Yes, we can change things on our scale and reduce our carbon footprint.
What is the carbon footprint ?
The carbon footprint, calculated in tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, refers to the greenhouse gas emissions generated by our activities . From the production of goods, to our food consumption, through the energy used in our homes or our mode of transport, everything goes there.
The sectors that emit the most CO2 in the world are: fossil fuels , agriculture , land use and the fashion sector .
To give you an idea, the carbon footprint of Paris is 22.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Therefore, a Parisian consumes 10.3 tonnes of CO2 per year, taking into account emissions from buildings, transport, intramural industries, and indirect emissions generated by Parisians outside the city. 10.3 tonnes… It's huge isn't it?
Fossil fuels: do they still exist?
Oil , natural gas and coal are the main fossil fuels. These 3 hydrocarbons have one thing in common: they come from underground deposits and are formed by the decomposition of organic matter (based on carbon) of living beings (plants, animals, bacteria, etc.).
We use fossil fuels every day, by producing electricity, heat, burning coal in thermal power stations, but also by taking the plane, our own car or even by buying something packaged in plastic (yes, it takes a lot of fossil energy to produce plastic). To give you an order of magnitude, oil (30.9%) is the most used source of energy in the world, closely followed by coal (26.8%) and natural gas (23.2%). ).
The only small problem is that even before its combustion, fossil energy is already a time bomb for the environment. Its mode of extraction is how to say… (a little) cata.
To extract this oil from the depths of the earth, oil drilling companies must all too often raze the forests before installing their pumping machines.
When the extraction is done in the sea, the offshore platforms (offshore) represent a real risk of an oil spill (and personally, I don't want to do an oil scrub during my beach vacation).
Once this energy has been extracted, its combustion causes greenhouse gases. And who says CO2, says global warming, summer heat and melting sea ice, freezing winter. And therefore to drink even more mulled wine (and thus to end up drunk, *hips*).
In 2021, a study was carried out by researchers from University College London. This shows that if humanity wants to limit global warming to 1.5°C as set out in the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement, 90% of the coal and 60% of the oil still present in the soil must stay there . We'll have to go a little harder!
Fashion: essential or indefensible?
The fashion sector is a sector that has exploded in recent years. By always wanting to be “in fashion”, the phenomenon of fast fashion has taken on an unprecedented scale and forces us to produce more and more, by selling at lower and lower prices to encourage consumption. The fashion sector's carbon footprint is estimated at 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 , which represents 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. And if this continues, in 2050 these emissions will represent 26%!
Where does the carbon impact in fashion come from?
64% of sector emissions are made by two stages of a garment's life cycle. First by manufacturing the fabric from a raw material (for example the spinning of the cotton and the weaving of the fabric) then by the treatment of the textile (dyes and finishes). Added to this is the transport of the garment from the extraction of raw materials to final consumption.
To give you an idea, your shoes have already done an average of 5300 km before you even take the slightest step with them. Okay, let's qualify our point a bit. A pair of shoes made in France will have done less than 1000km while a pair from China will have more than… 8000km on the clock. So yes, buying French already changes a lot.
Here are some figures that can only convince us: for 1% of textile consumption redirected towards Made in France , French industry produces 5,500 additional tons, this generates 4,000 new jobs and 140,000 tons of CO2 are saved . To reduce the carbon footprint of the fashion sector, the real challenge is to support the energy transition , by using renewable or clean energies to produce clothes.
Another way to reduce the impact of the fashion industry is to reduce the volume of clothing put on the market . Basically, let's stop over-consuming and over-producing. Some brands have set up a pre-order system to streamline production. By reducing the number of unsold products, CO2 emissions along the value chain would decrease by 25%.
With the Oé team, we choose responsible brands to make the team's clothing. We pre-ordered our t-shirts several months in advance from ForLife , in order to avoid overproduction and buy responsible products.
earth against earth
As there are more and more of us on earth, we have to produce more and more to feed ourselves. Since 1960, world agricultural production has greatly increased. Agriculture now accounts for a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions !
I can already hear you saying to yourself: “But agriculture is part of nature, it doesn't pollute” . Well, can you imagine that what produces the most greenhouse gases is livestock farming (48%), the cultivation of pesticide-infested soils (41%) and agricultural machinery (11%). In addition to contributing to climate change, agriculture is singled out for its impact on air and water quality, biodiversity, the destruction of natural areas and soil erosion...
