What is being carbon neutral?
Can buying offsets meet all my environmental responsibilities?
Can I offset all my emissions?
Are all offsets created equal?
Is buying offsets charity?
What can offsetting do for me?
Carbon neutral or zero carbon means that you have no net greenhouse gas emissions. Of course every organisation will have some unavoidable emissions so the only way to achieve this is through offsetting. An offset represents your investment in a project that reduces greenhouse gas emissions. Although there are many different greenhouse gases, all with different potencies, carbon dioxide is used as the benchmark and so one offset corresponds to the removal of one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) from the atmosphere. The principle is that if you fund projects by purchasing an equal number of offsets to the number of tonnes CO2e you have emitted, then on balance all those emissions have been removed and your net carbon footprint is nil.
Just like you wouldn’t try to outsource everything you do, offsetting alone is not the answer. The flipside of this is you are equally unable to eliminate all your emissions. So whilst offsets should not be considered as a complete solution in themselves, they play an important role in any integrated emissions strategy. Avoidance and reduction of your own emissions is the cornerstone of this but offsetting has some clear advantages – learn more here.
Yes, but as above we recommend minimising these first.
Decidedly not. They vary by the type of the project they are issued from and the standard according to that project is implemented. All our projects deliver on climate change mitigation but they have a diverse range of other benefits. The trick is in finding the right one for you. We offer a wide range of project types [link to Project types] and only develop projects to the highest standards [link to Project standards], so you can be sure the emission reductions are real – learn more here.
Negative. You are paying for environmental services – including emission reduction – that would not have happened otherwise. This is a strict condition known as additionality. Value is maximised for all parties since the cost of reducing emissions through the project you are funding should be far less than it would cost you to reduce your own emissions and the project owner can overcome otherwise insurmountable barriers to obtain upfront investment. As a provider of carbon finance your cost of emission reduction is therefore lower, whilst you enable the recipient to access technologies and expertise otherwise out-of-reach, which may then scale to even greater effect. See here for further information.
Taking a responsible position with respect to climate change is of course central to offsetting but ancillary reasons for offsetting are as wide and varied as the types of offsets available – with different offsets suitable for different approaches. You may wish to become certified as carbon neutral, or meet some other internal benchmark or public commitment – this could apply to your whole organisation or a product or service line. You may wish to prepare for a future compliance market where emissions will come with costs by learning more about carbon markets and instilling environmental discipline ahead of the curve. You may wish to bolster and illuminate your CSR efforts and environmental reporting.
How about showing sector leadership and setting a shining example for others? Or supporting projects with great stories that accord with your values, differentiate your brand and motivate your staff? And as a bonus, engage more fully with the communities in which you operate, build productive relationships and improve their livelihoods? Maybe you aren’t fully decided yet or haven’t realised all the possibilities – talk to us to get a better idea of the potential of offsetting or learn about making it relevant to your organisation here.
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