Emission compensations

Elisa’s goal is to reduce its emissions. Because we cannot yet eliminate all emissions through our own actions, for now we are also using emissions compensation to accelerate the process. At the same time, we are systematically seeking methods of reducing our reliance on emissions compensation.

These days, many companies are striving to become carbon neutral, so that their operations do not add to the amount of climate change-inducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. GHGs do not recognise borders, and they become evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere. Therefore, we can mitigate climate change both by reducing the production of GHGs and by sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in regions other than our own local area. This kind of investment to reduce carbon emissions is called “emissions compensation”, and the scope of emission reduction is described with “carbon credits”, where one carbon credit is equivalent to removing one tonne of carbon dioxide. 

Elisa became carbon neutral in 2020. Even before that, we had recognised our own essential climate impact, and back in 2009, we began implementing consistent energy reduction measures in our own operations. In Finland and Estonia, Elisa only acquires electricity from renewable sources, and we compensate for the remaining greenhouse gases from our own operations for which we are not yet able to find clearly renewable options. For Elisa, emissions compensation means compensating for emissions from fuels (Scope 1) and other energy usage (Scope 2), as well as from waste and from business trips and commuting by employees (Scope 3). In 2020–2021, we compensated for a total of 13,200 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. The most important part of our 2040 Net Zero target is to pay attention to the emissions that arise from outside of Elisa’s own operations throughout the supply chain (Scope 3).

More information about how we calculate the metrics for our GHG emission savings and about our environmental policy can be found in the description of Elisa’s environmental responsibility management system.

We continually investigate ways to develop our emissions compensation portfolio, and we view taking climate action together with various partners and stakeholders as an important role for us. We also systematically seek methods or reducing our reliance on compensation, and we develop new methods of boosting our carbon handprint, i.e. helping our customers to reduce their own carbon footprints. For example, by choosing the Elisa Rehti 5G phone subscription, our customers can compensate for the emissions resulting from the manufacture and use of their phones. We implement the emission reductions from Rehti 5G subscriptions through our portfolio of emission compensation projects. Read more about the Elisa Rehti 5G subscription.

Elisa’s compensation portfolio

Together with our compensation partners, Elisa has implemented a compensation portfolio with a variety of projects on different continents. This portfolio consists of high-quality projects that include sustainability and risk assessments. We also want to promote climate-friendly innovations, for example through new types of projects in Finland.

The structure and use of Elisa’s evolving compensation portfolio:

Energy efficiency project, Uganda

IMPROVED COOKSTOVES FOR SOCIAL IMPACT IN UGANDAN COMMUNITIES

This Gold Standard project in Uganda for improved cookstoves reduces greenhouse gas emissions and also promotes the UN Sustainable Development Goals. By acquiring better stoves for Ugandan families, we help them to reduce the amount of wood they need for fuel, and thereby local deforestation. At the same time, we are indirectly improving the position of women and children and reducing the prevalence of chronic breathing disorders among the poorer members of society.

Reforestation project, Colombia

VICHADA CLIMATE REFORESTATION PROJECT (PAZ)

This is a Gold Standard reforestation project in Colombia’s Orinoco region. The goal is to raise high-quality deciduous forest in a previously deforested area. These trees sequester carbon while stabilising the environment ecologically, economically and socially. The goal of the project is to support the creation of a viable production and protection system, and at the same time to create jobs.

Forest protection project, Cambodia

SOUTHERN CARDAMOM REDD+ PROJECT

This project under the UN REDD+ programme is protecting an important part of Cambodia’s Cardamom rainforest, so that it can continue to serve as a significant carbon sink. The are is one of the 200 most important biodiversity protection targets in the world, home to animals such as the sun bear, clouded leopard and Siamese crocodile. The project also produces significant benefits for the society in the region, through sustainable new livelihood opportunities. By stepping up monitoring in the region, pressure on the environment will be reduced, while also significantly increasing well-being in the area.


Decarbonisation project, Finland

BIOCHAR

The Puro.earth marketplace project sustainably produces high-quality biochar from spruce forest thinning operations, for use for example as an additive to plantings or for water filtration for landfill sites.

Emissions reductions to date: 15 tCO2


FAQ

What is carbon compensation and how does it work?

In practice, carbon compensation, or offsetting, means that a company supports climate-positive actions outside its own value chain, to the extent of the carbon emissions that it cannot immediately reduce itself. Carbon compensation generally means that a company acquires carbon credits. These units are formed, for example, by supporting the introduction of renewable energy or afforestation projects in developing countries.

Why does Elisa compensate?

Elisa’s primary objective has been to identify its own emissions and look for means to reduce them. Emission reductions and actions have been carried out since 2009. Given that we cannot eliminate all emissions generated by our operations, we use offsetting to accelerate climate action while systematically looking for ways to reduce our offsetting portion.

Is the offsetting paid for by Elisa’s customers?

Elisa’s offsetting is about the company’s voluntary climate action, the costs of which are not collected from customers in the form of voluntary payments, for example. Nor do the costs have a direct impact on products or services.

What is the difference between “carbon-neutral” and “net zero”?

These terms are often used interchangeably, but typically the term net zero is used for science-based situations that take account of the entire supply chain where emissions arise. Organisations that use the term net zero are committed to doing everything they can to actually reduce emissions without using external offsetting. Carbon-neutral, on the other hand, is a less binding term that is often used to describe operations where emissions are balanced by offsetting schemes outside the organisation’s own supply chain.

In the business context, carbon-neutral often applies to those emissions that a company can itself directly affect. These include energy use and travel. Elisa became carbon-neutral in 2020. Net zero applies to the entire supply chain, for example including emissions that arise from the manufacture of devices or the use of services. Elisa is a signatory to the Climate Pledge as well as Science Based Targets.

You can find more information about the difference between the two terms here: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/briefing-net-zero-for-corporates.

Are Elisa’s services carbon-neutral??

Elisa is carbon-neutral in its own operations, so the services we offer, including subscriptions, are calculated to be carbon-neutral.

How can I be sure of the climate benefits of compensation?

Elisa transparently retires the carbon credits related to the compensation used, so that they can no longer be resold. Acquired carbon credits and their climate benefits are communicated in an understandable way on a regular and transparent basis.

What is a “carbon handprint”?

The term carbon handprint means the positive effects on the climate that arise when a company or individual helps others to reduce their own carbon footprint. To take an everyday example, your neighbour could lend you their bike to go shopping without a car, eliminating the emissions that would have come from burning petrol. 

Elisa wants to help its customers and society more broadly to reduce their carbon footprint. This is what we call our carbon handprint.

How does Elisa choose carbon offsetting projects?

Elisa chooses carbon offsetting projects that are high quality, that reduce different types of greenhouse gas emissions and that are in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. At the moment, half of our projects are certified as Gold Standard, and we ensure that all of our projects are in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Our emission reductions are new and additional, so they would not arise without these projects. In addition to these offsetting projects, Elisa also engages in a number of other uncertified climate actions as an additional way of raising awareness, for example.

At the moment, Elisa is engaged with South Pole and Nordic Offset as its partners for carbon offsetting projects.