Gaest.com Carbon Neutral Initiative FAQ

Learn more about the Gaest.com carbon neutral initiative, including why we’re doing it, how we’re doing it and where the money is being used.

Why is Gaest.com doing this?

Once upon a time, companies offset the CO2 from a building they owned or hired for a year; now we help Gaest.com customers offset the CO2 from a space they booked on the platform. This offsetting program shows that small actions will make a big difference to how we fight climate change.

What is a Climate Neutral meeting?

A climate neutral meeting is one in which the amount of CO2 emitted in heating, lighting and powering the space is “offset” by investing in reforestation, which mitigates an equivalent amount of CO2.

How do you calculate the Carbon Footprint of a meeting?

We worked with CTX (Carbon Trade Exchange) to calculate an average carbon footprint per person per hour. To do this we took the average carbon footprint of a commercial building per metre squared, multiplied it by the average floor space per person, and divided this by the amount of hours in a year. To be extra certain that we account generously for the carbon footprint of each booking, we multiplied that number by three to ensure that every “active hour” the space is being used, includes two “out-of-office” hours where energy usage may not be as high.

What is the average Carbon Footprint of a Gaest.com meeting?

The average carbon footprint of a Gaest.com meeting is 173 grams of CO2 per person per hour. So for example, a space with a max occupancy of 10 people booked for 4 hours has a Carbon Footprint equal to 6,920 grams of CO2.

Why do you measure the Carbon Footprint on a per person per hour basis?

When you book a space on Gaest.com, we always know the maximum occupancy of the room and the duration of your booking. With these two numbers we can always estimate the carbon footprint of your booking.

Where does the money go and what is the project Gaest.com is supporting?

Gaest.com has chosen to support Forest Conservation and Reforestation projects issued under the Gold Standard. Our first project is the CO₂OL Tropical Mix in Panama, where former fallow and degraded pastureland is reforested with mainly native tree species and turned into ecologically valuable mixed forests.

The project combines sustainable timber and cacao production with the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem restoration. Consequently, it delivers many benefits beyond carbon reductions: 15 threatened animals from the Red List have found habitat in new forest areas and the 150 local people have found employment in forest management and sustainable agriculture.

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What is climate change and why is it happening?

According to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), “climate change” is “a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

In layman’s terms, climate change is the scientific consensus that average surface temperatures on our precious Planet are increasing year-on-year and have been since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. This change in average temperature (climate) is generally agreed to be the driver for an increase in extreme weather events, rising sea levels, acidification of oceans, accelerated loss of flora and fauna, drought, famine… the exhausting list goes on!

Humans are causing climate change by burning fossil fuels, sending waste to landfill and chopping down forests. Each of these activities results in more Greenhouse Gases entering our atmosphere, where they absorb solar radiation (heat) and release it again slowly into the atmosphere.

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What are Greenhouse Gases? What is the Greenhouse Effect? What is Carbon Dioxide?

Greenhouse gases are a group of compounds that are able to trap heat (longwave radiation) in the atmosphere, keeping the Earth’s surface warmer than it would be if they were not present. These gases are the fundamental cause of the greenhouse effect. Increases in the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere enhance the greenhouse effect which is creating global warming and consequently climate change.

The ability of these gases to trap heat is what causes the greenhouse effect. So the more greenhouse gases you have in the atmosphere, the more heat stays on Earth. This process, which is very similar to the way a greenhouse works, is why the gases that can produce this effect are collectively known as greenhouse gases.

The main human sources of GHG emissions are

fossil fuel use, deforestation, intensive livestock farming, use of synthetic fertilizers and industrial processes.

The principal forcing greenhouse gases are

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Fluorinated Gases

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is by far the most common (though not the most potent) and as a result, it is common to measure the other GHGs in relation to CO2. Rather than GHG measurement, we typically discuss an activity’s “Carbon Footprint” and measure it as CO2e (the “e” stands for equivalent).

What can I do about it?

Humans can do something about climate change by accepting that the Greenhouse Gases we create are really important and that for most of human existence we haven’t given them a care in the world. In order to dis-incentivise pollution of the atmosphere, we must measure our carbon footprints and pay for carbon-reducing activities wherever possible.

What is a Carbon footprint?

Carbon footprint is the set of GHG emissions directly and indirectly caused by an entity (person, corporate or organization), product or activity (service or event).

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What does it mean to be Carbon Neutral?

Carbon Neutrality or Climate Neutrality is when the net GHG emissions associated with an entity (person, corporate or organization), product or activity (service or event) is measured as Zero. We strive to be Carbon Neutral in order to pay for emissions reductions that we cannot avoid. When we book a meeting with Gaest.com, we cannot prevent that some energy will be used and some waste created; but we can pay for an equivalent amount of CO2 to be absorbed by a reforestation project.

What is reforestation?

Reforestation is defined by UNFCCC as “The direct human-induced conversion of non-forested land to forested land through planting, seeding and/or the human-induced promotion of natural seed sources, on land that was forested but has been converted to non-forested land.”

Again, in layman’s, Reforestation is the conversion of degraded lands (with very little capacity to absorb and store CO2) into green and pleasant forests that absorb CO2 as they grow and regenerate. Quite simply, forests are the earth’s lungs and promoting the growth of more diverse, luscious forests are essential if we’re to combat all the CO2 we’re creating.

Forests act as carbon sinks on earth; besides which forests conserve soils, host and nurture species. Reforestation not only helps mitigate climate change but also increases the resilience and biodiversity of local communities. In the Gaest project, local communities conduct sustainable livelihoods through the management and sale of timber and cacao, which is harvested at a rate that doesn’t reduce the overall size and capacity of the forest in which they work and live.

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What is the Carbon Trade eXchange (CTX)?

The CTX is the first global electronic exchange for the voluntary carbon market, operating successfully since 2009, over which time tens of millions of tonnes of CO2 reductions certified by the major international standards have been securely transacted by corporates, project developers, brokers and NGOs. In addition, CTX provides advisory and brokerage services to companies who want to offset their Carbon Footprint and obtain Carbon Neutral status. CTX is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Global Environmental Markets (GEM).

What is the CO₂OL?

The CO₂OL is a solution partner for sustainable business. The experts work with businesses for a responsible economy, for the sensitive use of limited resources and for the preservation of ecosystems. Focusing on forestry projects, CO2OL is a major provider of land use based carbon offsets from all over the world. The CO₂OL team is part of ForestFinest Consulting GmbH, a leading consultancy service provider for sustainable land use projects.

For more information, please contact;

Corey Morris, CMO of Gaest.com | corey@gaest.com

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