Tide makes three pledges to deliver Net Zero Plan, as laid out by CFO & Head of Net Zero, Ian Sutherland.
We’re feeling the intensifying effects of the earth’s atmosphere warming. Last summer the UK experienced the hottest temperature on record. Pollution, dams and too much water removal have affected the flow and health of India’s Ganges River.
So many of humankind’s challenges today, including a loss of biodiversity and poverty,
are made more difficult by climate change.
While we at Tide may not make much of a difference on our own, our reach to our Members,
who make up around 9% of UK SMEs, will.
That’s why we’re taking decisive action now to curtail the spiralling effects of greenhouse gases (GHG)
on the Earth’s atmosphere.
We can’t wait any further to play our part in a sustainable future.
We’re putting our own house in order, by turning Tide the business into a Net Zero one.
we’ll move on to support our Members.
We’ve committed to this via three Net Zero pledges:
Tide commits today to balancing the books on CO2 for good.
Pledge 1 means we have removed 100% of our emissions with durable carbon removal from 2022 by purchasing 3,711 tonnes of durable biochar removals. (More on where we’ve bought our biochar from our Statement of Fact on the Tide website.)
This puts Tide into a forward thinking and action-oriented group of businesses, and places us in the top 20 carbon removal buyers in the world. You can go to the CDR.fyi registry, an open registry on high-permanence carbon removal for more information.*
We’re proud to say this makes Tide the first fintech globally to do this.
2022 was only the beginning. We commit to purchasing durable removals for our carbon emissions every year going forward.
Climate experts widely agree that if we’re to keep global warming within acceptable levels, we need to pursue a two-pronged strategy. This consists of removing carbon, and reducing GHG emissions.
Otherwise, we’re heading for that catastrophic tipping point sooner than predicted. Tipping points are when heating drives temperatures in Earth’s atmosphere beyond a critical threshold, for e.g., driving the irreversible loss of Greenland’s and West Antarctic ice sheets, and leading to rising sea levels.*
This is where biochar saves the day.
Biochar is a kind of charcoal that’s produced when waste biomass is heated in a very low-oxygen environment, a process called pyrolysis.
Biochar is already used in garden and agricultural soil but its carbon sequestration* properties make it a wonder-material for fighting global warming.
During pyrolysis, the CO2 that would otherwise have been released from the burning or decomposition of biomass is locked away in a durable carbon solid for more than a century and put back into the ground at scale in an agricultural context, or even into building materials.
Biochar’s sponge-like, large surface area and slight electrical charge mean it’s good for soil and plant health, when used in a controlled manner.
The IPCC reports that biochar is one of the safest, most durable, and fastest ways to draw down carbon and store it for long periods of time.
This could be a 100 years or more.
Let’s move onto Pledge 2.
Pledges 1 and 2 will make Tide fully Net Zero by 2030.
By only committing to 2030, does this mean we can decelerate our carbon reduction efforts?
No, not in the slightest.
We recognise that to be truly Net Zero and to ultimately meet the standards of the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), an international coalition that includes the United Nations and the WWF, we should not lose sight of wider aims to dramatically reduce our own emissions.
So we cannot stop with just durably removing carbon, we need to stop emitting it in the first place.
We’ve already started this process.
In 2022, we reduced our emissions per employee by around 10% through action like limiting long-haul flights to include a two-week minimum stay, instead of one week, as well as creating specific carbon budgets for team travel overall. We are determined to sustain this momentum and bring employee emissions down as we grow and expand.
By 2030, Tide will reduce 90% of its Scopes 1 – 3 emissions per employee to reach Net Zero. In doing so, and while the business scales revenue, we will also reduce our emissions on a per revenue basis by 97%.
To take action to reduce emissions, companies need to understand and measure where they’re sourced from in the first place. The three scopes are a way of categorising the different kinds of emissions a company creates in its own operations and value chains. We monitor our emissions using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol (GHG), the most widely used international accounting tool and the global industry standard for measuring carbon emissions.
We are fully transparent about our Net Zero reduction journey. More on our Scopes 1 – 3 emissions in our Statement of Fact on our website.
Pledges 1 & 2 will make Tide fully Net Zero by 2030.
