Carbon offsets are rapidly increasing in importance. Carbon emissions around the world are rising in alarming proportions and offsets your carbon emissions is an effective technique to aid in fighting global warming and climate change.
The benefits of carbon offsets do not just pertain to carbon emissions reduction, but based on the type of offset project they could bring a variety of advantages to the ecosystem. In addition to local environmental, social as well as biodiversity advantages.
What is what is a Carbon Offset?
A carbon offset permits both companies and individuals to reduce carbon emissions by purchasing carbon credits to offset carbon emissions in projects to reduce carbon emissions. The projects could be as follows:
Reforestation, e.g. planting new trees
Refused deforestation, REDD (Reducing emissions due to Deforestation as well as Forest Degradation)
Improvement and sustainable management of forests and the REDD+
Renewables, for instance wind turbines and solar PV
Retention of gas from landfills, or methane
Clean cookstove projects
Access to clean water
And much more
You can find out more about carbon offsetting at carbon.credit.
Each carbon credit is equal to the reduction in carbon emissions of one tonne of CO2.
The Offsetting Process
The process of offsetting carbon from your carbon emissions requires you to purchase carbon credits, then reserving the credits on behalf of the company. For carbon credits to credible, it has to be:
In addition, you must ensure that the reduction in carbon emissions is real and lasting
Verified – assuring the credibility and quality of the credit
Traceable – transparent and providing proof of offset
To meet these requirements to meet these criteria, carbon offsets are that are available through different verification schemes, such as:
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
UN Clean Development Mechanism
How to offset your emissions
The process of offset carbon emissions begins by knowing how much carbon you wish to offset, and the rationale behind offset.
If your objective is to make a difference in society, you might decide to establish an offset budget, then match it to a certain amount of carbon dioxide in tonnes, and then carbon credits can be purchased and then retired. This will give you the evidence you require should you decide to prove the amount of carbon that your organization offsets, or the number of trees put in place, something you might want to include to fill out your year-end CSR report.
This approach, however, will not allow the claim of carbon neutrality or the concept of net zero carbon. This requires the highest degree of certainty.
Carbon Neutrality , Net Zero Carbon
If your aim is to claim carbon neutrality and net zero Carbon projects The process needs to begin with a comprehensive analysis. Carbon footprint assessments should be conducted in accordance with recognized footprint standards. Standards for carbon measurement that are well-known and respected include:
World Resources Institute GHG Protocol for Products
UKGBC Net Zero Carbon Framework Definition
We can offer advice on appropriate carbon measurement guidelines and conduct the evaluations. The compliance with these standards ensures the necessary level of quality for carbon calculations. The assessment could also be backed by assurance from an external independent review.
After the amount of carbon is established, at the level of assurance that is appropriate the carbon credits may be purchased and then retired by you. Retirement of a carbon credit assures that nobody else is able to purchase the credit.
What are the financial and Societal advantages of offsets?
The Gold Standard, one of the most prominent carbon verification and registry schemes has conducted research on the greater advantages that carbon credits can bring. Their research shows that there are other economic benefits to each carbon credit , and that they are able to contribute to the various UN sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have benefits for wellbeing, biodiversity, as well as employment.
Their study shows that a reduction in carbon emissions by 1 tonne CO2, as a result of using the Gold Standard, has a greater financial benefit that includes:
Biogas = $465
Filters for water cost $118.
Cookstoves = $267
Wind = $11
Afforestation / Reforestation = $177 benefit
The values listed are well over the cost of one carbon credit.
What is the cost of carbon offset credits cost?
The cost of offsets can vary significantly as does the marketplace of one of supply and demand. As such, prices is subject to alter at any moment. As an approximate guideline carbon credits can be purchased from offset schemes with a verified source that cost lower than PS5 (USD / EUR) one tonne of CO2. Projects that fall in this low-end category are typically renewable energy projects located in Asia and could be older-generation projects. It is not advised to only use offset credits that are generated from renewable energy sources. Other offset projects can provide more value and provide greater benefits.
There’s a lot more options within the PS8-15 price range ((USD / EUR) 1 tonnes CO2. Within this price range , it is feasible to choose the location or country where offsets occur in, and also types of projects, such as renewable energy, forestry, cookstoves…etc. The higher-end credits are likely to range from PS15-25 to PS25 tCO2e or higher.
Some of the most costly offsets are usually forest-based credits which are popular and offer a variety of other advantages.
How Much Carbon Do I Have to offset?
This can be established by the carbon assessment. To provide rough guidelines, we will consider the carbon emissions from different activities:
Average emissions for a territorial area from one person in the UK equals 6.5 tonnes of CO2
1 person in the USA is 16.5 tonnes of CO2
1 person living in the EU is 6.4 tonnes of CO2
The return flight is to New York to London, economy = 1.7 tonnes CO2
Business class same flight = 5 tonnes of CO2
Building construction carbon embodied per m2 Gross Interior Area (GIA) is 0.5 up to 1.0 tonnes CO2e/m2 The GIA
The construction of a 1,000 square m2 building equals 500 to 1,000 tonnes of CO2
The construction of a 10,000m2 building = 5,000 – 10,000 tonnes of CO2
Office space energy consumption for 100 employees equals 50-100 tonnes CO2
These numbers are intended to be used as an approximate reference only.