It has taken a while, but in
November 2021, Knockendarroch Hotel finally became a Carbon Neutral Business as certified by Carbon Neutral
Britain Ltd. In short, after the Green House Gas (GHG) emissions of the business were audited (Scope 1,2 and
3 emissions) and our Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (Co2e) emissions calculated, we have been able to offset
these emissions through the purchase of credits in internationally certified carbon offsetting projects
The 2020 emissions report produced by Carbon Neutral Britain Ltd is available
for you to read here, and it includes details of the reporting standards used, details of the Scopes
of Emissions, the assumptions used and the results, measured in t/CO2e for each of the Scopes.
For 2020, our total emissions under Scopes 1,2 & 3 were
calculated to be 140 t/Co2e.
Not only is the business certified carbon neutral,
but we believe our entire product is also carbon neutral.
Food and drink consumption
As we learned more about the GHG audit process, it became clear that Scopes 1,2 and 3 do not
really take onto account the emissions impact of our entire product. For example, Scope 3 correctly takes
into account the emissions related to getting our food and drink ingredients to the hotel (transport
emissions), but nowhere are the emissions related to the food and drink itself accounted for. The assumption
is that the original producer of the ingredients and the end consumer assume the responsibility for
offsetting. As a business heavily focused on selling food and drink, we felt that the associated carbon
footprint of that food and drink should really fall to us to offset.
We have assumed 8kg of Co2e per person per day when it comes to food and drink. This number is
just an estimate but it was the highest estimate we could could find in our research and so can hopefully be
considered a conservative approach.
For 2020, we estimate our emissions through guest food & drink consumption to be 25
The other obvious omission from the Scope structure is the firewood that we burn in the open
fires in the guest lounge. It appears that firewood, when extracted from managed woodland is considered
carbon neutral and therefore exempt from the Scope calculations. However, managed woodland is only carbon
neutral on a long timescale. It might take 40 years for the replacement tree to absorb the equivalent Co2
lost by burning its predecessor. This period of time feels too long, and we have therefore decided to offset
the carbon lost today through burning firewood by purchasing equivalent offset credits - the idea is that we
offset today's emissions with today's neutralising credits.
We have assumed 1.9 kg of Co2e per 1kg of firewood for our calculations. This was the highest
estimate we could find in our research and can hopefully be considered to be conservative.
For 2020, we estimate our emissions though firewood burning to be 16
The Carbon Neutral Britain Woodland Fund
The Woodland Fund supports Deforestation Prevention, Reforestation and Woodland Management Projects, with a
strong focus on having a positive impact on the local wildlife, ecology and biodiversity. Examples of the
most recently supported projects include preventing deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, reforestation
after wildfires in Australia, as well as woodland planting in the UK. 10% of our budget is also spent on
projects in Britain.
We chose this fund to offset our certified emissions mainly because of the
immediate results that come from deforestation prevention. It is the same logic that leads us to conclude we
should offset the emissions associated with burning logs (see above). Our view is that we need to offset our
carbon emissions of today with projects that have the most immediate effect.
The Carbon Neutral Britain Climate Fund
Supporting Wind, Solar, Hydro and Cook Stove projects, with a strong focus on offset projects that provide
lasting social and economic benefits in lower income countries around the world. Examples of the most
recently supported projects include wind and solar projects in Chile, India and the Philippines, Hydro Power
in Fiji and Brazil, and Cook Stove Projects in Kenya. Again, 10% of the budget is also spent on sustainable
projects in Britain, including tree planting and wind farms.
We chose this fund to offset those
emissions we calculate beyond the certified tonnage.
All of the projects within these funds are
certified to the highest standards through either the Verra - Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Gold
Standard - Voluntary Emission Reductions (VER) or the United Nations - Certified Emission Reductions (CER)
programmes. In addition to their impact on carbon sequestration, the projects are also selected based on
their direct and indirect impact in supporting education, employment and clean water, as well as having net
positive impact on the local wildlife and ecology.
What have we learned?
The audit and emissions calculations
Calculating your emissions as a business is a complicated and imperfect process. The outputs are only as
good as the inputs and sometimes these inputs are based on estimates.
The international standards used to perform the audit and make the emissions calculations assume that all
businesses and consumers in your business and product network take responsibility for offsetting their own
emissions. Because in reality this is not always the case we need to make assumptions for additional carbon
emissions relating to our product (eg food and drink consumed) and make additional offset purchases. At the
moment, this feels like the best way to ensure that our product, as well as our
business, is as carbon neutral as possible.
Our business and emissions
We have worked hard over the years to reduce our carbon footprint and although there is still a lot of work
to be done, we have been relieved by our relatively low carbon footprint.
All of the work that we have done on modernising the heating and hot water systems seems to have paid off
and although we still rely on natural gas for heating and cooking in the main hotel, the Scope 1 emissions
from this source are relatively modest.
We were slightly alarmed by the size of the Scope 3 emissions at 108 t/Co2e. This is largely driven by the
transportation emissions resulting from the vans and trucks that bring products to us on a daily basis.
There is definitely work to be done on this as we move forward.
What's next? Carbon Neutral is not Net Zero!
Although we are now a certified Carbon Neutral business we need to work towards becoming a Carbon Net Zero
business. There is a subtle distinction here but it is an important one. To reach truly Net Zero status, we
must eliminate controllable emissions from the business as far as possible and offset the balance.
We have made some good progress towards this during 2021
1. All electricity is now sourced from fully renewable sources.
2 The our new guest bedrooms added in 2021 are highly insulated and heated by a highly efficient
air-source heat pump. No natural gas in the building.
3. All company cars are now fully electric.
We will continue to work on reducing our carbon footprint across all functions of the business. A detailed
program will be developed.
Our greatest source of emissions is our supply chain. We will review our supply network and ensure that we
are as efficient as possible, both in terms of number of deliveries per week and in terms of distance
We will research moving to electric sources for cooking in the kitchen and revisit the alternatives to
natural gas for heating and hot water in the main building.
In the meantime, we will continue to measure, audit and offset our carbon emissions in the most effective
way possible. Watch this space!