Sama is excited to announce that we have reached a key milestone in our climate action journey: setting science-based carbon reduction targets to achieve by 2030. These targets were developed to align with the scale of reductions required to mitigate the most dramatic impacts of climate change, limiting global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
Our Targets are
- To reduce our absolute Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 50% and
- To reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 50% per employee
Simply put, this milestone moves us from planning to action. It’s the culmination of years of work to accurately and completely measure our carbon footprint, and it lays the foundation for Sama to start making real, measurable change. As we make this transition, we are taking a moment to pause and reflect on why we’re prioritizing this work, what it’s taken to get here, and where we are going next.
Sama commits to reduce its absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 50% and its Scope 3 emissions by 50% per employee by 2030 from baseline year 2022.
Deepening our Impact through Climate Action
For the past 15 years, at Sama we have challenged ourselves to balance business priorities with creating positive impact for customers, our team and communities, and the planet. We recognize that climate change is one of the most pressing challenges our stakeholders face. For example, Kenya, where our largest office is located, recently experienced near-record droughts that led to food insecurity and water shortages. As a Certified B Corp and impact-driven company, it’s our responsibility to support the wellbeing of our stakeholders by contributing to climate solutions.
In addition to helping curb the negative impacts of climate change, research has shown that climate action can increase income, generate jobs, and foster gender equality in vulnerable communities. Our core social impact mission is to connect individuals from underserved backgrounds to jobs that provide living wages and opportunities for career growth. By taking steps to reduce our overall emissions we have the chance to advance our social impact mission by contributing to the creation of new jobs and greater equity.
The Beginning of our Journey: Commitment and Measurement
The first step in our climate action journey was committing to act, signaling to stakeholders that we would do our part to mitigate climate change. Our first commitments — to build our capacity to measure Sama’s carbon output and to monitor how our business decisions affected our direct emissions — were made to our internal stakeholders.
From 2019 to 2021, using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, we measured our Scope 1 emissions (from our direct use of fossil fuels) and Scope 2 emissions (from electricity, heating, and cooling in our offices). Over that period our direct and indirect emissions decreased by 86%. This was due in part to our shift to a largely remote work model during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because we moved to a new office space with much cleaner energy sources in Gulu, Uganda.
While our early measurement gave us insight into the emissions produced most directly by the company, we knew that we were only accounting for part of our carbon output. Like many in the tech industry, we assumed that most of our emissions came from our supply chain. If we were going to meaningfully reduce our carbon footprint, we needed to accurately and completely measure our Scope 3 emissions.
This was no small feat. Our team, with support from departments across the company, analyzed 90 electricity bills, 2,000 travel expense reports, more than 1,300 survey responses detailing employees’ commuting habits, and data from a variety of other sources to get a complete picture of our 2022 carbon emissions. We worked with a third party to ensure that we used the most accurate emissions factors available and accounted for all of our direct, indirect, and upstream carbon-emitting activities. Our 2022 carbon footprint, which we are using as the baseline year for our reduction targets, accounts for more than 90% of our Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 emissions.
Our Latest Milestone: Setting Reduction Targets
With this baseline established, we are ready to make a new, public commitment. In early 2023 we registered with the Science Based Target Initiative, which will validate our targets. Through SBTi and other disclosures, we will regularly and publicly share progress toward our goals.
While the science around what needs to be done is clear, we want to set targets that are both ambitious and achievable. Essentially, we want to envision a path to achieve our targets by 2030. After working through various scenarios and mapping out paths for the company for the next seven years, we set two targets to be measured against 2022 baseline emissions:
- To reduce our absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions by 50% by 2030.
- To reduce our Scope 3 emissions by 50% per employee by 2030.
Setting science-based carbon emissions reduction targets required long-term forecasting, scenario planning, and cross-departmental collaboration. It required input and action from departments ranging from finance and procurement to R&D. Through this work, stakeholders had a chance to learn more about everything that goes into calculating our carbon footprint, and what we need to do to produce fewer emissions. During this work stakeholders from across the company went even further and began recommending strategies for how we could start our drawdown immediately.
Where we’re Headed Next: Taking Action
Now that targets are set, the work toward tangible change begins. With these time-bound targets and an understanding of our complete baseline, we are pursuing a combination of short-term strategies, which include sourcing more renewable energy and being strategic about our cloud usage, and longer-term strategies like working with our supply chain to support their own carbon reduction efforts, and working continuously to get an even more accurate measurement of our carbon footprint. We’re committed to sharing our progress and learnings as we implement these strategies.
Over the coming months and years, we look forward to hitting new milestones on our climate action journey. Through this work we hope to positively impact the planet and continue advancing our core social mission of providing healthier, more prosperous outlooks for our stakeholders.