PAM is the first carbon-neutral trade union
Service Union United PAM is, to our knowledge, the first carbon-neutral trade union in Finland, and possibly in the whole world. PAM’s carbon footprint for 2019 is 536 tonnes of carbon dioxide, which PAM has now offset. In future the union will strive to reduce its carbon footprint.
The carbon footprint of the average Finn is over 10 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. PAM’s carbon footprint is equivalent to that of around 50 average Finns.
The Finnish company Nordic Offset Ltd calculated the carbon footprint of PAM’s activities for 2019. The calculation was performed according to the GHG Protocol, the most widely used international standard. PAM’s total carbon footprint for 2019 was 536 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).
PAM offsets its carbon footprint through certified offsetting projects in the voluntary emissions trading market. The idea primarily is to aim to remove climate emissions from your activities. Voluntary emissions trading is designed to offset the impact of emissions that cannot be removed. The trading system finances actions elsewhere that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increase carbon sinks or permanently remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere.
“As I see it, we have to show responsibility as a trade union. As we know, climate change is a pivotal issue for humanity as a whole, which is why everyone needs to act to prevent it. The first step is to acquire data. Now that we know what our carbon footprint is, the next stage is to try to bring it down”, says PAM President Annika Rönni-Sällinen.
She says this is just the first step, however.
“PAM wants employees and their representatives to be involved in planning companies’ climate actions and climate policy. For climate actions to be implemented, employees will need training, for example, and best practices will need to be developed with them”, Rönni-Sällinen explains.
The calculation of PAM’s carbon footprint consists of energy consumption, purchases and waste at PAM’s operating locations, use of our own vehicles, staff travel and executive meetings.
The largest carbon footprint in PAM’s activities in 2019 came from travel, accounting for exactly half of total emissions. The largest source of emissions at our offices was heating, at around 18% of the carbon footprint. A large share of emissions from purchases came from portable computers purchased in 2019.
To reduce emissions in future, PAM plans to pay more attention to the type of travel chosen. Remote connections will continue to be used for events and meetings.
“The carbon footprint for 2020 is bound to be quite different from 2019. There’s been hardly any travel this year and remote connections have been used a lot”, says CFO Jukka Mattila.
To offset its carbon footprint, PAM bought an equivalent amount of emissions credits in projects administered by Nordic Offset. One project reduces the amount of non-renewable wood used to prepare food in Uganda, and in another Carbofex, a biorefinery in Tampere, removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by producing biochar that binds carbon dioxide long-term. Nordic Offset’s emissions credits come from certified projects.
PAM employees a total of 184 persons. PAM has 14 operating locations in total: the central office in Helsinki and 13 regional offices. The executive meetings included in the emissions calculation in 2019 were the Conference, the staff days, the Council meeting and 11 Executive Committee meetings, with a total of 2000 participants.
Further information: Nordic Offset.