DAME BECOMES WORLD’S FIRST CLIMATE POSITIVE PERIOD BRAND
So what’s this all about?
It all comes down to carbon. All of us produce carbon emissions, simply by existing. Driving, flying, eating, sighing, showering, even scrolling - it’s all emitting carbon into our atmosphere.
There’s nothing wrong with carbon itself. In fact, it’s the building block of life. The problem is that we humans have taken that building block, interrupted its natural cycle, and spewed it into our skies. As designer William McDonough puts it, atmospheric carbon is a material in the wrong place, at the wrong dose and for the wrong duration.
The trouble is that carbon in the wrong place causes our planet to warm up, and because we’ve been existing well beyond the means of our planet for quite some time now, we’ve pumped so much carbon into our atmosphere that we’ve reached a full blown climate emergency. Ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, biodiversity is dwindling, and whole communities are being displaced. The (climate) shift has really hit the fan.
Unless we take some seriously drastic action, we’re on the cusp of no return.
What does drastic action look like?
Significantly reducing the activities we undertake with the most carbon emissions. The main culprits being the energy we use, the way we travel, and the products we buy. Whilst we must all do our bit, we believe it’s up to businesses to offer consumers better, greener choices that cause less damage to our planet.
What’s DAME doing about it?
Well firstly we recognise that as a business, we have a huge responsibility to act. That’s why we created our reusable tampon applicator, to provide an alternative to the billions of single-use plastic applicators ditched every year.
But we also know that plastic is only the tip of the (melting) iceberg when it comes to our climate crisis, so we wanted to address our carbon emissions too. We’ve spent the last 8 months measuring exactly how much carbon we generate in the making and distributing of our products.
How on earth do you go about measuring your carbon?
The total amount of carbon you generate is called your carbon footprint. Sadly measuring it isn’t as easy as working out your shoe size. We’re not going to lie, it’s a pretty savage process.
We’ve had to scrutinise our entire supply chain and product lifecycle to work out the amount of carbon generated at every single step. This includes:
- Materials: from the organic cotton in our tampons, to the medical grade Mediprene in our applicator, to the recycled card of our subscription packs - we’ve considered how much carbon it takes to grow/mine/make/harvest each one.
- Production: From our tampons to our travel wallets, we’ve calculated how much water and electricity goes into making each component.
- Transportation: Two things we had to measure here. 1) Carbon emissions from transporting materials from our suppliers to our warehouse and 2) Carbon emissions generated by transporting our finished products to you, our lovely customers.
- Product Usage: Here we had to think about the carbon generated from you using your reusable tampon applicator for at least 10 years. The main consideration here was the amount of water you would use to wash it.
- Disposal: We calculated the amount of carbon generated once you’re done with our products -- from the recycling of our packaging to the biodegradation of our tampons.
- Business: Office heating and lighting, work travel, and anything that drives DAME forwards.
So, how big is the DAME footprint?
It’s 112.88 tonnes of CO2 to be precise. That’s all the products we’ve ever made, and the running of the entire business.
Our footprint broken down:
To put that into perspective, it’s what 6.6 average Americans or 17.4 Brits generate in one year.
Of course, that figure only covers everything we’ve done in the last 12 months. We’ll have to recalculate our footprint again next year, and every year from now on.
What's DAME doing about their footprint?
We want to be net carbon zero, but there are a few steps to take first.
We now know the carbon hotspots in our supply chain, which in time can be reduced by finding cleaner, greener materials, technologies and suppliers to replace them. For example, we’d love to shift to regenerative farming techniques for our cotton, which absorbs more carbon from the air than is emitted. This would help offset carbon in the rest of our supply chain.
This all takes time, something the planet doesn’t have much of. So until then, we’re committed to offsetting all our current emissions as a first step. We think of it as giving back as much as we take.
How exactly does DAME offset carbon emissions?
In short, by investing in products and projects that are more carbon efficient than those they replace. For DAME, we thought long and hard about investing in an offsetting programme that was truly impactful, measurable, and furthers our mission to support women around the world. We came across a brilliant clean water borehole project in Northern Uganda that does exactly this.
The project helps bring clean, safe water to communities that have sadly had to endure horrific conflict and displacement. To date, 60% of people in the area have relied on walking huge distances to draw water from often contaminated pools and rivers, then boiling it over wood fires in an attempt to make it palatable.
By working with local communities to build and maintain clean water boreholes, the project not only reduces the risk of illness and infection, but also means families save on burning firewood, thereby preventing the release of carbon into the atmosphere.
Moreover, given most of the burden of collecting and boiling water has traditionally fallen on women, the project frees up their time to crack on with other things. As a female focused organisation ourselves, we’re all for that. And just to reassure you, the project is also Gold Standard certified - the highest standard of verification.
So how much has DAME offset?
Most businesses who offset strive to go carbon neutral, but we felt we owed it to the planet to do more. So for every tonne of carbon we’ve put in to the atmosphere over the past 12 months, we’ve paid to take two tonnes out.
Net result is that we’re now climate positive.
We’re pretty sure we’re the world’s first climate positive period brand, which we’re very excited about.
In total, we've offset the same amount of carbon that it would take 79 acres of trees to remove in a year.
To us, becoming climate positive wasn't a choice, but an absolute necessity, and we hope to inspire other businesses to do the same. If you're into carbon chat, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org