As a responsible business organization, you’re already reducing your carbon emissions towards science-based targets. You’re managing your Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and you know you need to offset at least some of your unavoidable Scope 3 emissions to meet your targets.
But how do you identify the best carbon offset provider to achieve the results you need?
Best offset provider… for whom?
For anyone looking for a simple answer – bad news! There is no single ‘best carbon offset provider’; it all depends what you’re looking for. If you have a very small carbon footprint, or you simply need to offset a limited amount to cover travel, you might select a provider based on the cost per offset – after checking their certifications, of course.
But for larger organizations seeking to hit emissions reduction targets and meet broader sustainability goals, there are a number of other criteria to consider when choosing your offset provider.
What do good carbon offsets look like?
First and foremost, carbon offsets must be validated and verified by qualified and accredited third parties. There are a number of national and international carbon offset standards; the offsets you buy should be validated by at least one of them. If they’re not, walk away.
A little historical perspective: tree planting initiatives really began the business of carbon offsetting when carbon reduction measures were just being developed. One of the greatest values that came out of reforestation projects, along with soil and habitat rejuvenation, was awareness. Tree planting projects helped change our thinking about how we can protect our environment through business and industry, and these programs are still very effective in developing countries like Ghana.
However, in the beginning, it was difficult to quantify the benefits gained by reforestation. Over time, our ability to deliver permanent, measurable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions has taken root. Interest has grown towards clean energy and other projects that use your investment to deliver social benefits alongside carbon emissions reductions, which can also benefit local communities by providing clean water, better education, cleaner air or a stronger economy.
For example, NativeEnergy’s Clean Water Campaign will improve the lives of thousands by installing water filters in communities across the world. Improving access to clean water reduces water-borne illnesses and deaths and cuts the time spent collecting firewood and boiling dirty river water, giving families more time to work, study and play. Such life-changing benefits are in addition to reducing the number of trees cut down for firewood.
There are many types of offset projects that can contribute towards your corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability goals – both in developing countries and closer to home – so it’s important to work with a provider that can offer projects that best suit your organization. Choosing projects that demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and resonate with your customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders can bring a real competitive advantage to your brand and/or organization.
Three steps to finding the right provider for you
Step 1: Define your goals. The clearer you can be about your needs and specific targets, the simpler it is to narrow down your choice of offset provider. How much carbon do you expect to offset? What CSR goals do you want to achieve? How can you enhance your brand or company reputation in line with stakeholder expectations?
Step 2: Decide if purchasing carbon offsets will help you achieve your goals. If not, you’ll need to look toward socially progressive and higher impact offsets that simultaneously reduce carbon emissions and improve the quality of life of people who are most threatened by the impacts of climate change.
Step 3: Identify a partner that specializes in socially progressive, high impact carbon offsets. NativeEnergy funds new carbon projects with unique social and environmental benefits: projects that wouldn’t happen without your investment. Working in partnership with your organization, NativeEnergy can match you with a project that turns your sustainability goals into reality by investing in Help Build™ carbon offsets or custom offsets designed around specific project types and in the geographic locations that matter to you, or where you do business.