Why offset your carbon footprint?

In some instances it is most cost-effective to curb emissions by supporting projects that reduce emissions. Credible Carbon has made the process of doing this simple and affordable. The registry only supports projects that reduce emissions and poverty simultaneously in the belief that this is the unavoidable twin challenge in Africa.

Climate change is a serious threat to us all. We have known this for a long time. We have also known that climate change has and is being caused by many of our actions which generate greenhouse gas emissions – especially in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has been working to reduce global carbon emissions since 1997. One of the UNFCCC’s guiding principles is that all countries (and their citizens!) have a shared and differential responsibility to reduce their emissions. This means that we all have to work together to reduce emissions, but the heavier emitters have a greater responsibility.

The carbon market came into being as a mechanism to help heavy emitters, whose emission reduction actions come at a high cost, find lower cost ways to reduce their emissions. This is done through allowing high emitters to reduce their emissions by offsetting them with carbon credits bought from others, with lower emissions and lower costs of emission reduction. Thus the carbon market creates a win-win process – the heavy emitters benefit by reducing the cost of their emission reductions, while the lower emitters get financially rewarded for their emission reduction efforts. This happens at a country level, an individual business level and right down to individual people wishing to reduce their carbon emissions while benefitting low emitters. The main market mechanism to achieve this is called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The CDM is being complemented at a regional and country level by many other, similar market instruments.

Why offset your carbon with Credible Carbon?

In practice the CDM has not been a great success, particularly in the developing countries in Africa. This is because of the high costs of carrying out the CDM validation/verification and registration processes and the long time these take, as well as the low offset prices. These make the CDM unsuited for the smaller emission and more spread-out emission reduction projects found in Africa.

Credible Carbon was created in response to the CDM failure.  A typical carbon project, using the Credible Carbon standard and registry, from start to being ready-to-sell offsets, will cost around ZAR 45 000 (USD 3 000), will take less than a month, and will attract offset prices comparable to global carbon prices of ZAR 50/tCO2(USD 3.3/tCO2) in 2015. In 2015/16 our offset prices have ranged from ZAR 36/tCO2 up to ZAR 120/tCO2.

Who would benefit from offsetting with Credible Carbon?

Businesses

Your firm should consider offsetting its carbon footprint if:

  • It aspires to be sustainable, green, or carbon neutral for reasons such as customer pressure, legal obligations, or altruism
  • It has environmental/poverty alleviating Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies
  • It wishes or is obliged to reduce its local carbon tax liability
  • Its trading partners encourage it to reduce the carbon footprint of its products. This might be done through border adjustment taxes or selection criteria based on carbon footprints

Individuals

You, as a concerned individual, might decide to offset your carbon footprint because:

  • You care about the environment and want to make a difference in some way
  • You wish to reward particular emission reduction projects and their community beneficiaries and at the same time help reduce global carbon emissions through your support
  • It might be important for your professional image

Find out more about benefits

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