We made our first carbon offset purchase in 2007. That was back in a time when the idea of “carbon offsets” wasn’t fully welcomed in the growing sustainability marketplace. Offsets were viewed as a type of mea culpa that large polluters were using to ease their conscious.
Fast forward to 2014 and, boy, times have changed. Climate change as a threat to business is a topic of conversation in every major boardroom and every value chain. The largest companies in the world—players like Walmart, Google, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Disney, and more—are also leading the world in the purchase of renewable energy and offsets. No longer relegated to a “nice-to-have,” carbon offsets are becoming a requisite part of how companies manage their carbon footprint.
Our own growth has followed this trend closely. Our first carbon offsets were purchased from a landfill gas project and it took us several years to even sell them. However, since that time, we’ve purchased offsets from projects around the world, including the U.S., India, Brazil, Turkey, Canada, Kenya, Thailand, Argentina, and Zambia. These offsets have come from a number of different carbon offset technologies: landfill gas utilization and destruction, improved forest management, avoided deforestation, wastewater treatment, fuel switching, renewable energy, and organic waste composting, just to name a few.
Take a look at these extraordinary numbers: as of 2014, we’ve retired on behalf of our clients almost 660,000 metric tonnes of carbon. That’s equivalent to the avoidance of 1,455,049,200 lbs. of carbon dioxide, or, to put it in terms we can all relate to:
• Removing 137,500 passenger vehicles from the road for a year
• Planting 16,923,077 tree seedlings and growing them for ten years
• Avoiding the carbon emissions from consuming 73,991,032 gallons of gasoline
• Preserving 5,096 acres of forest from being deforested for a year
• Not consuming 1,534,883 barrels of foreign oil
• Not burning 2836 railcars worth of coal
• Decommissioning 20% of a coal-fired power plant for a year
(Needless to say, we are incredibly proud of these numbers.)
The growth in the carbon offset market shows no signs of slowing. If anything, recognition of carbon offsets as a reliable, legitimate, and affordable means to help neutralize emissions production is accelerating. Consider, for instance, the new LEED v4 guidelines from the U.S. Green Building Council. Projects can now take advantage of Green-e® Climate certified carbon offsets when seeking points toward the Energy & Atmosphere credit.
There’s also a growing number of widely recognizable companies using carbon offsets as a key component of their carbon mitigation strategy. We invite you to download our new white paper In Pursuit of Net Zero: How Leading Companies are Utilizing Carbon Offsets to learn more about these organization’s carbon initiatives.
Interested in hearing more about how carbon offsets might become part of your approach to managing carbon emissions? Please contact us –we’d love to hear from you.