The world is facing a climate crisis, and there are two ways we can make a difference to our carbon footprint: OFFSETTING and REDUCING. It is very important to understand the difference between these two terms to effectively make a difference.
Offsetting is the process of compensating for carbon emissions by investing in projects that capture or avoid emissions elsewhere. This can be done through buying carbon credits that directly invest in the projects themselves.
Reducing emissions is the process of making changes to your lifestyle or business in order to lower the amount of carbon you produce. For example, driving less or using less energy at home.
What are carbon credits and how do carbon credits reduce emissions?
Carbon credits are a unit of measurement for carbon dioxide emissions. One carbon credit is equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide.
Carbon credits are usually generated from projects that either help the ‘avoidance’ of emissions, or help ‘capture’ carbon from the atmosphere.
Types of Offsetting:
There are two main types of offsetting: voluntary and mandatory. Voluntary offsetting is when individuals or businesses choose to offset their emissions, usually by buying carbon credits. Mandatory offsetting is when governments require businesses or industries to offset their emissions.
When choosing an offset project, it is important to make sure that it is verified and effective. Verified projects have been verified by a third party to ensure that they are actually reducing emissions.
If you are looking to offset your carbon emissions, there are many different projects to choose from.
At Carbon Neutral Britain we support a variety of projects including renewable projects and nature-based projects. Renewable projects such as Wind, Solar, Hydro, and Cook Stove Projects, with a strong focus on offset projects that provide lasting social and economic benefits in developing countries around the world. Examples of the most recently supported projects include wind and solar projects in Chile, India and the Philippines, Hydro Power in Fiji and Brazil, and Cook Stove Projects in Kenya.
Carbon Neutral Britain also supports nature-based projects such as Reforestation, Deforestation Prevention and Woodland Management Projects. A strong emphasis is placed on having a positive impact on the local wildlife, ecology and biodiversity. Examples of the most recently supported projects include preventing deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest, reforestation after wildfires in Australia, as well as woodland planting in the UK.
Verified Corporate Standards:
It is very important to select offsetting projects that are verified to the highest corporate standards.
All the projects at Carbon Neutral Britain are certified to the highest standards through either the Verra - Verified Carbon Standard (VCS), the Gold Standard - Voluntary Emission Reductions (VER) or the United Nations - Certified Emission Reductions (CER) programmes.
As the three largest, and most regulated offsetting standards in the world - these standards ensure all measurements, and tonnes of CO₂e are accurate, and verified.
Dive deeper into these standards by checking out a previous blog.
“We have offset all our companies’ emissions by planting 1000 trees this month!” this statement is false.
One major misconception that people have is that planting trees today will immediately offset your carbon footprint. The truth is, it takes years for trees to mature and begin sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. So, while planting trees is a great way to offset carbon emissions in the long run, it won't have an immediate impact on the carbon emissions happening now. Verified offsetting measures the amount of carbon already captured from trees – and these are sold as carbon credits for businesses or individuals to use.
Let’s make a difference:
It is important to remember that everyone can make a difference. Even small changes can add up to a big impact when everyone plays their part. There are many easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint, such as recycling, using public transport, and avoiding single-use plastics. By making simple changes to our lifestyles, we can all help to reduce emissions and combat climate change.
Reducing emissions is the most effective way to combat climate change. However, reducing an individuals or businesses carbon footprint takes time and, in most cases, there are limitations to how much you as an individual or business can reduce your carbon emissions as there are unavoidable emissions you cannot reduce. By offsetting you are taking the proactive approach to environmental action and by becoming carbon neutral and “cancelling out” your carbon footprint you are making a difference today.