Pledge 3 means we plan to roll out an initiative later in 2023 to help our Members kickstart their own journey to Net Zero using the same two-pronged approach.
Around Q4 2023, Tide will start to introduce products, features and content to enable our Members to take their own Net Zero steps.
We believe we can achieve a further 1 million tonnes of durable carbon removal (CO2e) from the atmosphere by 2030 by activating our powerful network of Member businesses in the UK and India.
This will start to make a difference – and this is only the beginning.
Stay with us on this journey.
We are the first fintech to remove 100% of our own carbon emissions, via removals, right now.
When we started out on our journey to Net Zero we discovered the carbon removals marketplace was tiny. This is despite massive worldwide momentum in purchases of removals. In 2021-22 these purchases grew by 533%. Sector-wise banking, travel and technology lead the charge.
But, total cumulative purchase as of 2022 was less than 0.0006% of the total amount of removals needed this century by 2050.
This minute percentage of 0.0006% points to a lack of a real carbon removal marketplace. Rather, a number of participants, like Tide, are attempting to kickstart carbon removal purchase to create a market. Tide’s purchases are a signal to others to do the same. Collective purchasing power will create a supply side marketplace that makes it easy to remove carbon now, and not by 2030, and help prevent our planet from warming.
We’re raising the bar. To be clear, we also want others to take similar action.
Much is to be said for afforestation, but planting trees does not durably remove carbon and therefore does not meet Net Zero standards.
The SBTi, a voluntary project organised by several environmental and international organisations including the United Nations, is clear that only permanent carbon removal methods count towards Net Zero.
While afforestation is a great solution that absorbs carbon dioxide, the risk of reversal is high, as we’ve seen with increasing wildfires and forestry practices.
With this in mind, we turned to carbon removals as an immediate solution to remove 100% of our emissions now.
We know that there is huge controversy around Net Zero pledges. At Tide we are committed to doing the right thing. We will publish data regularly and our work is assured by independent assurance partners. More on this in our Statement of Fact on our website.
We won’t be put off by endless discussions about definitions and standards. We wanted to take action now, while recognising not everyone will agree with our approach.
Tide has always been an agile business and we have taken this cultural DNA to our behaviour around Net Zero. We will adjust our approach as we learn, never forgetting what is at stake: a contribution to saving our planet.
And to cap off, we are the first fintech to remove 100% of our own carbon emissions, via removals, now.
We feel privileged to have been able to achieve this and set an example. As such we are committed to use our full influence and position in the market in the fight to mitigate climate change.
Tide CFO – Head of Net Zero
We are open to working with others: From product partners to ideas, let us know by reaching out NetZero@tide.co.
Click here for our Net Zero – Statement of Fact
We are the first fintech to remove 100% of our own carbon emissions, via removals, now. We feel privileged to have been able to achieve this and set an example.Ian Sutherland - Tide CFO - Head of Net Zero
Tide has bought 3,711 tonnes of durable carbon removals. These 3,711 tonnes sequester (store) carbon dioxide in a chemical reaction and store it away for the long term (100+ years).
Tide has removed 100% of emissions from 2022 via these carbon removals, going beyond current Net Zero guidance and recognising the urgent need to scale carbon removal. Tide is making a long-term commitment to removing 100% of its emissions with durable carbon removal year on year, from 2022 onwards.
We recognise that the SBTi guidance for Net Zero is 97% target for economic intensity (on an added value basis). Given Tide’s emissions are predominantly determined by our employee footprint, we have decided to hold ourselves to account on this and internally align to drive reduction of emissions on this basis. In doing so, while our business scales, we will ensure we will also meet the 97% target reduction on a revenue basis.
On Pledge 2: Tide Reduction Net Zero – Tide will reduce 90% of our 2021 emissions per employee by 2030. In doing so, we will reduce emissions by 97% on a revenue basis. Pledges 1 and 2 will make Tide fully Net Zero by 2030.
What we mean by this is that Tide commits to reducing emissions by 97% on an economic basis as well as to 90% on a per employee basis. Therefore as Tide’s revenue increases our relative amount of emissions, we reduce to 97% less than our base year emissions, as measured on a revenue basis.
