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Sustain.Life’s 2023 corporate emissions profile

March 12, 2024

Keeping our emissions as low as possible has been a priority at Sustain.Life since our inception.

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At Sustain.Life we provide companies with best-in-class emissions management technology to smooth the journey of decarbonizing. We often encounter similar questions and obstacles faced by our clients, and we understand that this is uncharted territory for many. Alongside the companies we serve, we are in our own pursuit of improving our measurement methods and refining practices to keep emissions as low as possible. In the spirit of transparency, we like to share our annual emissions inventory with some behind-the-scenes insight into our own measurement methodologies and decarbonization planning.  

Our annual footprint in 2023 was 586 MT CO2e which we offset to maintain our status as a carbon neutral business. As a growing technology company, we were expecting our impact to increase from last year’s total of 523 MT CO2e. While we did not reduce our overall emissions we emitted 80% less MT CO2e/$ of gross revenue in comparison to 2022—decoupling our business growth from emissions.

The difference between net-zero and carbon neutral

A business can claim carbon neutrality by measuring its emissions and then offsetting the balance through financed projects—often carbon offsets—outside of its value chain. On the other hand, net-zero does not permit offsetting emissions, which compels companies to meaningfully reduce their value chain emissions. Read more about the difference between carbon neutral and net-zero.

Our emissions

Infographic: Sustain.Life’s 2023 emissions inventory

Sustain.Life is structured in a way that produces zero scope 1 or scope 2 emissions. Our globally distributed team works 100% remotely and we do not manufacture a physical product. Without fuel or electricity consumption from company operated facilities or vehicles, we do not produce any scope 1 or scope 2 emissions. We measure our most material scope 3 categories which include emissions from energy consumption in employees’ at-home office spaces (scope 3, category 7), employee business travel (scope 3, category 6), and our purchased goods and services (scope 3, category 1).    

Purchased Goods and Services (Scope 3, Category 1)

Infographic: Sustain.Life’s 2023 purchased goods and services emissions

To estimate emissions from our purchases, we upload transactions from our general accounting ledger to our purchased goods and services feature. We apply the GHG Protocol’s spend-based approach and values from the EPA’s Environmentally-Extended Input-Output Model to identify our emissions hotspots. While less precise than other PGS methodologies, a spend-based approach allows us to optimize coverage of our purchases, for a more complete and robust inventory, while we work to access allocated primary data from our suppliers.  

As a technology platform, our primary business activity is building a web-based platform which relies on emissions-intense data processing and storage services, and our heaviest emitting expense is our data processing and internet publishing. Without direct control over servers and data centers, we are dependent on our suppliers’ decarbonization ambitions and gradual cleaning of the energy grid. We have selected Microsoft Azure as our preferred cloud provider, which maintains industry-leading goals for 100% renewable energy by 2025, net-zero deforestation from new construction, water positive by 2030, and zero waste by 2030.  

Small companies approaching supplier engagement will relate to the struggle of unanswered surveys. Since we have not received responses from our suppliers, our purchase-focused reduction strategy leans on SBTI’s scope 3 engagement target, prioritizing vendors that have set science-based targets. Some vendors and purchases are easier to transition to lower carbon alternatives than others.  After analyzing these opportunities in 2023, we changed our travel policies to prioritize airlines and hotel operators that have set science-based targets.

Business Travel (Category 6)

Infographic: Sustain.Life’s 2023 travel emissions

Our team works remotely nearly 100% of the year. The only exceptions occur when team members need to travel to clients and industry-focused events. When travel is needed, the distance of each flight and rail trip is recorded. Trip distances are multiplied against the appropriate emission factor based on cabin class with our platform’s business travel capabilities.  

The primary strategy to minimize business travel emissions is to maintain a remote work culture, and fly as little as possible. For necessary trips, we prioritize airlines with SBTi-validated reduction targets.  

Work from home (Category 7)

This year we calculated home office energy use by surveying each employee to gather detail on their home’s square footage, typical climate in their region, and energy use to more precisely estimate the energy dedicated to their home office. We achieved a 50% engagement rate with this survey, and developed a custom-proxy to fill in data gaps from remaining employees based off the data received.  

Our 2023 surveying method produced a more specific emissions value than our 2022 approach, which relied on a more regionally broad estimate of our employees' remote locations. In 2022 we used the automated remote workforce calculation in our platform, which is best suited to larger companies looking for a representative estimate of emissions for total workforce without regional or behavioral segmentation. In 2023 we used the downloadable workbook provided in our tool, that allows each employee to individually calculate their work from home emissions based on location, equipment and occupancy details. This method is more accurate, and better suited for smaller companies where this detailed level of data collection is reasonable for employee headcount.

Note: For users wishing to replicate this method, our home office emissions workbook for employees can be found in the “Energy & emissions” portion of our in-app download library.  

Since this is our smallest source of emissions, we do not see significant mitigation opportunities. We will continue to purchase energy efficient equipment for our employees and continue our sustainable purchase benefit to facilitate reduced home energy consumption.  

Where we go from here

Keeping our emissions as low as possible has been a priority at Sustain.Life since our inception. While our primary goal is to build a best-in-class tool to aid organizations in their own decarbonization, we also strive to lead by example. We use our own greenhouse gas inventory as an opportunity to discuss the successes and obstacles we encounter in our own path to decarbonize. As a small technology company with no direct control of emissions sources, aiming toward net-zero emissions is dependent on the decarbonization of others in our value chain.  

Our offsets

For Sustain.Life carbon neutrality is not the end goal. While we work toward reaching net-zero, we offset our annual emissions in support of crucial carbon removal and credit programs around the world. For 2023, Sustain.Life has offset our corporate emissions through two projects.  

  1. The Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project protects nearly 249,000 hectares of forest from industrial logging and unsustainable fuel wood extraction. Neighboring the equator in western Democratic Republic of the Congo, bolstering native biodiversity and preventing land-use change is an impactful way to protect natural carbon sinks.
  1. Easychar is an organization that partners with distilleries to incorporate biochar production into their operations. Carbon removal via biochar is one of the most promising carbon sequestration opportunities available and considered a high-quality carbon credit due to its permanence and durability.  Through this project, the heat generated during the biochar production process is also captured into the distillery energy supply stream. Distilleries cut their LPG consumption by 80%, and the resulting biochar is distributed to local farmers to boost soil performance and permanently store carbon. Circular solutions like biochar have exciting potential to capture carbon before it is emitted, yet funding remains an obstacle to upscaling. Permanent carbon removal methods are crucial to decarbonization, and we plan to gradually increase our support of removal projects like Easychar over time.
Infographic: Sustain.Life’s 2023 emissions overview

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Editorial statement
At Sustain.Life, our goal is to provide the most up-to-date, objective, and research-based information to help readers make informed decisions. Written by practitioners and experts, articles are grounded in research and experience-based practices. All information has been fact-checked and reviewed by our team of sustainability professionals to ensure content is accurate and aligns with current industry standards. Articles contain trusted third-party sources that are either directly linked to the text or listed at the bottom to take readers directly to the source.
Hannah Asofsky
Hannah Asofsky is a sustainability data analyst at Sustain.Life.
Alyssa Rade
Alyssa Rade is the chief sustainability officer at Sustain.Life. She has over ten years of corporate sustainability experience and guides Sustain.Life’s platform features.
The takeaway

– Our 2023 emissions: 586 MT CO2e

– 95% of Sustain Life’s emissions came from purchased goods and services