What do we mean by carbon footprint offsetting?
A carbon offset is a reduction in emissions of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases made in order to compensate for, or to offset an emission made elsewhere
Specifically, this is done through the purchase of carbon credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2 emitted. This financial investment in carbon projects usually occurs in developing countries and has the aim of either:
- capturing and sequestering CO2 from the atmosphere, for example from a carbon sink project such as the protection of existing forestry, or from re-afforestation projects which plant new trees to absorb CO2, or
- preventing the issuance of CO2 or other greenhouse gas emissions at source. These projects include replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, improving waste management or increasing energy efficiency from existing processes.
It is important that the carbon project activity would not have happened without carbon finance investment. Carbon offsets can only come from internationally certified projects which include this key criterion.