Sustainability is a tricky concept to understand, and difficult if not outright impossible to implement. In order to get even close to being sustainable, not only must we refuse what we do not need and reduce what we do use, we must also find ways to assuage that which we cannot reduce and invest into the maintenance of our shared resources. It is a big decision, but we at Bodhi Surf + Yoga believe that in order to really manifest our gratitude to our planet and all of its inhabitants, present and future, we must increase our commitment. Therefore, we are excited to announce that we are aiming to be carbon neutral alongside Costa Rica — by 2021.
What is sustainability, and why does it matter?
From Costa Rica’s Institute for Tourism (ICT)’s website:
“Sustainability, as a model for development, suggests the need to satisfy society’s current requirements, without compromising the right of future generations to satisfy theirs.”
Unfortunately, most everything that we as humans do — from what we eat, to how we move around, to how we take our leisure — compromises the future of the planet and its inhabitants. Why? Quite simply, it is because resources are finite and everything we do has an impact. Since there are so many of us on this planet, that impact adds up. If we each consider that by our taking more than our share, or taking without reinvesting, it will result in that some don’t get enough (or any at all), it is a clear moral imperative to ensure that we work individually and collectively to prevent this inequity.
In the future, it is likely that both businesses and individuals will be regulated and taxed based on their carbon emissions, so preparing for this potential is a strong preemptive move that individuals and organizations can take. We can begin by refusing what we do not need, reducing what we consume, then mitigating that which we simply cannot reduce by investing into projects that are designed to regenerate the resources we all need to survive. The first step is often the hardest, so we’re excited to share our story in the hopes that it may inspire others to do the same.
Bodhi Surf + Yoga is stepping up
At Bodhi, we have decided to up our environmental commitment. It has always niggled at us that while we are a business which has put social and environmental responsibility so high up in our priorities, we still use a lot of resources to operate, as well as requiring guests to take air travel to get to us (something that has a very high impact). It is important to us to walk the talk, so over the years, we have instituted various measures such as reducing our plastic use, starting an on-site compost, and using biodegradable cleaning products. Yet, we knew that we could still do more.
Offsetting our guests’ air travel footprint had always been high on our list of priorities, and in mid-2017, we decided that enough was enough — we would start seriously researching the best option, and just do it. A few months of research and conversations with leaders in the industry led us to the conclusion that offsetting guests’ air travel alone wasn’t enough; if we really wanted to reduce our impact as a business, we needed to do take a hard look at our carbon footprint as a whole. That would tell us what we could realistically reduce, and also what we would need to mitigate.
In the end, we decided to go carbon neutral in our operations (Scopes 1 and 2), as well as to also mitigate the carbon footprint of both our guests and our providers as it pertains to our operations (Scope 3). We have had the support and guidance of some awesome companies in this journey, Native Energy (a fellow B Corp) and GreenCloud (a Costa Rican green technology company), and are excited to be working with them going forward.
How to go carbon neutral
There are many resources online to learn more about going carbon neutral — you can check out this broad look at the issue from the David Suzuki Foundation. For us, going carbon neutral will have been a multistep process; but essentially, here is how we are seeing it will go.
- Make the decision to go carbon neutral or to mitigate your carbon footprint. This may involve some soul searching, as well as several team meetings if you are a part of an organization in order to get everyone on the same page.
- Do the research and choose your path. Your country may already have guides, standards, and/or resources already in place, as well as already-existing carbon neutral certification programs locally, so start your research close to home. Once you have that information, you can pick the best option for yourself or your business, and one whose impacts will be felt locally.
- Take the time to conduct a deep audit, and do an inventory of all the ways that you are using natural resources: measure water, electricity, solid waste, carbon dioxide emissions, and if you’re ambitious, those from third party providers. There are plenty of tools online and business that can allow you to easily do this. Another option is to contact a person or organization who has done it to see if they can help guide you on your journey to becoming carbon neutral!
- Reduce what you can. We are all guilty of using more than we need to, whether on a personal level or in a business setting. Sometimes, an introspective look (like the one you will experience while doing the audit) is the push you need to really see where you can reduce your impact.
- Purchase your carbon offsets for that which cannot be reduced. Again, look to see if there are any carbon offset programs taking place locally, so you are reinvesting in projects that are happening close to home.
- Keep it up! If you did an official certification, this is easy as you will just need to follow the necessary steps to re-certify. Otherwise, continue measuring your impact and reducing it where you can, then offsetting the remainder!
The future of our globe depends on all of us!
More and more people are waking up to the reality that the resources on our planet are finite, and if we continue growing as a population and using as many resources as we currently use, that a) we will run out of resources, and b) there will be many grave consequences associated with that. While we may not currently be regulated and taxed by our respective governments, there will come a point where it has to happen. Deciding to do your part — whether that’s living with less, reinvesting into natural resources, or going full-on carbon neutral — is indeed very progressive. Moreover, it is a smart business decision because by taking these actions, you will not only be getting ahead, you will also be setting your company apart from the rest.