Even the most efficient, responsible organizations struggle to fully eliminate all emissions. Offsets trade these unavoidable emissions for reductions made elsewhere. For example, carbon offsets are used to reduce business travel emissions. The offsets may be purchased from a dairy farm that is capturing methane, or from a forestry project sequestering carbon in trees.
Offsets represent one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) that has been eliminated or sequestered from the atmosphere. When organizations purchase offsets in a 1:1 ratio to counterbalance their emissions, carbon neutrality may be achieved.
Carbon offsets are valuable because of their ability to remove more dangerous GHGs, such as methane, from the atmosphere. These GHGs have a global warming potential far greater than that of carbon dioxide. As a result, offsets have a direct impact on reducing an organization’s carbon footprint.