Carbon offsetting pros, cons, and considerations

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If you are considering purchasing offsets for carbon emissions, you must consider a variety of aspects to take into consideration. The choice of purchasing carbon offsets can affect the overall Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standing. In this article, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of carbon offsets as well as the factors to think about when you’re contemplating buying carbon credits.

Things to consider prior to buying carbon credits

Companies should first think about the reasons for their decision to buy carbon credits. If your company is keen to please its customers or other stakeholders, and fulfill their needs by collaborating with carbon offset programs that don’t only neutralize emissions but also bring the benefit of society in general is more beneficial.

It will be clear the fact that your business isn’t solely evaluating its environmental impact and also seeing it as an opportunity to improve the quality of life by the financing of community-based initiatives. For instance, purchasing carbon credits under Malawi Cookstoves scheme. Malawi Cookstoves scheme not only seeks to reduce emission by reducing the volume of biomass that is combusted however it also improves the living standards as the risk of exposure to harmful chemicals caused by poorly-designed cooking stoves is decreased.

If your business is not so concerned about the benefits to society that go along with the offset project it chooses and is primarily focused on achieving a carbon-neutral status, then seeking a carbon credit exchange to purchase accredited offsets at the lowest price is more appropriate.

Investments to offset

The amount of carbon emissions your company needs to offset, the investment required could be significant even if you buy the least expensive carbon offsets. You’ll need to find an adequate amount of “buy-in” to ensure that you are able to buy enough carbon credits in order to reduce your carbon emissions. It is recommended to create your long-term budget, with the goal of remaining carbon neutralsince you’ll be required to purchase offsets each year to offset the year’s emissions.

It is vital that the budget allocated for carbon offsets will not adversely affect the business’s net zero strategy. When you are looking to purchase carbon offsets, it is important to make sure that you have significant investment made in low carbon technologies and operational adjustments and value chain engagement and more. The idea of carbon neutrality shouldn’t be a reason to stop your goal of becoming net zero, but instead utilize it as a way to ensure that you are accountable for your carbon emissions while you attempt to completely eliminate these emissions.

The benefits and cons of carbon offset

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

Greenwashing

There is a chance that the purchase of carbon offsets may be seen as a cover-up for as if your company isn’t actually taking any the necessary steps to cut down on its carbon emissions. In essence, you’re paying another person to take the burden of their own emissions. However, this does nothing to address the real issue as we are emitting too much greenhouse gases. Although purchasing carbon offsets aren’t going to stop global warming and reduce overall emissions to the atmosphere, offsets aim to neutralize the emissions that is much more effective than if there was no action undertaken at all.

Accreditation and verification

If you are purchasing carbon offsets it poses the question as to whether the offset scheme actually delivers on its claims of success. For instance, could the scheme prove that these carbon savings would not occur without the plan? Can rainforest conservation in one area not causing spread of deforestation to another region? What is the consequence if the scheme you’re purchasing credits from is affected by destructive wildfires? What is the likelihood of offsets being used twice?

You can effectively handle this by ensuring that you are investing in approved offset scheme that is backed by specific third-party organizations. For instance carbon credits purchased via Climate Action Reserve, Verified Carbon Standard American Carbon Registry, Gold Standard and others, have been verified through an ISO certified third-party verification company. Accredited carbon credits purchased from schemes like these can dramatically reduce the risk of buying offsets from a low-quality project which is subject to examination.

A chance to tackle larger social and environmental issues

Completing the projects that are selected for investment could offer the possibility of engaging with larger social and environmental issues as well as removal or reduction of greenhouse gases. For instance, afforestation plans are linked to a reduction in the erosion of soils, biodiversity, and conservation of wildlife through the creation of habitat and economic growth by creating huge jobs that are associated with the transformation of the barren landscape into a dense 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 developing countries with lower economic growth. While they can generate carbon reductions, this scheme also significantly improves the living conditions of communitiesby giving them better access to and use of water that is safe for drinking. Gold Standard Gold Standard offers such schemes in nations like Rwanda and Uganda where access to safe drinking water is an issue of urgent importance.

A chance to practice setting

Carbon offset is a way to look farther afield in order to neutralize the company’s emissions, the term carbon insetting 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 various agricultural producers, other businesses could cooperate with these suppliers to establish tree-planting, agroforestry, and so on. and 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. This is seen as a positive thing by both customers and stakeholders since you’re making an effort to offset carbon emissions within your supply chain.

The verdict

Carbon offsets purchased through purchase can bring enormous benefits when integrated into an overall environmental plan that is aimed at reaching net zero. The road to net zero is an arduous undertaking and it isn’t an instant goal. Carbon offsets offer a chance to assist in the fight against the climate problem in the short-term however they should not be taken as the only solution to the problem. The greatest concentration of efforts and aspirations should be centered around the reduction of carbon emissions from businesses activities Carbon offsets serve as a supplementary process until you reach the goal.