Every school needs reliable broadband, here's how to choose sustainability too

At RM we have chosen to partner with Ecologi - a B-Corp certified organisation that plants trees around the world and facilitate the funding of carbon offset projects. We will fund planting a tree for every customer that selects RM as their broadband supplier.

Why plant trees?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change advocates that globally we plant billions of trees to sequester carbon that is already in the atmosphere, to work alongside carbon reduction. The benefits of planting trees in the fight against climate change are widely accepted. Tree planting is a solution that immediately removes carbon from the atmosphere as the tree grows, helping reduce the impact of emissions.

We know it is not a permanent answer, but it offers an active step to support the global reduction of carbon. Currently, the natural carbon absorption ability of forest restoration and reforestation far exceeds the efficiency of any man-made carbon removal technology that exists.

We chose to partner with Ecologi, as they plant ecologically appropriate trees in the right places and coordinate with local communities. They ensure that the trees are protected from outside threats (both natural and man-made) so that they can survive and thrive to support biodiversity and carbon sequestration.

What trees will be planted?

Monoculture forests and non-native species do not fall under the category of responsible reforestation, and neither RM nor Ecologi, our partner, support them. Some mangrove trees are endangered species, so the programme aims to add to those endangered populations too. Over time climate change will put at risk more species in various parts of the world, so what is planted will need to adapt to these changes. For example, around sixty different tree species are being planted at our sites in Madagascar, including Avicinia marina, Rhizophora mucronate, Ceriops tagal, Bruguiera gymnoohiza and Rhopalocarpus similis.

Are the workers treated fairly?

Ecologi maintains a strict Code of Conduct for all their impact partners. The code covers many different areas of sustainable operations, including fair wages and decent working conditions. It also specifies the minimum ages that are permitted to work and forbids the use of child labour. Ecologi follows safeguarding procedures and conducts spot checks to ensure standards are maintained on site. Their partners have processes to support the local communities that plant and look after the trees. This helps provide reliable income to local communities, with the overall aim of empowering them to support themselves.

Why reforestation of mangroves and not UK forests?

The UK has a role to play in leading the way and supporting developing countries against the effects of climate change. Forests in the UK are not at any significant risk. On the other hand, mangroves absorb carbon at a very high rate compared to other types of terrestrial ecosystems. Their extensive root networks can store a large amount of carbon underground, and their locations on coastal wetlands reduce the likelihood that this carbon will be affected by natural hazards like wildfires. Mangroves also form a key part of coastal ecosystems and are renowned for an array of ecosystem services, including fisheries and fibre production, sediment regulation, and storm tsunami protection.

Every school needs reliable broadband, here's how to choose sustainability too

How much carbon do mangroves sequester?

Globally, it is estimated that mangrove sequester around 24 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. Each hectare of mangroves can absorb approximately 3,083 tonnes of carbon dioxide over a 25-year lifetime, and a single tree can sequester 0.3 tonnes over its growth life based on data analysed by www.moretrees.eco.

How much carbon an individual tree can sequester is spectacularly complex. Ecologi does not encourage its community to attempt to calculate the amount of carbon sequestered as part of our reforestation work to offset or balance emissions, but is like many companies offering reforestation as an investment option.

In the meantime, the trees we fund will do great work in absorbing carbon at their own pace

Do the newly planted trees offset RM's carbon footprint?

No. We don't consider the carbon sequestered by our trees when we measure and account for our own emissions. Still, our investment with Ecologi is a commitment to offset our carbon footprint through a recognised supplier with the highest verification standards.

What is the energy impact of a broadband connection?

We reviewed the many types of equipment we provide to our customers for each type of service and calculated their energy use over a year. We calculated the total amount of energy we use with our core network and multiple data centre locations. Connectivity services are 24/7, both at the school and within our network. The equipment must be left on 24/7 every day of the year so that any devices that rely on an internet connection, like wifi-enabled security cameras, servers, and switches, continue to operate and ensure that our customers have continuous service whenever they require. Infrastructure equipment, like the router needed for their service, needs to be left on all year so we can remotely maintain and update the equipment with essential security patches.

What did we find? We have deduced the energy use for each type of connectivity service RM provides and converted that to a carbon dioxide equivalent using the country conversion factors. For example:

  • Our 100/100Mbps and 100/1Gb services use the same amount of energy, around 572 kWh per year. This equates to 0.11 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.

  • 1Gbps leased line service uses 1161.04 kWh, producing the equivalent of 0.23 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year.

We are committed to behaving sustainably. Our school broadband tree planting initiative is a simple and effective way to reduce the impact of carbon emissions. We advocate a technology-rich environment but also believe we must take active steps to protect our world for future generations of learners.

Every school needs reliable broadband, here's how to choose sustainability too

School broadband with roots in sustainability

Educating pupils for the world in which they will live is your main priority, and at RM we are committed to enriching the lives of learners through technology. Like you, we care about pupils, their growth, their future, and the world they will inhabit. We have been supporting schools for 50 years with technology solutions and recognise that getting the right balance is important. We all need to do our bit to nurture our world to ensure our children can flourish. You can read our company-wide carbon reduction plan by following the link in the ‘Policy’ section at the foot of this page.

We all have a role to play in securing our future world. By choosing RM for your school broadband, you select a partner taking active steps now towards a more sustainable world.

To find out more about our reliable and fast broadband services contact us.

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