Pact maintains progress in reducing carbon emissions despite end of pandemic restrictions

May 28, 2024
A mangrove forest in Indonesia
In addition to our commitment to achieving net zero by 2030, Pact also works through our programs to positively impact the environment and mitigate the impacts of climate change, including in Indonesia where we are working to preserve mangroves and improve people's livelihoods. Credit: Brian Clark/Pact.

In the first full year of a return to pre-pandemic activities, new data reveals that Pact’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by 4% over last year’s historic decline yet remain 43% lower than 2019 baseline levels. The third annual report details greenhouse gas emissions across the global organization by emissions type and office. 

“We have worked hard as an organization to not backslide after the incredible gains that were realized during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Caroline Anstey, Pact’s President & CEO. “We knew this year would be a real test for us and we’re pleased with the results. They confirm what we surmised from the start. We can successfully do business differently, serving both people and planet.”

International development organizations often implement programs to support a healthy environment, but it is rare for a non-biodiversity conservation or environment-focused nonprofit to measure its own impact on the planet. In 2020, Pact announced a commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and has advocated for and supported other INGOs to evaluate the carbon footprint of their operations. 

The organization measures its environmental impact through an annual Environmental Sustainability Key Performance Indicator, which includes total greenhouse gas emissions. Data collection focuses on emissions in three main categories:

  1. Direct emissions from energy and heat generation at company-owned facilities.
  2. Indirect emissions from utility-purchased electricity, steam, heat or cooling.
  3. Indirect emissions from peripheral activities related to the company, primarily business travel.

This year’s data shows that energy and fuel consumption reduced across almost all categories over the previous year’s results, including significant reductions in diesel use for company-owned vehicles and lower emissions from short-haul flights. An increase in ground transportation, mostly from use of taxis and rental cars, and a slight increase in long-haul international flights were the primary contributors to the year’s total increase.

The relatively small increase over the previous year’s total emissions is in large part due to measures the organization put in place to maintain gains made during the pandemic, including evaluating air travel based on total daily emissions of work trips. Additionally, a team of staff, led by Pact’s director of environment and energy David Bonnardeaux, has been working with offices to review the data and take steps to lower emissions. 

Utilizing this year’s results, Pact will continue to analyze emissions data by office to identify potential reductions, such as high refrigerant leakage, and brainstorm solutions with teams that could make a positive impact, such as better equipment and vehicle maintenance.