Buy Emissions Offset
Once you have calculated your carbon footprint and taken actions to reduce emission, you will still have emissions that you cannot avoid. One way to effectively eliminate your entire carbon footprint is to “offset” your remaining emissions by paying someone else to voluntarily eliminate their emissions. These emission reductions will offset the GHGs that you continue to emit.
Carbon offsets or GHG offsets are produced and sold by organizations that invest in and implement GHG emission reduction projects. They are often referred to as emission reduction units. Once the project proponent (the organization implementing the project) has calculated the GHG emission reductions, in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) that the project will create., the GHG emission reductions are verified by a third party organization before they can be acquired by other organizations wishing to apply them as offsets for their own GHG emissions.
Eligible GHG emission reduction projects include non-emitting electricity generation projects, such as hydroelectric projects or biogas reactors or projects such as no-till agriculture which reduce GHYG emissions over regular farming practices. Organizations should choose the source of GHG offsets carefully as there is an ongoing debate in civil society about the value of some of GHG offsets generated in voluntary markets. Most program authorities have a system to ensure that GHG emission reductions have been correctly and consistently quantified and many require some form of third party verification of calculated GHG emission reductions and removals.
A project report that is consistent with a recognised standard such as ISO 14064-2 and has had the project verified in accordance with a standard such as ISO 14064-3 is likely to be reporting GHG emissions reductions and removals which are accurate and consistent.
An important consideration is that you must fully disclose and be transparent about the data sources, calculations, and assumptions made so that it is very clear as to how the carbon footprint was calculated. If you decide to make a GHG assertion and claim of carbon neutrality, CSA’s CleanStart™ Registry requires that this claim be third-party verified as well as disclosure and proof that the emission offsets have been:
- Registered on a public registry;
- Verified by a third-party, and;
- Serialized and retired. (Retired means that the emission reductions/removals have been taken out of circulation.)