We did it! We finalized OCUS’ carbon footprint assessment and are happy to share with you the context of this study, the main results and the next steps.

 

Why did we embark on this journey? 

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report leaves no room for doubt: we need to reduce our dioxide carbon emissions by 45% before 2030 if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C. In a digitalized world of fast-growing image production and consumption, we at OCUS believe there is a great opportunity to make a very significant contribution to reducing the impact it has on our planet. That’s why we decided to assess our carbon footprint and to get the most precise picture possible. We first learned about The Climate Act Initiative, through the Galion Project.  It has helped us build an action plan to structure our environmental policy. It also confirmed some of our intuitions, namely that most of our footprint is actually related to external patterns and if we want to have a clear reduction, it will only be possible by a collective approach.

 

The method to our analysis: 

We worked hand-in-hand with our partner Greenly and applied the ADEME methodology. Multiple sources were used to estimate our footprint:

  • Our accounting entries files
  • A survey for all current OCUS employees (93 people at the time)
  • Detailed invoices of our web services (mainly Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Service)
  • Data  detailing the means and time OCUS photographers travel to and from photoshoot locations

We took into account the broadest perimeter possible, from scope 1 to scope 3, only excluding the impact of the use of our products sold.

The results in a snapshot: 

ocus infographic
  • OCUS has produced 1599 tCO2e (= tons of CO2 equivalent) in 2020
  • It represents an average of 16.3 tCO2 per OCUS collaborator, or the equivalent of the annual carbon footprint of 178 French people

How to interpret it: OCUS carbon footprint does not only consider scopes 1 & 2, but also indirect sources of emissions caused by our main providers, by our community of photographers and our clients (scope 3). When only looking at scope 1 & 2, our carbon footprint drops to 199 tCO2, which is two times less than the observed level of emissions of similar companies on Greenly. We were pleasantly surprised to see we had intuitively made the right decisions on our core business, but we wanted to go beyond that and get the global picture. That’s why we have included scope 3 which includes the impact that our community of photographers has. Although the number might seem big (1599 tCO2), if we look at it in hindsight, we are already contributing to the reduction of these emissions. It’s hard to calculate it, but prior to using OCUS, many of our clients were sending individual photographers to travel far and wide to capture images.  Our service promotes collaboration with local photographers which contributes to a reduction of travel carbon emissions.

So what's next? 

Defining our action plan is underway. It is important for us to involve as many ambassadors as we can. That’s why our approach is not only limited to our collaborators but also includes our community of photographers, our clients and our providers. Here are the main lines that are already taking shape:

  • First we will work with our community of photographers to reduce their travel carbon footprint. There are many things to be done on such a broad topic, but we have already identified some quick solutions: the creation of a dashboard to track the travel distance and its impact; the involvement of our community to better understand their travel habits and to sensitize them to low-carbon transportation modes.
  • To further develop the analysis, we also want to work closely with our clients to better understand the lifecycle of our image content. Downloading, storing, and processing of images all have a carbon footprint. We’d like to estimate this impact and raise awareness on this problem to our clients.
  • We would also like to involve our main providers in this exercise. That way, we could accompany them on this procedure, help them identify their main carbon emissions and work together on ways to reduce it.
  • We also plan to use the Greenly platform to raise awareness of emission reduction among all our employees.

Want to learn more about this initiative and Greenly? Check out what they have to say directly on their website.