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A Practical Guide To Carbon Offsetting

carbon offsetting can help mitigate the effects of climate change

Climate change has become one of the most pressing issues of our time. What makes the crisis even more concerning is the amount of misinformation being peddled by climate deniers. The impacts of this are twofold: people consider the crisis too big for them to make any real difference, or start to question the science altogether.

The truth is, taking practical action is key to building resilient ecosystems and protecting our communities from the existential climate threat. But, with so much information, it can be difficult to distinguish what’s truly going to have an impact.

Here, leading not-for-profit environmental organisation, Greenfleet breaks down the complex topic of carbon offsetting and the benefits it can have to the environment when done right.

What does ‘carbon neutral’ mean?

An organisation, activity, process, event or building is considered ’carbon neutral’ when its net greenhouse gas emissions are equal to zero. 

To achieve carbon neutral certification, entities must undergo a formal audit to measure all carbon emissions generated by their operations, reduce these where possible, offset any remaining emissions through the purchase of approved carbon credits, and publicly report on carbon neutrality.

This can be a rigorous and costly process. However you can also achieve carbon neutrality without pursuing formal carbon neutral certification by simply reducing where you can and offsetting the rest.

What is carbon offsetting?

Offsetting is a way to counteract the emissions you can’t reduce or avoid – for example, your car, flights, business or household. Did you know, the average amount of carbon emitted by each person in Australia is 23 tonnes of CO2-e*?

What can I offset? 

Carbon offsetting is not a ‘get out of jail free card!’ Reducing your overall emissions is the biggest driver in the prevention of climate change, while offsetting is an effective way to counteract the emissions you can’t avoid.

As an individual, offset: 

  • Vehicles
  • Flights 
  • Household gas and electricity 
  • Your total annual carbon footprint

As a business, offset: 

  • Vehicles 
  • Flights 
  • Events and conferences 
  • E-commerce deliveries 

When choosing to offset, what should I look for?

  1. Do your research and choose environmentally and socially responsible carbon offsets
  2. Consider whether the program focuses on carbon mitigation (reducing emissions) or capturing carbon. TIP: Some carbon offset providers focus on the former via carbon credits, which relate to avoided emissions. Greenfleet’s forests provide a future solution by capturing carbon from the atmosphere.
  3. Ask yourself whether the offsets support local or overseas initiatives? Greenfleet plants local native forests in Australia and New Zealand only.
  4. Consider the environmental co-benefits – trees play a vital role in capturing carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere, converting this into oxygen. Greenfleet plant bio-diverse native forests that help improve water quality, reduce soil erosion and restore the habitats of wildlife, including endangered species 
  5. Look long-term. Greenfleet legally protects native forests for up to 100 years from natural disasters and deforestation

Why is carbon offsetting important? 

Though no silver bullet to global warming, the process of capturing carbon remains the only scalable means we have to counteract the negative impacts of climate change. By focusing on future reforestation projects, Greenfleet aim to plant enough trees in Australia and NZ to offset another 360,000 tonnes of carbon, by the end of 2021.

By supporting Greenfleet, you’re helping to restore our native ecosystem, increase biodiversity and be part of the solution to mitigate climate change. All at time when our communities need it most.

To learn how you can offset with Greenfleet, please visit their website.

Need more inspiration?

From weekend travel guidessustainable brands to shop and farm to table dining; to eco living hacks and wellbeing essentials – This Weekend is a sustainable living guide that’s good for you and the planet.

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