With COP26 bringing the global environmental crisis into even sharper focus this week, Checkout.com has been thinking hard about a pathway to sustainability that's both ambitious and scalable.
It's clear that the world needs to reach net zero, and it’s imperative that businesses move in that direction as quickly as possible. At Checkout.com, we have a long way to go. But as a first step we have removed over 6,500 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere—an amount equal to our total emissions since the company was founded.
To measure those emissions, we partnered with established external consultancies and used the Greenhouse Gas Protocol standard to calculate our carbon footprint across Scopes 1 - 3. These include the direct emissions associated with assets we own (scope 1); indirect emissions linked to those assets (e.g., electricity) (scope 2); and other indirect emissions (e.g., travel or servers in the cloud) (scope 3).
With those calculations in hand, we followed The Oxford Principles for Net Zero aligned offsetting to find programs that would take us towards carbon neutrality. Unlike others that focus on avoidance offsets (paying someone else not to emit) or committing to buy offsets in the future, we purchased offsets where the carbon is removed from the atmosphere. In this way, we knew we were having an immediate impact.
We also wanted to focus on cutting-edge ‘engineered’ carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects such as biochar sinks, enhanced weathering, mineralization, and biomass conversion. These have greater permanence (the duration for which carbon is removed from the atmosphere). But finding a ready supply of carbon removal projects of this type is challenging, reflecting the low capacity and relatively under-developed nature of the spot-market industry (projects that have already captured and removed carbon from the atmosphere).
We therefore purchased everything we could—including everything presently available from several projects—to create a portfolio of offsets from an extensive range of engineered CDR projects across the globe. We then supplemented this with some afforestation—a ‘nature-based’ alternative whilst maintaining an average permanence across the portfolio of well in excess of 500 years.
As a business we like to make data-driven decisions. So rather than a typical annual measurement approach, we are calculating our emissions on a quarterly basis so we can take action when we notice changes.
This is just the first step on our journey towards net zero. From here, we’ll be managing our footprint more effectively and continuing to offset emissions that are unavoidable with high-permanence carbon removal offsets. We look forward to sharing our lessons learned with the broader fintech and startup community as we all plot a course to sustainability.
 Enhanced weathering involves enhancing the removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere through dissolution of silicate and carbonate rocks by grinding these minerals to small particles and actively applying them to soils, coasts or oceans.
 Mineralisation is the enhancement of a naturally occurring chemical process that turns CO2 into rock.
 Biomass conversion involves the conversion of biomass into a stable, carbon-rich liquid (bio-oil) which is then pumped deep underground.
 Afforestation is a nature-based way of removing carbon from the atmosphere, which involves planting and maintaining trees on degraded and/or unused land.