Carbon Offsets
What are carbon offsets? They are financial investments in projects that directly reduce energy consumption or create renewable energy.
In 2007, half of Vancity Credit Union’s carbon offsets went to local projects. This not only offset the credit union’s own carbon dioxide emissions, but also helped the local economy. That is definitely a win-win solution.
Vancity’s website lists
3 steps to achieving carbon neutrality. In the steps the abbreviation CO2e is used. This means “carbon dioxide equivalent” and is a way to include all greenhouse gases and their global warming potential compared to that of carbon dioxide. Thus, when we see a carbon footprint measured in CO2e, we know that all greenhouse gas emissions have been included in the calculation. Vancity’s three steps are:
1. “Calculate your CO2e footprint by adding up the emissions your organization creates. At Vancity, we used the World Resources Institute's greenhouse gas protocol, and the ISO 14064 standard.
2. Reduce your CO2e emissions by making operational changes to reduce the amount of CO2e you create.
3. Offset what you can't reduce by investing in high quality offsets to balance your remaining emissions.”
I think step 1 is the most difficult and also the most important. We need to be able to calculate our current footprint in order to reduce it and to measure our progress toward carbon neutrality. Stay tuned for more information on this in my next blog.