Offsetting - extending sustainability to secure greater value
Offsetting – extending sustainability to secure greater value
Offsetting on it’s own is not a route to meet market expectations of a robust sustainability strategy, but is the important third phase.
Carbon offsetting is a fast and efficient tool to reduce greenhouse gases. And, by participating in this established procedure, individuals, companies and other organizations can set an example.
For sustainability strategies where the goal is to zero out all emissions, or just for particular product or service lines, investing in projects, typically in developing countries, delivers mitigation and sustainability to the communities they serve. Therefore, offsetting develops a sustainability policy further through mitigating the unavoidable emissions and underpinning socio-economic benefits as well as contributing to bio-diversity protection.
Quality of carbon credits is very important for developing a strong, sustainable governance strategy - the four main features to quality are:
Additionality: The project only exists because of the investment made from offsetting opportunities, and is beyond business as usual.
Permanence: delivering offsetting over a sustained period of time, and the project does not erode.
Leakage: the emissions saved through the project do not get transferred through the initial bad practice being moved elsewhere.
Avoidance of Double Counting: carbon credits are purchased and retired from the registries: they cannot be sold again.
Working with verified quality standards is vital to ensure delivery of integrity, transparency and quality. This assurance is confirmed when purchasing carbon credits through CMG; where we have projects available, amongst others, covering: renewable energy, forestry, energy efficiency, waste management and methane avoidance.
Popular standards are Gold Standard and Voluntary Carbon Standard. Additionally, where messages of socio-economic or bio-diversity are important - fitting within the sustainability strategy and business model - include standards such as Climate Community and Bio-diversity.
Voluntary Carbon Units follow the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), a high quality standard created by the Climate Group, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), and the Emissions Trade Organisation. Credits generated under the VCS are based on UNFCCC or Climate Action Reserve recognized methodologies and ensure additionality of the project. At present 48% of all voluntary compensations in the market are developed against VCS. VCUs are frequently preferred by organisations that want to compensate for large quantities of greenhouse gases. The VCS is a practical standard under which projects can be developed within two years. The certificates are therefore available in larger quantities on the carbon market.
Like VCUs, Gold Standard Verified Emission Reductions ensure greenhouse gas reduction in accordance with the rules of the UNFCCC. Furthermore, social, ecological, and economic aspects are recognised, guaranteeing additional criteria are fulfilled that bring benefit to local communities beyond the CO2 reduction. The Swiss based Gold Standard Foundation was formed by WWF and Greenpeace, and promotes only renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Gold Standard VERs are frequently purchased by organisations that value the importance of sustainability in addition to CO2 savings. Due to the higher price of Gold Standard VERs, when compared with VCUs, usually such buyers choose this standard when offsetting a smaller quantity of greenhouse gases.
Climate, Community & Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) is, at present, the highest quality standard for forest projects - be it reforestation, retaining forest, or controlled sustainable use. Besides the actual carbon mitigation, factors such as the conservation of biodiversity, the effects on water, soil, and the communities are also examined. This standard represents more than just quality CO2 savings, and is therefore often referred to in connection with other quality standards like the VCS.
Offsetting with CMG, in partnership with South Pole, is the safe and provable route to offsetting.
South Pole Carbon Asset Management is an international company specializing in reducing greenhouse gases and developing carbon strategies. In 2011, was named Best Project Developer in Environmental Finance’s Voluntary Carbon Market Survey. With offices and operations in over 20 countries, the company enables the implementation and operation of high-quality emission reduction projects that address climate change and sustainable development.