How to reduce the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector?
Develop bicycles/tractors? Significantly decrease meat production? We asked ourselves a lot of questions to limit pollution linked to agriculture. You are given avenues which are currently being studied and which are beginning to be put in place.
The soils are rich in organic matter. They make it possible to capture CO2 present in the air. But for that, you need large green areas. One idea that is beginning to develop is to create “carbon sinks” with pastures, hedgerows, or large expanses of grass that absorb CO2 from the air.
Another way to reduce the carbon footprint of the agricultural sector is to save energy. Alright. We're not going to plant potatoes by hand?
Optimizing the use of agricultural machinery by adopting eco-driving and acquiring high-performance and economical equipment makes it possible to reduce pollution from machinery as much as possible. Properly insulating buildings is also essential to reduce energy losses (but that's the same with us!).
Finally, a last track is to change the food given to the animals . You might smile, but just like a human who eats too many beans, cows have foods that cause them to produce more methane (if you know what I mean 💨).
Flax seeds are gradually being introduced into cattle feed, and it's much better for their digestive system (and for their hair)!
How can I limit my carbon footprint?
It doesn't matter if you're a bad cook. You can still limit your carbon footprint by eating fewer animal products (fish, meat).
On the fashion side , a simple but always working tip is to buy less but better. Here is a rather crazy little fact: in France, we buy 10kg of clothes and shoes every year . 68% of our wardrobe has never been worn in the last 12 months.
Let's take care of our clothes. At Oé, we really like Patagonia clothing, which is guaranteed… for life! Many of us send them back and have them repaired. And if you are tempted to buy, we suggest you try the BISOU method.
If shoes catch our eye, it's good to wait a few days to find out if we really need them. And when you need it, you can check if the product exists second-hand on Vinted , Emmaüs or in thrift stores. Second-hand and recycling can reduce total emissions from the fashion sector by 10 to 15% .
To make this change in habits more fun, the Zero Waste France association launched the “ Rien de Neuf ” challenge. The rule: for one year, individuals agree to buy as few new items as possible. A facebook group has been created with more than 28,000 people who exchange ideas and tips on how to avoid buying new products. We try ?
Finally, if we have no choice but to buy new, let's buy as locally as possible. We have already explained to you the benefits of Made In France, both to reduce carbon emissions and to create jobs. And then, anyway, fashion is cyclical, isn't it? Head to your parents'/grandparents' closet, maybe you'll find some nuggets!
On another note, our homes increase our carbon footprint. It is estimated at 2.4 tonnes of CO2 per person per year and is mainly linked to heating and electricity consumption .
So to limit all these losses, you have to bet on good thermal insulation . If there are fewer exchanges with the outside, there will be less need for heating in winter and vice versa for summer. To have the least possible losses, you need good windows (thanks to double glazing) and well-sealed doors.
You can also opt for wood-fired heating or opt for green energy suppliers. At Oé we are at Enercoop , a 100% renewable energy supplier from French producers.
The government has given a sobriety plan to follow for the winter, with the main directive not to heat above 19 degrees. And 19, believe us, it's perfect!
In our everyday life, an easy thing to put in place is to abandon our dear friend the car . We can replace it with public transport, cycling, walking… With the team, many of us come by bike, and we love it. This is an opportunity to take a moment for yourself in the morning and evening, to tone up and enjoy going to work while avoiding traffic jams. To try it is to adopt it !
And on the food side, let's be aware of the impact of intensive farming on animals and the environment . By putting more plants back on our plates, we can help change things. We show you an idea for a festive , delicious and vegetarian menu, developed by chef Matthieu Chambrier. Yum !
Finally, one last point to change your carbon footprint is to change jobs . “Change job? No, but that has nothing to do with it!”
We don't say that all jobs are bad, far from it, but if you work for a company that seeks to do better, that brings good practices up to date (hello Oé and the bottle deposit ), you will contribute to change things and the world on your scale.
You know why you get up in the morning, and you make other companies want to get started in turn. The world is not perfect, but if everyone chooses a fight, we can make a difference.
Are you ready to fight with us?
Ps: Here is a little tool to calculate your carbon footprint ;)