By WONNE Afronelly
Take a breather!
Imagine a world where every individual, firm, company, corporate body, and governmental agency can reduce their carbon footprint no matter the business type!
Wondering what carbon footprint is?
Carbon credits were devised as a market-oriented mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A simple concept: if you burn a large amount of fossil fuels (drive a car, take a plane flight, turn on the lights), you can pay a company to take action that prevents an equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from getting into the atmosphere. The upshot is that your flight is now carbon-neutral, and you've avoided causing the environmental damage that could've come from those extra emissions.
In the packaging industry, for example, the carbon footprint of packaging material is the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases emitted over the life cycle of that product or service. This includes all greenhouse gases generated in the manufacture of the raw materials, fabrication of the packaging system, transport of materials and finishing methods, the used phase, including the end-of-life disposal of the products. These carbon footprints are often included in the analysis of the more extensive product system that uses the packaging. Still, it can also be seen as a distinct environmental performance metric that can be calculated and optimized separately.
What is a carbon offset?
A carbon offset is a credit for greenhouse gas reductions achieved by one party that can be purchased and used to compensate (offset) the emissions of another party. Carbon offsets are typically measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalents (CO2e). Basically, carbon offsets, which started a little over a decade ago, allow companies or individuals to make financial contributions to projects that help reduce CO2 emissions. The projects (Things like planting a tree or investing in wind energy) often encourage new, sustainable energy initiatives in an effort to balance out the damage to the planet. Carbon Offset schemes are bought and sold through several online retailers, trading platforms, and international brokers.
Types of Carbon Offset
Carbon offset schemes help to balance out carbon footprints, allowing individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world. Most Carbon Offset projects are based in developing countries and commonly designed to reduce future emissions.
Some examples of clean energy technologies that carbon credits support are:
- Planting of trees to soak up CO2 directly from the air
- Capturing methane gas at landfill sites,
- REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation)
- Distributing efficient cooking stoves
- Giving access to clean water
Moreso, there are many types of activities that can generate carbon offsets. Renewable energy such as wind farms, installation of solar panels, small hydro-electric, geothermal, and biomass energy can all create carbon offsets by displacing fossil fuels.
Benefits of Carbon Offset
Carbon offsets usually directly support community-driven projects that protect and restore critical forests around the world. These forests, in turn, conserve biodiversity, sustain livelihoods for millions of people, help communities around the world build resilience to climate change, absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and help mitigate climate change globally.
Carbon offsetting is a good management practice that helps organizations:
- Establish emissions reduction target
- Switch to cleaner methods of transportation
- Design sustainable products
- Install low carbon energy
- Make processes more energy efficient
- Have a workable carbon reduction strategy in place
- Promote lasting behavioral change with clients and employees
- Improve reputation and brand value of the organization
- Increase business – ability to introduce new products and services
- Differentiate from competitors in the same industry
- Deliver social and environmental impacts within the location of operation and beyond
- Meets broader sustainability and social development targets that improve business
- Enhance Eco-centric Corporate Social Responsibility.
So are you an ardent environment sustainability advocate but worry about your unavoidable carbon footprints when you travel?
No more worries! Just invest more in carbon offset projects. They are practical and effective ways to address climate change and encourage the growth of renewable energy. By supporting carbon offset, you contribute to a more sustainable future by counterbalancing your personal carbon emissions, aka: "carbon footprint."
Remember, "Environmental hazards are not just the government problem but the people problem."
So go on, be a proud sustainability advocate!