Resource sustainability and efficiency are already key things to the resiliency of a business. There is good evidence that suggests that carbon offset projects are becoming crucial to the environment. Climate-related policy changes and litigation are now on the rise globally. The involvement of the business sector in lowering global emissions cannot be avoided. This means that businesses need to account for their carbon footprint. And businesses that become eco-conscious can have a reputational advantage and future security.
But there are concerns when it comes to carbon offsets being utilized as a tool for greenwashing. Remember that greenwashing refers to a company that masks its unethical activities with traded carbon credits. Carbon offsetting projects can help environmental and social projects. And, there are benefits that can go beyond the initial reduction in CO2. So what is carbon offsetting? In this article, you will learn about the various types of carbon offset projects.
How Carbon Offsetting Projects Work
Every ton of emissions lowered by an environmental project can create one carbon credit or carbon offset. A company can either purchase the credits to lower its carbon footprint or invest in these projects directly.
You should note that you can trade carbon credits on the market, though it tends to be controversial in how easy businesses or individuals can get them. But the concept is the same; businesses are investing in green projects so that they can balance their carbon emissions.
Sustainable business strategies, clean energy usage, and energy efficiency can be effective in lowering your company’s carbon emissions. There are a variety of scopes of greenhouse gas emissions that your business needs to consider.
The first scope concerns the direct emissions from business operations like company cars or factories. The second scope is the indirect emissions from business operations like purchasing electricity produced by fossil fuels. The last scope is the indirect emissions from business supply chains like business travel, raw material extraction, and shipping. It is sometimes hard to completely get rid of carbon emissions using mitigation methods. This is why carbon offsetting is so important.
You need to take steps to lower your carbon footprint before you decide to go for carbon offsets. You should not use a carbon credit to purchase your business’ clean conscience or even create an image of sustainability for your customers. Carbon offsetting is an important tool, and when utilized to supplement your company’s mitigation efforts, it can create a genuine resilient and sustainable foundation.
Types Of Carbon Offset Projects
One of the carbon offset projects is associated with forestry and conservation. It’s worth mentioning that reforestation and conservation are now quite popular offset projects. Credit is created based on either the carbon that is not released via protecting old trees or the carbon captured by new trees. These projects are taking place across the globe, from growing forests in the UK to rewilding the rainforests in Brazil to replanting mangroves in Madagascar.
While a forestry project may not be the cheapest offset option, it can usually offer many benefits besides the carbon credits it provides. Protecting wildlife, social heritage, and ecosystems is important for companies to offset their carbon emissions as part of their corporate social responsibility.
There is still room for improvement in forestry offset. It was hard in the past to know the amount of carbon that was being lowered through forestry projects. Thankfully, there are new methods of sustainable reforestation and emerging technologies that have significantly improved the calculation of benefits.
Renewable energy offsets also assist in maintaining or building mainly hydro, wind, or solar sites across the globe. When you invest in these projects, your company can create jobs, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, improve the amount of renewable energy on the national grid, and enhance the sector’s global growth.
For example, in Senegal, there is the Bokhol Solar Power Plant. You should note that this project is considered to be the largest in West Africa and provides at least 160,000 people with renewable energy. Also, it saves the Senegalese government $5 million a year. The profits realized from selling carbon credits are usually invested back into local community projects.
You should remember that a community project usually helps to introduce energy-efficient technologies or methods to undeveloped communities across the globe. There are various potential benefits when it comes to these projects that go beyond carbon credits. A project like this can help to make whole regions more sustainable and offer independence and empowerment to lift local communities out of poverty. Therefore, the projects that used to be philanthropic can now offer businesses direct benefits, such as carbon credits.
For instance, there is the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project that is in Ethiopia. This female-led project gives clean water to local communities by fixing and funding the long-term maintenance of boreholes. You may be wondering what this has to do with carbon emissions. Well, this means that families don’t need to burn fuel to heat water, which can protect forests, reduce indoor smoke pollution, and prevent carbon emissions. Aside from the health and environmental benefits, this project is managed by female committees who offer work to women.
There is also the Darfur Sudan Cookstove Project that replaced traditional cooking methods, such as charcoal and burning wood, usually inside the houses, with low smoke stoves in Sudan. This project is designed to lower the damaging health effects as well as emissions of indoor smoke. Also, the project intends to reduce the impacts of deforestation. The good thing is that the project employs girls and women in the region. This helps to empower girls and women, who can now spend less time gathering firewood and cooking.
Lastly, there is also a waste-to-energy project that usually involves trapping methane, which can be converted into electricity. In most cases, this may mean capturing landfill gas or, even in smaller villages, agricultural or human waste. Remember that waste-to-energy projects can affect communities just like clean water or efficient stoves can.
These are some of the offset projects you should know about. It is important for companies to understand that there are many benefits to these projects beyond the carbon credits they provide. Protecting wildlife, social heritage, and ecosystems is important for companies to offset their carbon emissions as part of their corporate social responsibility.