The RealReal Is Now Carbon Neutral

The RealReal
By Jody Hume
June 10, 2021

Earth Day 2021 is here, and with it, a big sus­tain­abil­i­ty mile­stone for TRR — we’re now car­bon neu­tral. How it start­ed: In late 2019, we accept­ed the CEO Car­bon Neu­tral Chal­lenge put forth by Guc­ci CEO Mar­co Biz­zarri, pledg­ing to become car­bon neu­tral in 2021. How it’s going: We’re now the first car­bon neu­tral resale com­pa­ny, and tech­ni­cal­ly, we’re a year ahead of sched­ule since we’re off­set­ting emis­sions as of Jan­u­ary 1, 2020.

In a sense, it brings our work to sup­port the cir­cu­lar econ­o­my, well, full cir­cle. By now, many of us know that the fash­ion indus­try has a long way to go to improve its record as one of the world’s top pol­lut­ing indus­tries. Over the past decade, we’ve aimed to cre­ate a more sus­tain­able future for fash­ion with the help of our mem­bers by keep­ing over 18 mil­lion lux­u­ry pieces in cir­cu­la­tion, extend­ing their use­ful lives and reduc­ing the over­pro­duc­tion of new items. This has kept items out of land­fills, put more than $2 bil­lion dol­lars back in the hands of our con­signors and saved approx­i­mate­ly 896 mil­lion liters of water and 18,732 met­ric tons of car­bon. If you’re look­ing for a way to reduce your own fash­ion foot­print, sell­ing with us is a great place to start. But we want­ed to go beyond.

So, what does it mean to become car­bon neu­tral and how did we do it? That’s where the pros come in. The Real­Re­al Direc­tor of Sus­tain­abil­i­ty James Rogers is part of a team that spent the last year work­ing in col­lab­o­ra­tion with envi­ron­men­tal experts to cal­cu­late The RealReal’s car­bon foot­print, and reduce and off­set our emis­sions. Read on as he explains how it works, and check out some of the handy def­i­n­i­tions from our Sus­tain­abil­i­ty Glos­sary below.

First things first, what does it mean for TRR to be car­bon neutral?
This means achiev­ing net zero car­bon diox­ide emis­sions into the atmos­phere by bal­anc­ing car­bon emis­sions with car­bon removal or elim­i­nat­ing car­bon diox­ide emis­sions alto­geth­er. Being car­bon neu­tral often includes the pur­chase of car­bon off­sets. This involves invest­ment in projects that reduce or remove car­bon emis­sions, like plant­i­ng trees or con­serv­ing forests.

How did we mea­sure our car­bon footprint?
We col­lect­ed all our ener­gy data and also looked at any­thing else that might have a car­bon foot­print, such as our employ­ee com­mut­ing and the emis­sions relat­ed to ship­ping prod­ucts. We teamed up with lead­ing envi­ron­men­tal con­sult­ing firm Shift Advan­tage to take all that data and cal­cu­late our car­bon foot­print for the year.

How are we off­set­ting our car­bon foot­print? Are there spe­cif­ic projects we are supporting?
We worked with the Bon­neville Envi­ron­men­tal Foun­da­tion to invest in car­bon off­set projects for our Scope 1 (direct) and Scope 3 (indi­rect) emis­sions. We also pur­chased Renew­able Ener­gy Cred­its to reduce our Scope 2 (indi­rect) emis­sions from pur­chased elec­tric­i­ty down to zero. Our renew­able ener­gy pur­chase comes from a wind-pow­ered port­fo­lio and our car­bon off­sets sup­port mul­ti­ple projects includ­ing for­est con­ser­va­tion and regen­er­a­tive agriculture.

What was some­thing that you learned or that sur­prised you in the process of tak­ing TRR car­bon neutral?
For most appar­el com­pa­nies, the major­i­ty of emis­sions are upstream and come from their sup­ply chain. From my pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence in the indus­try, I would esti­mate this rep­re­sents between 65–85% of the emis­sions for an appar­el com­pa­ny. For The Real­Re­al, those upstream emis­sions are zero because they are not count­ed when sell­ing an item a sec­ond time. Those emis­sions have already been allo­cat­ed to the brand that pro­duced those items so we don’t want them dou­ble count­ed. This demon­strates how resale clear­ly reduces the envi­ron­men­tal impact of appar­el and is a key ele­ment in address­ing cli­mate change.

To read the full arti­cle, please vis­it The​Re​al​Re​al​.com