Decarbonization

What is carbon offset & best carbon offsetting solutions

December 5, 2022

In a world dominated by the fear of the climate crisis, the effect of carbon offsetting can be understood as one that ceases an emission-causing activity or compensates accordingly. Carbon offset primarily focuses on the reduction or removal of carbon dioxide or GHG emissions to compensate for harmful emissions made in another location or process. Primarily, there are two key ways to effectively begin the process of carbon offsetting: calculating and categorizing emissions, and reducing emissions.

OVERVIEW

  • What is Carbon Offsetting?
  • The Importance of Carbon Offsetting
  • How to Effectively Start Engaging in Carbon Offsetting
  • Is Carbon Offsetting the Way to Go?

There are three categories or ‘Scopes’ that GHG emissions can be segregated as. By calculating and identifying their emissions in accordance with these scopes, companies can decide which steps to take to reduce their carbon footprint and understand how their operations influence the global climate crisis.

Use our platform RE Wave to start carbon offsetting processes for your organization

WHAT IS CARBON OFFSETTING?

Very often terms like carbon offsetting, carbon zero, and carbon-neutral are mistakenly used interchangeably. However, the verified carbon offsetting standard primarily focuses on the reduction or removal of carbon dioxide or GHG emissions to compensate in some way for harmful emissions made at another location or through another procedure. 

People and organizations can achieve carbon offsetting solutions either by minimizing the GHG emissions produced through operational decisions, recycling, or even by increasing their carbon storage. This typically refers to the conscious decision to restore land or green cover by planting trees and maintaining their care. Many governments across the globe also offer business ventures a carbon offset credit to mark their success in reducing one metric tonne of GHG. companies then use these credits as a way to display their motivation towards a net climate benefit. 

With the  climate crisis rapidly catching up to us, the effect of carbon offsetting can be perceived as our best first step.

THE IMPORTANCE OF CARBON OFFSETTING, IN THE LARGER SCHEME OF THINGS

While this isn’t necessarily the solution to facing decades of emissions, it is a step forward. It is considered by many a convenient and cost-effective manner in which to limit their net emission generation. However, ultimately, it is a few steps behind the direct reduction of emissions created in the first place. One could perceive carbon offsetting as the next best thing to carbon neutrality, as most companies and industries struggle to go to carbon zero. 

Moreover, with the limited benefit being reaped from the carbon offsetting credits, many international environmental bodies have advocated for the alteration of these credits and what they might indicate. There is a high possibility that these credits may be scrapped entirely, or instead be replaced by the company’s display of their dedication to solving the climate crisis through charitable contributions to either research or impact teams across the world. 

HOW TO EFFECTIVELY START ENGAGING IN CARBON OFFSETTING

CALCULATE AND CATEGORIZE EMISSIONS

There are three categories or ‘Scopes’ that GHG emissions can be segregated as. Each Scope has specific protocols on how to be dealt with organizations and businesses. Briefly, they are: 

  • Scope 1 emissions: those that are direct emissions from actions, operations, and sources that are directly under the control of the company. 
  • Scope 2 emissions: those that are typically indirect and the sources are usually electricity, steam, heating, and cooling machinery that a business purchases and uses. 
  • Scope 3 emissions: are those that consist of indirect emissions that are generated by the company’s supply and value chain. 

Learn more about scope 2 and scope 3 emissions in our specific knowledge hub articles.

By calculating and identifying their emissions, companies can decide to take steps to offset carbon footprint and understand how their operations influence the global climate crisis. Many federal policies require businesses to limit their emission generation under a specific set unit. These policies allow for businesses that stray from their report to be fined.

REDUCE EMISSIONS 

Next to offsetting, businesses and industries can also benefit from looking within and implementing changes that point at emission reduction. This could take the form of encouraging green transport like carpooling, cycling, or using public transport. On a larger scale, companies could commit to recycling their by-products and investing in renewable sources of energy such as hydro or solar power. Many individuals are turning to a more environmentally cleaner diet; the production of meat and milk requires a lot of non-renewable energy, as well as generates emissions. 

Some of the simplest ways in which to contribute to carbon offsetting for individuals and organizations alike include:

  • Forestry
  • Agriculture 
  • Transport
  • Water recycling
  • Waste management 

It is no surprise that beyond the lack of motivation for companies to reduce their emissions, some sections of GHG emissions are also challenging to reduce. For these, arises the solution of carbon offsetting. This could include the standard carbon offsetting, or making use of the emissions, carbon dioxide, and GHGs generated for other operations. Alternatively, many GHGs can also be absorbed or removed through procedures. The permanence of these efforts may make companies eligible for the carbon credits.

Some of the international certifications for a carbon offset include:

  • Climate Action Reserve
  • Plan Vivo
  • Gold Standard

IS CARBON OFFSETTING THE WAY TO GO?

CO2 offsetting is a good and important solution, and can only work towards making a healthier ecosystem if partnered to reach carbon neutrality. This can be achieved once the sustainable and permanent commitment is displayed through all aspects of a business. 

Are you ready to start carbon offsetting processes? At Think RE, we help you to identify and implement the best long term solution for your organization. Contact us for guidance and to facilitate a trustworthy connection with your ideal partner through Power Purchase Agreements (PPA). On our renewable energy platform RE Wave you can upload a profile for free and start offsetting your carbon footprint.

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