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Offsetting - Internal

Carbon offset is the act of reducing or avoiding Green House Gas  (GHG) emissions in one place in order to "offset" GHG emissions occuring elswhere. Because GHGs mix well in the atmosphere, it doesn't matter where that mitigation occurs.

Offsetting all the carbon you create makes you carbon neutral. This concept of becoming carbon neutral is an appealing proposition for both companies and individuals. But, there are troubles with offsets.

To mitigate emissions by offsetting your company project must be additional to on-going business. For example a methane capturing project at a land fill site is best business practice that should be on-going, and in some countries is a mandatory requirement.

Planting one acre of Douglas Fir Trees with a growth expectancy of 50 years takes one tonne of carbon out of the atmosphere.

A genuine offset project is one that:

  • goes beyond legal requirements,
  • is beyond the scope of both normal and best business practices
  • can demonstrate actual carbon / GHG reductions.

One 2,000 mile airplane flight adds one tonne of carbon to the atmosphere. But calculating airflight emissions isn't that staightforward.

You need to be able to demonstrate that any offset projects your organisation undertakes would not have happened as a result of normal or best business practices but are additional.

VALID TESTOffset test
Produced by Environmental Practice at Work Publishing Company Ltd. Copyright 2007