Voluntary offsetting | 3 questions everyone should ask themselves before purchasing a carbon credit
The importance of Carbon Offsetting
As people become more aware of their own impact on the Earth’s climate, more and more individuals have made the decision to take responsibility for their own emissions.
Generally, taking responsibility for our own emissions entails living a more sustainable lifestyle, as well as cutting back on activities and purchases which contribute to an unnecessarily large carbon footprint.
Unfortunately, the reality is that cutting back on activities and purchases is not always a viable alternative for the average person. This is due to the fact that often many of our day to day activities, such as our jobs or traveling, will continue generating emissions despite our best efforts.
Fortunately, the ever-increasing availability of carbon credits allows for individuals to compensate for emissions in a more direct and quantifiable manner than ever before, allowing for carbon offsetting which would otherwise not be achievable through regular lifestyle changes.
Offsetting for emissions is easier than it has ever been before, which also means that it's more important than ever before to ask yourself the right questions in order to get the most value out of your carbon offsetting investment.
Below, we list 3 key questions everyone engaging in carbon offset should ask themselves before purchasing a carbon credit:
1. Why am I choosing to offset my emissions?
The answer to this question might seem obvious, after all, what other reason is there to mitigate emissions other than to reduce our own carbon footprint?
In practice, the answer is usually not so straightforward.
Choosing to mitigate your own emissions is a deeply personal decision. No one is forcing you to invest in our climate, yet, you have taken it upon yourself to seek out ways in which you can take responsibility for your own emissions.
It is the personal nature of the decision which makes defining the impact you hope your investment to achieve all that more important. Having a clear picture of your desired outcome will help you:
Define which strategy to pursue
Choose the right carbon credit
Maximize the impact of your carbon mitigation investment
2. What is the best carbon credit for me?
Not all carbon credits are born equal.
Understanding this is essential when seeking to engage in carbon offset, as your choice of carbon credit will directly influence the impact your investment will have on our world.
In essence, a carbon credit can be defined as representing the mitigation of one ton of CO2, and these carbon credits are generated by projects which capture, remove, or prevent emissions as a result of their operations.
Some projects, in addition to having a positive impact on our climate, invest in social initiatives that aim to foster both community and environment.
If you want to see an example of one of these high impact projects and read more about how the right carbon credit can benefit society, check out the Nicaforest reforestation project at Gold Standard!
Different projects have different underlying objectives, and while this may initially feel confusing, it also presents an opportunity to choose the area of influence of your carbon mitigation investment.
In short, the difference in pricing can be attributed to the impact each credit has beyond the removal of one ton of CO2 from the atmosphere.
3. What can I do to reduce my carbon footprint?
Asking yourself what you can do to minimize your carbon footprint before purchasing a carbon credit can be a fantastic way to develop a more sustainable lifestyle.
Similarly, developing a more sustainable lifestyle will mean fewer emissions, which in turn reduces the cost of engaging in carbon mitigation.
The purchase of carbon credits should not replace a sustainable lifestyle, but rather work alongside it.
Short on ideas? Try some of these:
Turn down the heat
Avoid driving when possible
Remember to turn off the lights
Choose energy-efficient light bulbs & appliances
Small changes to your everyday life can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and pave the path for more sustainable living… all while saving you money in the long run!
Voluntary carbon offsetting and the path forward
The rise of industry and technology has been instrumental in our development as a modern society, but it has come at a cost to our environment and climate.
Asking yourself the questions outlined above is essential in order to ensure that your personal choice to take responsibility for emissions achieves maximum impact for climate, community, and environment.
Voluntary offsetting is at its core a personal choice, and it is this choice, be it in regards to the intention of your climate investment or your choice of carbon credit, that will drive the future of environmental consciousness for generations to come.
Check out the Nicaforest page at Gold Standard to learn more about how the impact of the right carbon credit can stretch far beyond climate.
Do you have questions about the Nicaforest program or do you want to know more about how to compensate for CO2 emissions by purchasing Gold Standard carbon quotas?