What are Carbon Offsets?

Carbon offsets are a mechanism used to compensate for the emissions of greenhouse gases, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), by supporting projects or activities that reduce or remove an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The concept behind carbon offsets is to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint, where the emissions produced are balanced out by the reduction or removal of an equivalent amount of emissions elsewhere.

Typically, the first step for organisations or individuals is to first calculate the amount of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases they have emitted due to their activities, such as travel, energy consumption, or manufacturing processes. Usually this is done with carbon footprint software. Once emissions are known, businesses and/or individuals can purchase carbon offsets from quality carbon offset projects or initiatives that aim to reduce or remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Carbon offset projects can take various forms, including renewable energy, reforestation and afforestation, methane capture, energy efficiency, carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), cookstove projects and more.

There are, in fact, over 100 different types of carbon credits on the market.