Athletic Greens is a global health company with a mission to empower people to take ownership of their health—and give back to the planet in the process.
The team at AG is a prime example of a growing, mission-driven company taking big, high-leverage action toward a sustainable future. The company welcomed its first Director of Sustainability and Social Responsibility, Anna Edgren, in 2020.
We spoke to Edgren about what Athletic Greens’ (AG’s) sustainability strategy looks like from the inside and why they love working with Pachama.
How is Athletic Greens driving climate action?
Since being founded in 2010, AG had a history of making smart, sustainable decisions when possible. But it wasn’t until Edgren stepped into her role in 2020 that the company set bigger, broader goals for its impact. “The first thing we wanted to do was figure out how to be a carbon-neutral business,” Edgren explains.
AG achieved Climate Neutral certification in 2021. They chose the certification “because it was designed to help a business like ours — a relatively small business with almost 100% scope 3 emissions,” Edgren says. Calculating their carbon footprint was a daunting task; much of the company’s emissions fall into Scope 3, and data collection from a large range of suppliers would pose a key challenge. Climate Neutral provides companies with accessible software that can estimate footprints based on simple financial data and then sharpen the carbon measurement over time. For AG, this meant that they could get started with the data they had and improve supplier data collection along the way.
AG’s second priority was using less plastic, and finding ways to use more recycled content and other environmentally friendly materials. “Our other big focus in the sustainability program is constantly improving our use of materials,” Edgren explains. “Essentially, how can we make our packaging more environmentally friendly while still accomplishing all of our brand goals and making sure everything is easy to use, feels premium, and keeps the product safe?”
When it comes to long-term commitments, AG is now in a position to start setting even broader, more impactful goals. Edgren explains, “We’re exploring what a 2030 or 2050 goal could be and what we’d need to do to realistically achieve that goal.”
Rather than commit first and plan later (as many corporations are being criticized for doing), the AG team is intent on understanding what a long-term commitment, such as a Net Zero or SBTi targets, would mean for the company in practice.
How does nature fit into Athletic Greens’ climate strategy?
In May 2020, Athletic Greens made its first carbon investment through Pachama and has made quarterly investments ever since. The company has invested in a number of projects, including Central Kalimantan Peatlands and the Borneo Peatlands. To date, AG has spent nearly a million dollars on forest carbon projects and has offset its entire 2022 footprint of 61,044 tCO2e with Pachama.
The AG team looked into agriculture-based offsets to align with its product and branding, but research uncovered that these projects could be less cost-effective and come with higher risk. “We believe avoiding deforestation is the most impactful thing we can focus on,” says Edgren. “Our mission is to empower people to take ownership of their health, and the health of our planet is intrinsically tied to that. Pachama is a best-in-class partner, and they make it easy to understand what we’re investing in, and easy to tell a compelling story around what we’re doing together to our team, and our customers.”
Why did they choose Pachama?
The AG team looks to Pachama for quality assurance when investing in nature.
One of the reasons we’ve continuously invested with Pachama is that we feel confident in their analysis of a project. If they’ve evaluated it, it’s low-lift on our side. We feel that it’s well-vetted, and we trust their evaluation.— Anna Edgren
Rather than invest in a portfolio of carbon projects with various providers, the AG team favored the simplicity of investing in fewer projects backed by Pachama’s strong reputation in the carbon market. “We wanted that consistency,” says Edgren. “There’s strength for us as a brand in having that consistency with projects and maintaining our partnership with Pachama.”
The AG team was so happy with the results of its first investment in Pachama-vetted conservation projects that they decided to stick with Pachama as their exclusive partner and keep their trusted nature investments in a single place. Athletic Greens has purchased forest carbon credits to offset their 2021 and 2022 footprint and uphold their Climate Neutral commitment.
Project Spotlight: Central Kalimantan Peatlands
One of the carbon projects AG supports is the Central Kalimantan Peatlands. This avoided deforestation project was once a government-planned palm oil plantation. Today, it is an Orangutan refuge in the carbon-rich peat swamps of Borneo. These swamps can store up to twenty times more carbon than typical forests, offering sanctuary to countless plants and animal species. Beyond its carbon benefits, the project also devotes enormous effort to impactful livelihood programs in surrounding villages, addressing all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.