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Co-benefits of carbon offsets

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Climate change has now become a top business priority, but other sustainability-related issues can also be at the forefront of an organization’s goals. Co-benefits from carbon-related projects can provide additional value and assist in aligning multiple objectives with the appropriate investment. How do co-benefits work?

What are the benefits of co-benefits?

Co-benefits of the carbon credit exchange provide other benefits that extend beyond the scope of greenhouse emission (GHGs) reduction and avoidance and positively impacting communities and the biodiversity. It is important to remember that not all types of carbon projects provide the same kinds or levels of co-benefits. For example the REDD+ project that aims to safeguard a forest from deforestation can, as a result, generate jobs in the region and preserve biodiversity in the area, whereas an air capture direct (DAC) project could provide a few jobs, however it would not provide greater ecological advantages.

Quality and impact measurement

There are other aspects to consider when investing in carbon credits that have co-benefits, mostly around the quality of the credits and their impact on biodiversity and communities. Some projects are not well planned; just as an offset of poor quality can have a negative effects on the environment, a poorly-designed project that has co-benefits could adversely affect local communities and biodiversity.

Future frameworks may also affect the way co-benefits are analyzed. At present co-benefits are being measured using the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures’ (TCFD) recommendations are being incorporated into the regulations of a variety of financial regulators, such as those that are in place within the US and UK. Should the Task Force for Nature-Related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) was to endorse a similar model and businesses were required to disclose publicly their impact on biodiversity and nature. In the end, companies who invested in carbon offsets that had low co-benefits could be subject to scrutiny from the public and could put their climate claims as well as their brands at risk.

Biodiversity has benefits that are co-beneficial

Monitoring and assessing biodiversity is more challenging than carbon because it requires frequent, thorough information from the ground, which is expensive and time-consuming. But, thanks to our collaboration in the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT) the most reliable source of biodiversity information We have access to crucial biodiversity information that we integrate into carbon project analysis which include:

Diversity of habitat and species
Monitoring tools are in place for the region
information on income diversification , or improved agriculture to lessen the pressure on biodiversity
National and regional threats to biodiversity at the national and regional levels

In a way, you can align with more than just one company’s objectives

The possibility of solving multiple sustainability issues through one carbon project could be hugely beneficial for any business, but it is only possible when the credit is of high quality and meets the requirements set in the proposal. If not, it runs the chance of negatively impacting the biodiversity of people, animals and the environment.

There are many aspects that affect co-benefits as well as the overall quality of carbon credit projects. If you conduct the right due diligence, you have the potential to invest in top-quality natural-based credits that are in line with your company’s net zero goals and can help solve other global problems.