Are all offsets equal?
The short answer is no.
Each project has their own unique way to reduce, remove or avoid carbon emissions, as well as their own associated social and economic benefits. Including the funding/ provision of local education, access to clean water, gender equality and sexual health education, etc.
These projects can be grouped into four categories:
Forestry and Conservation: Reforestation, forest and land protection projects.
Renewable Energy: All renewable energy projects such as solar power, hydro power, wind power, geothermal energy as well as any new renewable power source we may find in the future.
Community Projects: All projects that introduce energy-saving, more productive methods and technologies to underdeveloped communities around the world. An example is a cookstove project in Sudan. This project introduces low-smoke cookstoves to reduce cooking emissions as well as cooking time for women, and simultaneously employs them for other occupations).
Waste-to-energy: All projects that capture methane (another greenhouse gas - GHG) from landfill, human and agricultural waste and turn them into energy (i.e biodigesters project in Vietnam which trains locals to build and maintain biogas plants, reducing methane emissions, clearing waste, and providing an alternative to deforestation).
I’m interested! BUT how do I choose the right project for my business?
To choose the right project for your business to support, you can consider our three-step decision framework:
Align with your organisational values: The first and arguably most important selection criteria is whether the social benefits of the project align with your own organisational values.
Be mindful of time: Some of your carbon offsets may come from “legacy” projects that have been completed in the past. It has been proven that the offset from outdated projects are significantly less effective than currently active projects. Therefore it’s best practice to support carbon offsetting projects whose reductions date back no more than 2 years.
Price is not everything: Purchasing carbon offsets is like shopping, and it is tempting to source for “value” projects that offset the most emissions for the smallest dollar. More often than not, the “expensive” projects also bring about broader social impacts (e.g. empowering local communities, protecting local biodiversity and providing employment in the development of the project) in the process.
Now you’re informed and armed with a great step-by-step framework to use when selecting the right project to support.
Good for Business. Great for the Planet.