The total quantity of carbon dioxide and other GHGs that a person or organization’s actions produce is their “carbon foot print.” It covers both direct and indirect emissions. A reporting entity’s source is the source of a direct emission. One example is the emission of carbon dioxide by the burning of fossil fuels within a delivery vehicle that belongs to the firm.
As a business, you can “neutralize” or reduce your carbon footprint by investing in global climate change mitigation programs through carbon offsets. A company that emits CO2, can buy a carbon offset that will pay for a project that lowers greenhouse gas emissions. This has two advantages: it slows down climate change and provides funding to initiatives aimed at lowering emissions.
Process of working of carbon offsets
When a company purchases a carbon offset, they are effectively sponsoring a project to reduce climate change. Renewable energy, energy efficiency, and forestry initiatives are some common types of carbon offset projects. However, other projects, like waste management programs and methane collection initiatives, may also be eligible. After a company buys a carbon offset, the money is given to the project developer
Also known as “carbon credit provider.” After using those funds to finance the project, the project developer issues the company with carbon credits. The company can then “offset” its own emissions by using those carbon credits, which absolves it of responsibility for CO2 releases to the atmosphere. If they choose, they can also trade or sell the carbon credits to other companies.
Carbon offset and climate change
By minimizing CO2 release into the atmosphere, carbon offsets have a significant impact on climate change. Carbon offsets lessen global warming and contribute to the preservation of coming generations. Despite lessening the effects of climate change, carbon offsets are not ideal. Instead of encouraging polluters to stop creating GHGs, offsets urge them to give money to other organizations that are doing so.
For instance, certain initiatives—like those involving renewable energy—are more effective than others at storing CO2 or avoiding its release into the atmosphere altogether. Other kinds of carbon offset programs might only be able to modestly lower emissions. This implies that while they still offer advantages to companies looking to “neutralize” their impact, they are less effective overall at reducing climate change.
Examples of Carbon Offset Projects
There are various types of carbon offset projects. For instance, renewable energy projects are expensive to set up but are excellent for lowering emissions. However, energy efficiency initiatives may not have as much of an impact on emissions reductions as renewable energy initiatives. Forestry projects, includes tree plantation where logging activities or other activity has led to deforestation or other land degradation.
Waste management initiatives assist individuals in composting or recycling their waste rather than disposing of it in landfills. Capturing methane is a method for removing landfill pollutants from the air before they do so. Methane capture assists in lowering CO2 levels. Carbon retirement entails burying CO2 underground to permanently remove it from the atmosphere. Although pricey, this is a long-term fix.
Challenges of carbon offset to reduce carbon foot print
The use of carbon offsets could provide the following difficulties; Tracking the effects of carbon offsets can be challenging. Also it can be difficult to determine the precise reduction in emissions brought on by a single offset project. Some carbon offset initiatives are more successful than others at lowering emissions. Buying carbon offsets is not a substitute for lowering your emissions.
Carbon offset certifications
The voluntary emission reduction certificates, encouraged by Kyoto Protocol certifications are; Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)- By Verra, it emphasizes on quality of greenhouse gas reduction. Gold Standard (GS)- Managed by WWF, in respective to benefits for socio-economic development. Plan Vivo- It provides environmental, social, and economic benefits REDD+ Programme is not a certification but UN program to reduce co2 emissions from deforestation.
How to measure your company’s carbon offseting
To establish a complete and accurate carbon footprint for your company, you must gather data from all sectors. Scope 1 direct, Scope 2 indirect, and all material emissions under Scope 3. Indirect emissions from actions not directly related to the operations of the company comprise scope 3 emissions. Numerous stakeholders and data sources are used while collecting data for Scope 3 emissions.
This can make them more difficult but Scope 3 emissions are crucial. Since they frequently make up a substantial amount of your company’s carbon footprint, up to 90% in some situations. Thus, you may identify hotspot regions to focus on, along with areas with maximum emission reduction opportunities. And then utilize this knowledge to pinpoint potential areas of risk for your company.
Offsetting carbon foot print is simple
To cut carbon emissions, use carbon offset today. Often, it cuts emissions considerably more quickly than you or a single firm can. Offsetting carbon emissions both benefits local communities and the fight against global warming. In many cases, giving underdeveloped communities much-needed jobs, health improvements, reforestation, and social benefits. So calculate your emissions, and start reducing emissions by choosing an offset project.