Like many firms, RiverStone International is concerned about its environmental impact and eager to do something about it. At the beginning of last year, we set ourselves the target of becoming carbon neutral in our energy usage by the end of 2021. By the start of this year, we were delighted to announce to all employees that we have fully offset our 2020 energy usage. Looking to improve upon this, we intend to continue to offset our energy usage and have a comprehensive environmental, social and governance (ESG) policy in place by the end of 2022.   

With increased awareness and public understanding about climate change, demand is growing from various quarters for businesses to be more carbon aware and state what their ESG policy is. Becoming carbon neutral is achieved not only through partnerships with other organisations but also by being conscious of the many ways carbon can be reduced internally.

The approach at RiverStone was to moderate and control factors in the everyday life of the company, such as improving technologies and assessing the necessity of travel. These initiatives have been put into practice within the business and will continue to produce environmental benefits. RiverStone also assessed how it could go about offsetting the energy use it couldn’t avoid.

We were able to reach this target through collaborations with different organisations that all have environmental social governance at their core. Initially, we connected with Natural Capital Partners, experts on carbon neutrality and climate finance and we have offset our emissions through one of their projects that reduces emissions and has a positive environmental impact. 

The Aqua Clara Water Filters project in Kenya provides safe drinking water for millions of Kenyans without the need to boil it first. Fewer than half of all Kenyans have access to safe drinking water, often collecting water from open rivers, streams and other unsafe sources. This leads to regular outbreaks of cholera and other water-borne diseases. People are encouraged to boil water before drinking to kill any pathogens, which is usually done by burning unsustainable sources of fuel like wood or charcoal, reducing forest cover, causing carbon emissions, and exposing people to household smoke. These methods clearly have poor environmental consequences which can be largely avoided by the use of Aqua Clara filters. The project brings affordable water filters to families and schools in Kenya, through community-led microfinance loans. Aqua Clara goes beyond providing the technology by also teaching people how to maintain the filters and to educate them on the importance of washing hands, fruit and vegetables, which helps to maintain the health of those communities.

Through this project and the changes made to the internal running of the organisation, we managed to offset our energy use for 2020 based on the independent assessment of CO2 emissions produced by Coral Energy. RiverStone is now looking to make further advances with energy sustainability to further limit its environmental impact and support more projects such as these.