Carbon offsets & carbon credits explained
Completely reducing your carbon footprint isn’t easy, and while we must all avoid and reduce emissions where we can, there will always be some that remain unavoidable. But what is the best way to take climate action?
The two main options for dealing with the carbon emissions you can’t reduce or avoid are Carbon Offsets and carbon offset credits, also known as Carbon Credits. Both these options are used to compensate for carbon dioxide (or other greenhouse gases) being emitted.
- Carbon Credits are derived from already completed projects. The completed project is audited and a ‘credit’ is produced as a tradeable asset.
- Carbon Offsets are used to fund future projects, which are monitored and measured to ensure the carbon commitment of the project is delivered.
Greenfleet provides carbon offsets by planting new native, biodiverse forests to capture the carbon emissions that our supporters offset. Greenfleet offsets cannot be traded or on-sold.
There are two primary ways that these initiatives work to compensate for carbon being emitted:
- By mitigating (reducing) carbon that is being produced and measuring the ‘avoided’ carbon
- By sequestering (drawing down) the existing CO2-e already released into the atmosphere and measuring the captured carbon.
While both methods can play a role in managing carbon emissions, the truth is that not all climate action has the same positive impact on our environment.
Climate actions that mitigate generally focus on the amount of carbon that has been avoided by introducing a more sustainable option. This includes things like building solar or wind farms as renewable power sources or providing more fuel-efficient cook-stoves to families in developing countries. These examples result in a credit being created for the amount of carbon that might have been emitted if these initiatives had not been introduced.
Conversely, actions that sequester carbon are drawing down on the carbon already in the atmosphere and helping to reduce the impacts of climate change.
Greenfleet offsets do this through the planting of native forests. We use the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM), developed by CSIRO and approved by the Australian Department of the Environment, to measure the carbon uptake of every forest we plant. Greenfleet forests are also legally protected for up 100 years so by offsetting your carbon with Greenfleet, you are taking climate action now that will continue to benefit generations to come.
The nature of carbon credits mean they can often be a cheaper option, but reducing the amount of carbon we emit simply isn’t enough. We all need to work to tackle climate change by drawing down on the carbon that has already been released. Carbon sequestration is key to this as it actively captures carbon emissions from the atmosphere to undo the damage that has led to the current climate crisis.
As well as drawing down on the carbon being stored in the atmosphere, Greenfleet forests provide many other environmental benefits. Restoring biodiversity, building habitat for native wildlife, improving the quality of soils and protecting the unique ecosystems found in Australia and New Zealand are all ways that Greenfleet forests do a lot more than capture carbon.
Additionally, by planting land that has been previously cleared or degraded, Greenfleet delivers ecosystem restoration. This is different to carbon credits derived from conservation initiatives, where a credit can be generated from the protection of an existing forest. Greenfleet agrees we need to conserve our old-growth forests, but our offsets are designed to extend native forests that will sequester even more carbon as they grow.
Climate action can take many forms, and all can play a part in helping protect our planet. However, it is important that we are reducing our impact as well as working to undo the damage already caused to the Earth and our atmosphere.
By offsetting your emissions with Greenfleet you are acting against climate change by helping us grow forests and climate hope for many generations to come. To take climate action with Greenfleet, offset today.