Carbon Offsetting: A genuine effort or a way to ease guilt without real change?

Posted by The Team at CXtec on May 23, 2024 12:56:11 AM

As the world pivots toward a green future, many organizations are making active efforts with carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting...

As the world pivots toward a green future, many organizations are making active efforts with carbon offsetting. Carbon offsetting mitigates the ecological footprint in a small but significant way. As organizations’ operations create a larger footprint, companies can trade carbon credits to minimize their emissions.

According to recent studies, one carbon unit represents one metric ton of CO2 that has been reduced or removed from the atmosphere as part of a project.

Carbon offsetting goes way further than just reducing your ecological footprint. In fact, its main purpose is to build your organization toward net-zero emissions in the future. While some organizations do it to comply with industry regulations, others do it voluntarily to contribute to a greener and sustainable future.

Compliance carbon markets are government-regulated, and businesses can reduce emissions or purchase more carbon credits. However, voluntary initiatives are part of a company's CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) objectives.

The carbon offsetting process involves four steps:

  • Measure Carbon Footprint: Carbon impact is measured by Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, making it even more imperative for organizations to gauge where they stand. As organizations assess their present levels of carbon impact, this process can help standardize organization-wide operations or activities with benchmarked methods and tools.
  • Reduce Emissions: Reduce emissions by moving to renewable energy sources or changing consumption patterns.
  • Offset Process: As part of the offsetting process, companies must purchase carbon credits from certified projects that neutralize impact. They can choose projects that align with their goals and represent desired benefits.
  • Reporting: Organizations then work backwards to track the effect of these projects and build on insights for better carbon usage in the future.

Importance of Carbon Offsetting for Organizations

In 2020, organizations offset about 95 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Ironically, this sample constitutes only about 0.25 percent of the actual total of -38 billion metric tons emitted in 2019. The urgency is clear.

Although, it's no secret that the carbon offset market is growing. By 2050, global investment in this sector will reach $250 billion. Something tangible is still needed.

It is important for organizations to do their part to achieve sustainability objectives for future generations through carbon offsetting.

Carbon offsetting helps organizations:

  • Boost Environmental/Social Benefits: Carbon offsetting offers the opportunity to build positive carbon impact in a more tangible manner. How this turns out depends on the organization’s own strategies; whether it is improving air quality, taking steps to reverse climate change, or making a solid ecosystem. Aside from the ecological impact, these projects could strengthen social and economic benefits.
  • Deliver on Promise of Social Responsibility: Thanks to the concept of carbon offsetting, organizations are now responsible for their ecological impact to strengthen their brand image and value.
  • Extend Support for Sustainability: Carbon offsetting opens avenues for enterprises to increase their funding for sustainability projects and stimulate innovation and cooperation between different industrial entities; whether between governments, NGOs, or the private sector.
  • Align with International Benchmarks: With carbon offsetting, companies can position with internationally set benchmarked standards, such as the Paris Agreement and SustainableDevelopment Goals that aim for a net zero emissions world by 2050.

Yet, there are limitations to carbon offsetting, such as perceived greenwashing, inadequate reporting, and doubtful authority that could affect its usefulness. Address these limitations for an approach that makes sense to organizations.

Emerging Carbon Offsetting Alternatives

While carbon offsetting is a strategy that organizations must adopt, underlying budget restraints and complexities may require alternatives that make unique sense to each business.

  • Direct Reduction: Organizations can measure the impact from operational activities and employ strategies to reduce emissions, such as switching to a renewable source of energy, experimenting with low-carbon technologies, or changing consumption patterns.
  • Boost Sustainable Practices Internally: Simple sustainability initiatives, like opting for refurbished hardware over buying a new hardware as well as moving to renewable energy sources to power business activities, are a sure way to building small but significant progress.

Carbon Offsetting: Charting Course

While carbon offsetting may not be the answer to all environmental-related problems, it could be part of the solution. How organizations adapt to the challenge, build on existing practices, and manage stakeholder expectations could decide its relevance in the future.

Based on current trends, carbon offsetting could evolve into offsets around nature-based solutions, blue carbon, or more sophisticated emissions technologies.

As stewards of positive environmental impact, CXtec helps companies make a difference with refurbished, pre-owned hardware and cutting-edge aftermarket services.

Learn more about CXtec today!