Why Carbon Offsetting is Just One Part of The Solution 

By Madeline Petrow on Apr 23, 2020

Carbon Offsetting has been an increasingly popular strategy to tackle climate change.  In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted outlining an international plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Since then, Carbon trading and offsetting have played a key role in the challenge to hit emissions targets and stay below a 1.5C rise in global temperature. 

However, while carbon offset projects can have powerful social and environmental impact, they are not a magic solution for climate change. Carbon offsetting is just one key element of a wider strategy to reduce our carbon footprint and create a sustainable future for our planet, and its inhabitants.  

Carbon Offsetting does not replace the need to reduce our carbon footprint

There is a moral hazard with offsetting that is important to address.  If we offset our emissions: do we really have to change our high-emission behaviour? The answer is yes.

Carbon offsetting is not a free pass, but a tool which can help us tackle current emissions while we work towards achieving more sustainable practices.

For companies and governments, this means innovating beyond business as usual, and working to develop green infrastructure, clean energy and environmental regulations.  For individuals, we can watch our transport, travel and meat consumption and make green choices where we can.  Carbon offsetting isn’t the solution on its own, but an important part of the current strategy to achieve sustainable change.

The Carbon Offsetting Market must be ethically and transparently regulated

Not all Carbon Offsetting projects are created equal. The carbon offsetting market is relatively young, and there are controversies over the validity of the carbon reduction claims of many projects. That is why a transparent and regulated market is so important.  Third party certifications by trusted institutions are needed to ensure that carbon offsets are “additional” and are effectively reducing or sequestering carbon emissions.  The Kyoto Protocol established Clean Development Mechanisms which validate and measure projects for their efficacy.  (All our Carbon Offsetting projects are certified CDMs and can be viewed here). 

Carbon Offsetting is a step in the right direction. 

“We can no longer refuse to face up to the climate crisis...embrace the transformation that will bring us to a carbon-neutral world by 2050”. - ”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres

We are advocates of supporting verified carbon offset projects around the world.  From a sustainable development perspective, they offer many opportunities to effectively and sustainably work towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. However they don’t absolve us of responsibility to take care of our planet. They are, however, a great step in the right direction and we’re proud to be able to empower individuals and businesses to take control of their carbon footprint. 


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