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Understanding Carbon Offsetting

Carbon offsets are rapidly increasing in importance. Carbon emissions around the world are rising in alarming proportions and offsetting carbon emissions can be a potent technique to aid fight 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 may bring many benefits to the entire environmental. Along with local ecological, social, as well as biodiversity advantages.

What is an Carbon Offset?

A carbon offset permits businesses and individuals to cut down on carbon emissions by buying carbon credits for projects to reduce carbon emissions. These projects can be accomplished through:

Reforestation, e.g. planting new trees
Reduced the need for deforestation. REDD (Reducing emissions caused by 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

Each carbon credit equals the reduction in carbon emissions of one tonnes of CO2.

The Offsetting Process

The process of offsetting your emissions is to obtain carbon credits, then reserving the credits for the organization. To be able to claim carbon credits to credible, it has to be:

Additionally, ensuring that the reduction in carbon emissions is real and lasting
Verified – assuring the authenticity and reliability of the credit
Transparent and provides proof of offset

To satisfy these requirements to meet these criteria, carbon offsets are offered by different verification schemes, such as:

Gold Standard
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)
Plan Vivo
UN Clean Development Mechanism

Learn more over at

How to offset your emissions

The process of offset your carbon begins with understanding the amount of carbon you wish to offset and the logic for offsetting.

If your objective is to make a difference in society, then you might decide to establish an offset budget and match the amount to carbon dioxide equivalent to tonnes and the carbon credits will be redeemed and repurchased. This will be the evidence you require should you decide to prove the amount of carbon that your organization offsets, or on how many trees were put in place, something you might want to include to fill out your year-end CSR report.

This approach, however, does not permit claims of carbon neutrality , or emissions net-zero carbon. This requires the highest degree of confidence.

Net Zero Carbon and Carbon Neutrality

If your aim is to promote claims of carbon neutrality and net zero Carbon projects it is necessary to begin with a thorough analysis. Carbon footprint assessments should conform to recognized footprint standards. The most reputable carbon measurement standards include:

ISO 14067:2018
PAS 2050
World Resources Institute GHG Protocol for Products
EN 1504
EN 15978
UKGBC Net Zero Carbon Framework Definition

We can provide advice on the appropriate carbon measurement standards and also conduct evaluations. The compliance with these standards ensures the necessary level of quality for carbon calculations. The assessment will also have assurances from an external or independent review.

After the carbon content is established, at the level of assurance that is appropriate the carbon credits may be purchased and then retired on your behalf. Retirement of a carbon credit assures that nobody else will be able to purchase the credit.

What are the financial and Societal advantages of offsets?

The Gold Standard, one of the major carbon verification and registry schemes has conducted research on the larger advantages that carbon credits can bring. Their research suggests that there are also economic benefits associated with carbon credits and they can contribute to a variety of UN sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which have benefits for wellbeing, biodiversity, and also employment.

Their study shows that a reduction in carbon emissions of one tonne of CO2, as a result of Gold Standard, Gold Standard, has a greater financial benefit that includes:

Biogas = $465
Filters for water equal $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 price of offsets varies dramatically in the markets of based on supply and demand. As such, prices is subject to alter at any time. As an approximate guideline carbon credits are obtained from offset schemes that have been verified that cost lower than PS5 ($/EUR) one tonne of CO2. Projects that fall in this low-end category are usually renewable energy projects located in Asia and could be older in their vintages. It is not advised to use offset credits only generated by renewable sources. Other offset projects can provide higher value and offer greater benefits.

There’s a lot more options in the PS8-15 range ((USD / EUR) 1 tonnes CO2. Within this price range , it is feasible to be able to select the location or country where offsets are made and also the types of projects, such as renewable energy, forestry, cookstoves…etc. Credits at the higher end tend to have PS15-25 TCO2e or higher.

Some of the most costly offsets are usually ones based on forests which are popular and offer a variety of other advantages.

How Much Carbon Do I need to offset?

It is best to establish this through an assessment of carbon. To provide general guidelines, consider the carbon emissions from different activities:

Average territorial emissions of 1 person in the UK equals 6.5 tonnes of CO2
1 person in the USA equals 16.5 tonnes of CO2
1 person living in the EU equals 6.4 tonnes of CO2
The return flight is departing from 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 or 1.0 tonnes CO2e/m2 GOA
The construction of a 1,000 square m2 building is between 500 and 1,000 tonnes of CO2
A 10,000 m2 building equals 5,000 to 10,000 tonnes of CO2
Office space energy consumption for 100 employees equals 50-100 tonnes CO2

These numbers should be considered an approximate guidelines only.