If you are considering purchasing carbon offsets there are a variety of aspects to take into consideration. The choice for carbon offsets can impact your company’s overall Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standing. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of carbon offsets and what to take into consideration when considering buying carbon credits.

Things to consider prior to buying carbon credits

Business owners should first look at the reasons that drives them to buy carbon credits. If your company is determined to please its customers or other stakeholders, and fulfill their needs and meet their expectations, then aligning yourself with carbon offset programs that don’t just neutralize emissions, but also provide positive benefits for society as a whole will be beneficial.

This will publicly reveal that your company is not just focusing on its environmental impact as a matter of course, but also sees it as an opportunity to improve quality of life through the support of community initiatives. For instance, buying carbon credits through Malawi Cookstoves scheme. Malawi Cookstoves scheme not only seeks to reduce emissions by reducing the amount of biomass combusted into fuel and enhancing the living standards as the exposure to harmful pollutants that are produced by cooking stoves that are not properly designed can be reduced.

But, if your company isn’t so much concerned with the social benefits that come with the offset project it chooses and is focused solely on achieving carbon neutral certification, then choosing to buy accredited offsets at the lowest price is better.

Investments to offset

The amount of carbon emissions your company needs to offset, the investment required can be substantial even if you purchase the least expensive carbon offsets. You’ll need to find an appropriate rate of “buy-in” to ensure that you are able to purchase the right amount of carbon credits in order to reduce your carbon emissions. It is important to establish your long-term budget, with the goal of remaining carbon-neutral, since you’ll have to purchase offsets each year to offset your emissions each year.

It is crucial that the budget you have allocated for carbon offsets doesn’t affect negatively or hinder the net zero strategy of your business. When you are looking to purchase carbon offsets, it is important to ensure that there is substantial investment in low carbon technologies operations, operational adjustment as well as value chain engagement and so on. The idea of carbon neutrality must not be a reason to stop your goal of becoming net zero, but instead make use of it as a means to be accountable for your carbon emissions while you attempt to completely eliminate these emissions.

The advantages and disadvantages of carbon offset

While carbon offset can provide companies with a quick and easy method to reduce their carbon emission, it also comes with many possible risks that companies should be aware.

Greenwashing

There is a possibility that the decision to buy carbon offsets could be interpreted as deceiving an actual fact. Your company isn’t taking the necessary steps to cut down on its carbon emissions. In essence, you’re hiring someone else to assume the responsibility for their own emissions. However, this does little to tackle the issue at hand as we are creating too many greenhouse gases. While it is true that buying carbon offsets aren’t going to stop global warming and reduce overall emissions to the atmosphere, offsets are designed to neutralize the emissions and is more significant than if there was the action was not undertaken at all.

Accreditation and verification

If you are purchasing carbon offsets it is a matter of to whether the chosen offset scheme actually delivers the promised results. For instance, could the scheme prove that the carbon savings won’t be realized without the plan? Are the conservation of rainforests in one area not causing spreading of deforestation into the next region? What is the consequence if the scheme that you purchase credits from is affected by destructive wildfires? What is the likelihood of offsets being purchased twice?

You can handle this by ensuring that you are investing in approved offsetting scheme by certain third-party organizations. For instance carbon credits purchased through Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard American Carbon Registry, Gold Standard for example, have been verified through an ISO certified third-party verification company. Accredited carbon credits purchased from schemes like these will dramatically reduce the risk of buying offsets from a low-quality project that could be subject to examination. Learn more at carbon.credit.

A chance to tackle larger social and environmental issues

Completing the projects that are selected to invest in could provide the possibility of engaging with more social and environmental spheres as well as removal or reduction of greenhouse gases. For instance, afforestation programs can contribute to reducing the erosion of soils, biodiversity, and conservation of wildlife through the creation of habitat as well as the creation of GDP through the large employment opportunities that result from transforming an area of barrenness into a forests. It is the Verified Carbon Standard offers a range of deforestation and tree planting prevention strategies that are available in Brazil as well as Kenya.

One of the most prominent examples of social benefits that offset schemes is drinking water purification projects in countries that are less developed economically. While they can generate carbon reductions, this scheme can also greatly improve the standard of living of the communities by offering them improved access to and use of water that is safe for drinking. It is the Gold Standard offers such schemes in nations like Rwanda and Uganda in which access to drinking water that is safe is a pressing issue.

A chance to practice setting

Carbon offset is a way to look farther afield in order to neutralize businesses’ carbon emissions, the term carbon offset is an investment by the business in order to reduce its emissions projects within its supply chain.

If, for instance, your company purchases products from a range of agricultural suppliers, other companies may work with these suppliers to establish trees-planting programs, agroforestry and so on. On their websites. Supporting and implementing these schemes within your supply chain boasts the benefit of neutralising your emissions within the realms of your operational/financial influence. It is viewed with appreciation by customers and stakeholders, because you’re taking a conscious effort to reduce carbon emissions in your own supply chain.

The verdict

Carbon offsets purchased through purchase can bring immense benefits when they are used in conjunction with an overall environmental plan which aims at achieving net zero. The path to net zero is an arduous undertaking and it isn’t something that can be achieved in a single day. Carbon offsets can be a way to aid in tackling the climate crisis in the near term but they shouldn’t be considered as the only solution to the problem. The most focused efforts and the overall goal should be centered around the reduction of all emissions generated by a business operation and carbon offsets serving as a support method until you achieve the goal.