Compensation stirring the soup

Severi Niiranen as a guest

"Compensation has been discussed a lot recently. It suffers from the same problem as the Finnish economy now - i.e. inflation. Mixed-meat soup will never be ready when the industry lacks clear recipes and there are too many cooks in the kitchen. The reputation has also been tarnished when the soup spills and boils over. This is a shame, because when cleaning the cauldron, even the good things go down the drain with the washing water. We still believe that the ingredients of the soup are by no means out of date."

- Tapio


Emissions are created when furniture is made.
What can be done about it?

Compensation for emissions shouldn't be some vague bogeyman whose horns you don't dare to grab. We are trying to implement a good thing here, and that's why it's sometimes sad how negative or cautionary tone compensations are talked about in the news headlines. Researching different compensation options is an interesting thing to do, and in it you suddenly run into your own ignorance. Different methods seem like good options from different perspectives, but what is the best compensation method?

Emission compensation is one way to contribute to achieving the goals of sustainable development. So it doesn't make you or my business blessed. When planning compensation, you have to ask yourself why you are doing it. Is there a genuine desire to do things better and right? Or is the purpose just to do something trendy that will help you get a good marketing campaign? Communicating things related to responsibility in a correct way sometimes feels like dancing on a tightrope, so I encourage you to focus first on how things can be concretely done well and only then think about how to communicate it appropriately. Then the cause/effect relationship feels right.


"You can't wash your hands clean with compensation"


In implementing compensation - as in many other things - there is a risk of drifting towards perfection. That's why I ask, which is more important in this case, to do something or to do something only when it is perfectly feasible. If you are unsure about what needs to happen, it is probably safe to justify the matter to yourself and others, that I am not ready yet and therefore the matter remains undone for another time. Instead of striving for perfection, I think you should be patient and kind to yourself while also knowing that there is definitely room for improvement. Then you dare to start doing things for a better environment, even if the guidelines were still loose.

If you want to delve deeper into the topic, read Finnwatch's report ”Anekauppaa vai ilmastotekoja? Vapaaehtoisen päästökompensaation kysyntä, tarjonta ja laatu Suomessa”. From that approx. 100-page report, you can get a pretty good idea of what different methods are available and what their pros and cons are. The main thing that stuck out to me was that some methods of compensation go a long way and in the end the realization of the compensation does not necessarily happen at least as it was thought. On the other hand, it also seemed that you can make choices with quite common sense. If you understand how compensation happens in practice, it might be more likely to actually happen.


Take a cue or do better

For us, the matter progresses as a whole in general terms as follows:

1. Once a year, we inform our partner implementing the compensation (Puuni Oy) of the amount of emissions caused by the products sold during the year.
2. Puuni coordinates the planting for the following spring on wasteland, which is naturally not easily reforested.
3. In addition to the trees to be planted for compensation, Puuni ensures that "extra" trees are planted in the area, whose carbon sequestration is not sold for the purpose of compensation. This is to ensure that our compensation will be fulfilled with certainty, even if some seedlings do not grow properly for some reason.
4. The new forest that has been planted is prohibited from logging for the next 100 years, so that the compensation would actually take place and the trees would not just be cut down for industrial use.

This is how we do it now. We will do better as soon as we know how.

- Severi