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Guide to carbon offsetting

What is carbon offsetting?

Carbon offsetting refers to the process of buying and retiring carbon credits (offsets) from planet-friendly initiatives to compensate for the carbon emissions created by an individual, company, product or service. Each offset is measured as one tonne of CO2e.

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Offsets can be purchased from projects from across the globe. Emitting or reducing a tonne of CO2e anywhere in the world has the same effect on the climate. Companies, organisations and individuals who have taken actions to reduce emissions, choose to buy offsets to rebalance the unavoidable emissions created by their activity.

How to offset your carbon emissions

Reducing your emissions, having a plan to reduce further and taking responsibility for your footprint now is the responsible thing to do. Once a company has determined its carbon footprint, taken measures to reduce emissions and put in place a plan to reduce further, it can take responsibility for its current emissions through the process of rebalancing or ‘offsetting’ the amount generated.

Carbon offsetting projects exist and are available to invest in across the globe, from reforestation to the provision of clean cookstoves. Reductions from high quality, sustainable projects allow you to engage with change makers around the world and enable you to communicate confidently about your actions to address your carbon footprint and invest in wider sustainable change.

There are six greenhouse gases that are controlled to affect climate change. Each that is not CO2 is converted to ‘CO2 equivalent’ (CO2e) by its ‘global warming potential’. For example, methane (CH4) is deemed to be 28 times as polluting to the atmosphere as CO2, so one tonne of methane is 28tCO2e.

Carbon offsetting initiatives can be implemented in a number of ways, including:

Compensating for the remaining operational carbon generated once all internal and external processes and activities have been reviewed and reduced.

Mitigating the emissions generated or associated with a product, service, building, project or event.

Taking responsibility for the emissions generated through your supply chain.

Contributing towards corporate social responsibility, environmental and business targets cost effectively.

Developing products and services that are operationally carbon neutral.

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Carbon offsetting in 7 steps

Consider your current emissions and activities and calculate your carbon footprint

Set your targets and start reductions

Re-measure your carbon footprint

Take responsibility for where you are now –

and pay for emission offsets to be retired

Communicate the steps you have taken, inspiring others to follow suit –

employees, investors, customers, competitors and your supply chain.

Start implementing the ongoing strategy to reduce your emissions moving forward

Repeat the above...

Carbon offsetting with Plannet Zero

Start by considering your company’s current carbon footprint. Devise and implement strategies to identify solutions that meet these targets in a cost-effective manner. Reduce emissions wherever you can – take action, reduce risks, improve performance and compensate for unavoidable or hard-to-reduce emissions. Start formulating a plan for ongoing improvement and reduction. 

Offsetting your carbon emissions with Plannet Zero allows your business to take responsibility for emissions that are almost entirely unavoidable. This helps to ensure that all emissions generated within this category are balanced with the procurement of high quality offsets, contributing to many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals; investing in carbon reduction initiatives that are generating positive change for the environment and communities alike. 

In today’s competitive market, and in every sector of business, customers, investors and your staff are looking to you to act responsibly. Your stakeholders are now more than ever choosing to partner with and invest in businesses that fit with their morals and values, and are using this as a deciding factor when determining their commercial relationships. Therefore, it is so important to ensure you are actively reducing or offsetting operational emissions wherever you can.

Plannet Zero marketplace is transparent and offers a seller’s pledge.

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What is the difference between carbon neutral and net zero offsetting?

Carbon offsets come from various types of projects.  Renewable energy can displace fossil fuel power; energy efficiency projects avoid energy being used or wasted. Protecting trees is also valuable. These projects avoid emissions. Other projects remove CO2e from the atmosphere:  tree planting or technological solutions such as carbon capture and storage.

As we move on the journey to net zero, it is possible to become carbon neutral. If an organisation, a product or event is carbon neutral, offsets from projects that avoid emissions can be used. To become net zero, offsets need to come from removal projects. It is appreciated and understood, that the journey to net zero is indeed a journey. Reduction is at the start and net zero the end, and in between passing through carbon neutrality.

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Carbon neutral, positive, net zero and carbon negative

Carbon neutral – Purchasing carbon offsets (avoidance and removal) equal to the carbon emissions of a company, product, service etc.

Carbon positive – Purchasing more carbon offsets (avoidance and removal) than the carbon emissions produced by a company, product service etc. Typically double or triple the carbon footprint.

Net zero – Purchasing carbon removal offsets to remove as many atmospheric emissions as created by the company, product, service etc.

Carbon negative – Purchasing carbon removal offsets to remove more atmospheric emissions than are created by the company, product, service etc, typically double or triple the carbon footprint.

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