What are Carbon Offsets?
What are carbon offsets?
Carbon offsets represent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions made by projects - like a renewable energy or reforestation project to balance out emissions you cannot reduce cost-effectively. The atmosphere does not care where greenhouse gases are emitted or where they are prevented, what is important is that the total amount of emissions is reduced to prevent climate change.
Carbon offsets are measured and sold in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Buying one carbon offset ensures there will be one less metric ton of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere contributing to climate change. An example of a forestry carbon offset would be a tree planting project that often includes enabling local communities to generate additional sources of income beyond subsistence farming to prevent deforestation. Carbon offsets offer a fast and credible way for a company to achieve significant carbon reductions as well as often providing additional sustainability benefits, including employment, community development and environmental protection.
Carbon offsets must meet essential quality criteria to be verified to globally accepted standards, including additionality (the reduction would not have happened without financial support from offsetting), that it will be retired from the carbon market so it cannot be double counted, that it is permanent (it delivers the reduction it states long term) and that it will not cause leakage (that a reduction in one area does not cause an increase in another).
What is the value to your company of offsetting its carbon emissions?
In a world of growing demand for environmentally friendly products and services, organizations that can demonstrate a clear and credible environmental commitment will establish competitive advantage.
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and many other leading scientific experts agree that carbon emissions must be reduced by 80% (against a baseline of 1990 levels) before 2050 to avoid catastrophic global warming. For businesses to achieve such a target through internal reductions alone would require drastic changes in infrastructure that are not financially viable short-medium term. Carbon offsets enable businesses to immediately reduce emissions in a significant yet cost effective way, and can be used alongside internal efficiency measures to take responsibility for the environmental impact of a company’s actions.
By offsetting the emissions that can’t be reduced through internal change, a company can reduce its impact on the environment and help finance important projects that would not otherwise be possible.
How are carbon offsets guaranteed?
There are a number of standards, verification processes and registries in place to ensure the credibility of carbon offsets, including Climate Action Registry (CAR), Gold Standard, Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). These standards have specific requirements to ensure carbon reductions are real, measurable, permanent and additional, i.e. they would not have happened without support from companies like you. The CarbonNeutral Company also has its own quality assurance scheme to further guarantee any carbon offsets our clients support.
Does carbon offsetting provide a solution to climate change?
Carbon offsetting is one part of a bigger solution to prevent climate change, and best practice is to incorporate them as part of an overall carbon management program. used alongside ‘internal’ reductions, carbon offsets allow for a zero carbon emissions target – and can be achieved cost-effectively and immediately.
The CarbonNeutral Company has sourced more than eight million metric tons of carbon from 240 projects across 30 countries to help our clients reduce their impact on the environment. You can view carbon offsets from the US and South America, or see the complete range of all carbon offsets via our global site. Please note, our global site will open in a new window so you can easily return to this website designed especially for our US and Canadian customers.
To find out more about our experience and why we’re the chosen partner of hundreds of companies committed to reducing their carbon footprint, call (646)-367-5800.