There are many angles to consider when investing in carbon offset projects. Not least, a responsible organization needs to know that the carbon savings are genuine and properly certified; that the offset provider is reliable; and that offsetting will make a positive contribution to their bottom line.
But there’s another decision that you may not have considered yet: should you buy carbon offsets from a pre-existing project or build your own custom offsets?
What’s The Difference Between Buying and Building?
Buying carbon offsets is a great way to show your company’s commitment to tackling climate change. When you’ve cut your onsite greenhouse gas emissions as far as economically possible, offsetting allows you to reduce your carbon footprint further still and meet your corporate sustainability goals.
Most businesses buy carbon offsets from projects that are already up and running. These projects have been financed and built, and the carbon offsets are sold year-by-year as the emissions are reduced or avoided.
There’s nothing wrong with this method – these offsets are fully certified by third parties, help project investors recover their investment and support the market for carbon projects – and it’s ideal for organizations that need just a few tons of ‘off-the-shelf’ carbon offsets.
But the most forward-thinking businesses want to create offsets that go beyond simple carbon mitigation.
By building a portfolio of projects that address specific needs, in locations that matter most to your company, you can provide the investment to make projects happen and have a real impact on communities.
What Are The Benefits of Building an Offset Project?
Developing your own custom offset initiative helps you achieve your own corporate goals as well as meeting the needs of the host community.
When you choose to develop and fund a project, you can maximize the co-benefits such as supporting small businesses in your supply chain, or strengthening communities in countries that supply your raw materials.
By helping your small-scale suppliers to become more competitive and financially sustainable, you can reduce the risk of failure and thereby improve your own supply chain resilience.
And, in regions where you manufacture or source goods or raw materials, by enabling communities to gain access to clean water, better education and sustainable employment, you can fulfill your corporate social responsibility goals in a way that is meaningful to your stakeholders and enhances your reputation as a sustainability leader.
What Types of Projects Can I Build?
The type of project you build should resonate with your brand and your customers, creating a positive story to tell about your organization’s social, environmental and economic engagement.
Alongside carbon reductions, projects can deliver a wide range of measurable benefits such as renewable energy, safe water, clean air, ecosystem restoration, soil health, smallholder farmer development, wildlife and habitat protection and carbon sequestration.
These examples of progressive offset projects show how your investment can be directly relevant to your corporate goals and values:
- Xanterra is funding community-scale regenerative agriculture projects that strengthen ranching communities, reduce scope 3 emissions, preserve biodiversity, and supply Xanterra and others with sustainable beef.
- Aveda’s carbon offset investments support clean energy projects in countries in Aveda’s value chain, including the long-term development of new wind energy in the U.S.
- Clif Bar is advancing its sustainability priorities and reducing carbon emissions by improving the well-being of the smallholder farmers that grow key ingredients.
Where Do I Start?
NativeEnergy can help you identify, structure and develop a unique project that directly aligns with your company’s strategies and values and then, with your investment, make it happen. Find out more about NativeEnergy’s Help Build projects here.