Our investment in 3,711 tonnes of durable carbon dioxide removals makes us one of the first tech companies to purchase durable carbon removal offsets at the scale that matches our entire Scope 1 -3 footprint . We’re in a forward-thinking and action oriented group of businesses, which puts us in the top 20 carbon removal buyers in the world. Tide is also the first fintech and the first business banking platform to do this.
Visit the live cdr.fyi aggregator of registries to find out more.
Despite significant market growth and momentum, high-permanence (long-term) carbon removals are still in their infancy. Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) purchases grew by 337% in 2020-’21 and 533% in 2021-’22.
Total cumulative purchases as of 2022 is less than 0.0006% of the total amount of removals needed this century by 2050.
We still do not have a real CDR market, but rather a number of first movers attempting to kickstart purchases of carbon removals and help create a market. Travel, banking and technology sectors continue to lead the charge.
See CDR.fyi Year in Review article for more information.
One reason could be a lack of incentives. For example, the Science based target initiative (SBTi) does require permanent carbon removal to fulfil Net Zero targets but does not incentivise deployment of removals before target dates (2030 and beyond). We hope that the SBTi Net Zero standard will include guidance on carbon removal in the future.
Relevant changes could enhance the credibility of the SBTi standard by clarifying how Net Zero-aligned companies should approach near-term purchases of permanent carbon removal. SBTi has promised additional engagement on this in 2023. See CarbonPlan for more information – https://carbonplan.org/research/sbti-carbon-removal
Biochar is a porous form of charcoal that is up to 95% pure carbon, and it results from heating biomass at high temperatures without oxygen. As a stable form of carbon, it’s an effective end-of-life solution for biomass waste, which would otherwise release CO2 back into the atmosphere when decomposed or burned.
Biochar is one of the carbon removal technologies that are considered medium durability, storing carbon for more than 100 years. This means the carbon is expected to be stored and captured for a similar or greater duration to the life of most of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The IPCC reports that biochar is one of the safest, most durable, and fastest ways to draw down carbon and capture and store it for long periods of time.
More information on the differences between short-durability solutions, medium-durability solutions, and long-durability solutions can be found here.
Much is to be said for afforestation, but planting trees does not durably remove carbon and therefore does not meet Net Zero standards. The SBTi (Science Based Targets Initiative), a voluntary project organised by several environmental and international organisations including the United Nations, is clear that only permanent carbon removal methods count towards Net Zero. Afforestation is a great solution that absorbs carbon dioxide, but the risk of reversal is high, as we’ve seen with increasing wildfires and forestry practices.
Tide wants to supercharge the creation of a carbon removal marketplace at scale to reverse the effects of climate change. With this we turned to carbon removals as an immediate solution, while we work in parallel on mid and longer-term solutions.
We at Tide believe it’s vital to start our Net Zero journey now. It’s better to take a strong stand early on and signpost clear intention, thereby laying the groundwork for what’s to come in our Net Zero journey.
By investing in carbon removals now alongside carbon reductions we are leading from the front. We hope other fintechs, as well as our Members, join us on this journey.
We want to do the right thing for the planet and create a more sustainable future by acting now. We also want to control our own destiny. We don’t want to be mandated to act when the timing might not suit our business or our stakeholders. With the purchase of 3,711 tonnes of CO2, Tide shows it’s possible to become 100% removal Net Zero (from 2022) now, and not wait for 2030.
It is international scientific consensus that, in order to prevent the worst climate damages, global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) need to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching Net Zero around 2050. Global warming is proportional to cumulative CO2 emissions, which means that the planet will keep heating for as long as global emissions remain more than zero. This implies environmental damage caused by global heating will continue escalating for as long as emissions continue.
Net Zero refers to a state in which the greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere are balanced by removal out of the atmosphere. The term represents an important milestone because this is the state at which global warming – that related to CO2 at least – stops.
Net Zero is the internationally agreed upon goal for mitigating global warming in the second half of the century. More information on Net Zero can be found here.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that if we fail to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the floods and fires we have seen around the world in the last couple of years will get more frequent and more fierce. Crops will be more likely to fail and sea levels will rise, driving mass migration as millions are forced from their homes around the world.
