Carbon offsetting has become one of the new corporate greening trends. Companies from Dell through to M&S are using this as part of their corporate responsibility agenda. Various organisations exist to operate this policy of carbon offsetting on the company’s behalf; e.g. carbonfootprint.com.
A number of groups have and still are researching and advising on this policy initiative. One such organisation based in Woking, UK is The Climate Group, headed up by Doctor Steve Howard who has a very impressive CV. The following is quoted from their website;
Why does offsetting help?
Since the projects which generate the carbon offsets reduce GHG emissions would not occur without the investment provided by the sale of the credits, all the emission reductions are new and additional to what would have happened otherwise. This means that use of voluntary offsets lead to lower global levels of GHGs and so help prevent dangerous climate change. Beyond this, investments in emission projects help spread the use and understanding of low carbon technologies and other climate change solutions as well as bringing a range of other economic, social and environmental benefits.
Is offsetting as good as reducing one’s own emissions?
Offsetting should not be seen as a long-term alternative to reducing emissions at source through (for example) buying green electricity and locally produced goods, reducing motorized travel and use of energy efficient appliances. However, many of these options are simply not practical or too expensive on the short-term, so compensating unavoidable emissions through offsets is a good way to reduce global emissions and individual or organisation’s carbon footprint until other low carbon solutions become more accessible. The ideal strategy will involve a mix of both emissions reductions at source and use of offsets.
More FAQ on offsetting from The Climate Group here.