Let’s face facts: For most individuals and businesses in the world today, it’s impossible not to have a carbon footprint. Even if we make all the best choices, from choosing lightweight and recyclable packaging to installing solar panels, our day-to-day practices are going to result in the release of greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere. Non-renewable energy will likely be used to ship your ingredients and your finished products, you may fly in a plane to meet with new distributors, you’ll surely hire employees who have to drive to work in gas-burning cars. Directly reducing your company’s footprint is the best thing for the planet, but there are inevitable limits to how much you can change how you do business. To mitigate your impact further, you can help to reduce global warming through offsets.
A carbon offset represents a reduction of one metric tonne of CO2 in the atmosphere (or an equivalent amount of other greenhouse gases) by a project that reduces more carbon than it emits. A carbon offset credit, certified by an organization like Verra, American Carbon Registry, or The Gold Standard, allows an entity which has created that kind of reduction to sell it to another entity that wants to compensate for the greenhouse gases it’s adding to the atmosphere. Another kind of offset, known as a renewable energy certificate, measures an equivalent reduction in emissions through the development of non-fossil fuel energy sources like solar or wind.
Some experts worry that the offset market allows businesses to throw money at the problem of climate change without making significant, and ultimately vital, shifts in their practices. At ClimateHound, we believe the problem of global warming is so urgent that action has to happen on all fronts at once. As you consider how to move toward a more sustainable business model at a pace that allows your company to continue thriving, you can also fund projects and programs that will help to reduce carbon in the atmosphere ASAP. Over the next series of posts, we’ll share more about the offsets that ClimateHound has targeted for maximum impact, both immediately and far into the future.