Above 1.5°C we risk reaching climatic tipping points like the melting of arctic permafrost – releasing millennia of stored greenhouse gases – meaning we could lose control of our climate for good.
The science could not be clearer: by the middle of this century the world has to reduce emissions to as close to zero as possible, with the small amount of remaining emissions absorbed through natural carbon sinks like forests, and new technologies like carbon capture. If we can achieve this, global emissions of greenhouse gases will be Net Zero by 2050.
The UK government has committed to cutting emissions by at least 68% by 2030 on 1990 levels and reaching Net Zero by 2050. Various global initiatives are pushing companies to make serious Net Zero commitments that are consistent with the 2015 Paris Climate agreement’s goals on containing global warming:
Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.
Energy security and the cost of doing business. This is an opportunity to seize the moment and pivot to renewables to create a more sustainable future. The world has for too long relied on fossil fuels for its energy source. We are seeing mild winter weather in Europe, far hotter summers and extremes of weather in other parts of the world. Reliance on external fossil fuel energy sources, for example on external actors or on regular changes in policy, is proving costly, and destabilising.
There is also a huge opportunity in a transition to Net Zero. McKinsey states in a 2021 report that ‘supplying the goods and services to enable the global net-zero transition could be worth £1 trillion to UK businesses by 2030.’
Tide bought 3,711 tonnes of carbon removals from Wakefield Biochar in Georgia, US, which is sequestering CO2 durably in biochar. This purchase covers Tide’s carbon emissions period for 1st January 2022 – 31st December 2022.
Wakefield Biochar is an American company that partners with a paper mill. The paper mill turns bark waste into char and Wakefield then turns this into biochar by applying it to degraded land or agricultural land. Without this activity, the carbon would have returned to the atmosphere via combustion. All of the waste material ‘feedstock’ originated from FSC-certified sustainable forestry.
The purchase of 3,500 initial tonnes happened on Friday 6th January 2023, with the remaining 211 tonnes purchased on 27 February 2023.
Using the Puro.earth registration system, 3,711 tonnes of carbon dioxide removal was retired by Supercritical for Tide Platform Limited on behalf of Tide Group, with an aim to durably neutralise Tide’s 2022 emissions. The beneficiary is TPL (Tide Platform Limited), and the country of consumption is the United Kingdom (where most of Tide’s emissions are at this stage).
We chose Wakefield biochar because the UK currently doesn’t offer biochar at scale. We wanted to act fast, and scoured the globe for credible and cost-efficient suppliers who provide this at scale. Wakefield biochar has been verified by Supercritical, our Net Zero advisors. In the future we would look to purchase biochar removals in the UK and also likely in India where a significant number of Tide employees are based.
The purchase of 3,711 tonnes of biochar removals means we are removing all Tide’s carbon emissions by buying removals. This does not mean that we are Net Zero ourselves yet as a business. Durable carbon removals help us accelerate our journey to true Net Zero.
We are also actively reducing our own emissions and have already reduced them by about 10%. We achieved this in part by limiting long-haul travel for two weeks.
While we recognise we need to continue to reduce our emissions until we hit Net Zero in 2030, we didn’t want to delay removing our annual emissions from the atmosphere. This is why we chose to buy 3711 tonnes of carbon removals which removed 100% of Tide’s 2022’s emissions.
Tide will continue to review its Net Zero progress annually, reporting on the Tide Net Zero Plan at regular intervals.
As we scale, Tide will focus on key Net Zero initiatives and key impact areas in our geographical markets, targeting Net Zero progress, with milestone-based initiative-level announcements.
We endeavour to be open about Tide’s Net Zero journey. We will always make sure that we hold ourselves accountable on the latest thinking in carbon accounting.
We will continue to take guidance on carbon removals from global best practice, including endeavouring to follow standards set by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
CDR.fyi equips climate teams, press, and investors with trusted data on the state of the CDR market. CDR,fyi is an independent aggregator and cross-registry reporting platform. CDR.fyi provides one of the most comprehensive views into the state of the carbon removal market. CDR.fyi currently monitors over 250 purchasers, marketplaces, and suppliers across 700+ CDR orders and close to $250M in estimated spend.
For more: The State of CDR Report
Read our Statement of Fact here.