Why Honey’s is Carbon Neutral

Jonathan Self

As far as I know when Honey’s became Carbon Neutral in 2020 we were the first British raw dog food company (and one of only a handful of pet food companies in the world) to do so.

To achieve Carbon Neutral status we signed a special pledge and sent it to the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change secretariat, in Bonn, Germany.

This pledge requires us to monitor and measure our greenhouse gas emissions, reduce them and compensate any remaining emissions by offsetting, including through use of Certified Emission Reductions (CERs).

What did this involve?

To begin with, we commissioned two external environmental experts (a specialist environmental consultancy, Ryeden, and a separate carbon guru: Dr Simon Forsythe) to calculate how much carbon we were responsible for producing.

Then we established a programme designed to reduce it in as many ways as possible.

Next, we ‘offset’ the unavoidable carbon usage by purchasing Gold Standard Carbon Credits, the scheme created by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2003 and widely accepted as the highest standard available.

Finally, we committed to further reducing our carbon footprint on an ongoing basis.

You may have read adverse comments about carbon offsetting in the media. The main criticisms are twofold. First, the whole idea of carbon credits (whereby carbon production is offset by environmental schemes such as the planting of trees) does nothing to discourage polluters – it is merely a relatively low cost sop to their consciences. Second, the schemes themselves, are often not that effective in reducing carbon.

These are valid points. Nevertheless, at Honey’s we believe that it is better to take positive action than to sit around bemoaning the fact that what we are doing is not perfect. If a better option comes along, we will take it. In the meantime, we have chosen what is widely acknowledged as the best scheme available in the world.

I know that not everyone agrees with our policy. The environmental movement, like so many movements, can be divided into radical organisations (such as Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion and the Earth Liberation Front) and moderate organisations (such as the World Wildlife Fund, the RSPB and the Marine Conservation Society).

The argument for radical campaigning is clear: the world faces an imminent crisis and urgent and dramatic action is vital. To put it another way: desperate times call for desperate measures. The argument for a more nuanced approach is equally valid. Extremism puts people off. A better strategy is to aim for small, regular, universal and incremental improvements. Clearly, both strategies have a role to play but on balance I prefer a measured approach. This is why Honey’s supports 1% for the Planet, the Rainforest Trust UK (of which I am a trustee) and Compassion in World Farming. It is why, indeed, we are a Carbon Neutral dog food producer.

One final point. Making the right environmental decision is not easy and at Honey’s we often feel that what we are really doing is looking for the least bad option. We only communicate our environmental policy so that stakeholders can assess whether it aligns with their own beliefs. We are committed to improving our performance and welcome all comments, advice and criticism.