates
- Ensuring access to video conference technology is straight forward for our people so that its use becomes part of our normal ways of working. This helps to minimise carbon intensive travel options, such as air travel
- Encouraging alternative modes of transport (to private vehicle use) for our people
- Enhancing procurement process to consider climate impacts in purchasing
A deeper dive into our carbon neutral certified projects
Our carbon neutral certification for the year ended 31 March 2020 was the result of our investment in four projects located in New Zealand, Indonesia, and India.
Fishermans Bay Permanent Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI) in New Zealand
This small-scale project is located near Akaroa on the South Island. The project consists of 59 hectares of post-1989 regenerating native forest and outstanding conservation projects including protecting the breeding habitat of endangered yellow-eyed penguin, giant bush weta, and extremely rare plants.
This project produces PFSI units in New Zealand which are then converted to Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) that are registered and cancelled on the New Zealand Emissions Trading Registry. Each unit represents 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e) sequestered by the permanent forest sink initiative in New Zealand.
Katingan Peatland Restoration and Conservation Project in Indonesia
The largest program of its kind, this project generates an average 7.5 million triple gold certified carbon credits annually – equivalent to taking two million cars off the road each year. In partnership with local communities, Katingan utilises carbon revenues to ensure natural forest restoration and protection, through activities aligned to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The project protects vital peatland habitats in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, for five critically endangered, eight endangered and 31 vulnerable species. The protected area is home to between 5 – 10% of the global populations of the Bornean orangutan, proboscis monkey and southern Bornean gibbon.
Biomass based cogeneration project at Nectar Life Sciences Ltd in India
This project generates energy by burning biomass to create steam to power two turbines. Prior to this project, energy was generated using non-renewable energy sources as the electricity requirement was met by the general electricity grid with diesel generator as backup, and the steam requirement was met by oil-based boilers.
Wind bundle project in Maharashtra, India by Sispara
This small-scale project involves the installation of 35.5MW capacity of wind power across four locations in India. Clean energy generated by the project will be exported to the local electricity grid in Maharashtra, displacing the fossil-fuel generated electricity on the Northern, Eastern, Western and North-Eastern regional grids (NEWNE) grid of India.
For more information about Xero’s social and environmental initiatives, visit www.xero.com/socialimpact.