Best companies for carbon offsetting
CSR, evermore important post-Covid
Running a green business is no longer a simple trend. It's become a responsibility. And while it is important for business operations to function in an eco-friendly manner, some business activities will inevitably produce greenhouse gas emissions. This should explain the large surge of carbon offsetting companies in the past few years.
If Corporate Social Responsibility had already played an import role in influencing company stakeholders' decisions pre-Covid-19, it seems the pandemic is only increasing this impact. The world couldn't help but notice the CO₂ emissions downfall as people around the globe confined away from their respective industries. In fact, according to this Financial Times article, the carbon offsetting market has actually taken off post-pandemic. This "reflects a wider commitment to lowering the environmental impact of business operations", aiming to meet the Paris agreement target of keeping global warming below 2°C.
What is Carbon Offsetting and why you should consider it
Carbon compensation initiatives compensate for a company's emissions independently of its efforts to reduce its carbon footprint. These activities involve implementing clean energy technologies (most commonly in developing countries), or purchasing carbon credits from an emissions trading scheme. More often than not, they also involve planting trees to soak up CO₂ directly from the air. As we mention is our article depicting how to make business travel more sustainable, "tree planting can cost as low as €5 to €10 per metric ton of CO₂ captured — equivalent to an increase of less than €1 per ticket per passenger on the average short-haul flight."
A carbon neutral company demonstrates its commitment to climate protection, speaking to environmentally conscious stakeholders, and securing value-based loyalty. In today's world, and as Covid showed people that CO₂ emissions could drop, business success is proving to be increasingly interlinked with eco-responsibility.
As a matter of fact, most big companies are moving towards a carbon neutral future. In September, Facebook and Google followed Microsoft and Apple's footsteps in putting "no excess carbon into the atmosphere" as this The Guardian article puts it. This makes of Amazon the last standing member of the GAFAM, biggest US tech stocks players. Further pushing their commitment, Google retroactively offset all carbon since its creation and Facebook committed to having net-zero emissions as well as have its operations be fully supported by renewable energy.
Top carbon offsetting companies to look into
It is no secret that business travel is one of the main carbon emitting business operations, especially in non-industrial organisations. While some travel platforms have integrated carbon compensation, allowing companies to offset their travel-related carbon emissions during the booking process, you can also choose to opt for a wider offsetting program that covers more than just travel. Keep in mind that employee buy-in is critical, pick an offsetting program that will resonate with your teams.
The following are some carbon offsetting initiatives to consider:
- Climate Care (UK)
Having reached their first 1 million tonnes of CO₂ reductions in 2007, Climate Care has since then deployed over $100 million on projects aiming to create positive social and environmental impact. To put some numbers on their work, Climate Care has cut 43 million tonnes of CO₂, delivered 8 billion litres of safe water and provided 10 million MWh of clean energy. Implementing their projects all over the world, this company is ideal if you're looking to help countries of the global South as part of your program. Their target is to cut 50 million tonnes of CO₂ by 2025.
- Eco-act (France)
EcoAct, consults companies and develops their projects in order to help tham achieve their climate ambitions. Their aim is to deliver sustainable business solution, building towards a low-carbon world. They've been offering decarbonisation strategies for over 15 years, partnering with companies to provide the widest range of best-in-class solutions, and implementing them in the global South. From compliance to Net Zero, they provide a comprehensive set of services and expert industry knowledge.
- Forest Carbon (UK)
Focusing its activity on the UK territory, this carbon offsetting company is a good go-to for companies that adopt a close-to-home offset policy. Having planted over 9.5 million new trees in 172+ new woodlands in the UK since 2006, they are participating in the removal of over 1,900,000 tonnes of CO₂ from the global atmosphere. This results in additional benefits to society, including flood mitigation, river improvement and public access.
To ensure quality, the UK government's Woodland Carbon Code overlooks and certifies their projects.
- atmosfair (Germany)
Offseting unavoidable CO₂ emissions, atmosfair's projects include some that tackle CO₂ reduction, and others that support sustainable development by transferring technology and combatting poverty. 90% of this initiative's projects adhere to the high-quality CDM Gold Standard, which stands amongst the strictest standards for climate protection projects. On atmosfair's website, you'll also find a ressource section including tips on green travel. This might prove helpful for companies that are looking to diminish their carbon footprint, even before offsetting starts.
- First Climate (Germany)
With over 20 years of experience in the field, First Climate provides carbon emissions- and water management services. This company works with both public and private sector organisations to reach their climate and sustainability objectives. Their focus is centered in products and services that relate to carbon neutrality, green energy, water management, green investments, and project development. The projects they lead are mainly based in Germany and Sout-East Asia.
- South Pole (Switzerland)
With a team of 350 experts, South Pole guides companies towards innovative solutions to reach their sustainability goals. This company can help you buy carbon credits if need be, offer renewable energy solutions, offer consultation on your company's sustainability, as well as develop offsetting projects. To date, they have developed 700 projects in 40 countries.
- Carbon Sink (Italy)
Using a climate action loop representing a continuous improvement cycle approach, Carbon Sink helps companies find their most fitting solutions compared to their industry sector peers. This company operates both on the internal level, optimising companies' supply chains (with insetting), or outside them (with offsetting). Their projects are mainly focused in Italy and the global south.
- Promethium Carbon (South Africa)
With projects in North America, Australia, Japan and the global south, this company has been carbon neutral since 2007. It helps its clients by offering them best-practice strategic solutions that guide them to evolve as part of the global green economy. Advising their clients on carbon emissions and climate change, Promethium Carbon acts as a government and international corporations advisor.
Launched at the end of September 2020, The Oxford Principles for Net Zero Aligned Carbon Offsetting aim to help ensure offsetting achieves a net zero society through 4 guidelines, extended in their document:
- Prioritise reducing your own emissions first, ensure the environmental integrity of any offsets used, and disclose how offsets are used
- Shift offsetting towards carbon removal, where offsets directly remove carbon from the atmosphere
- Shift offsetting towards long-lived storage, which removes carbon from the atmosphere permanently or almost permanently
- Support for the development of a market for net zero aligned offsets.
To sum up
If your company plans on moving towards carbon neutrality, or is simply working on becoming more responsible by compensating the emitted carbon on some of its processes, the above offsetting initiatives will be a good place to start your research. Whether you're more interested in implementing close-to-home projects or branch out to the global South, plant trees to eliminate CO₂ from the air or invest in offering renewable energy solutions to communities, these companies have it all.
However, avoid having what many call an Medieval "indulgent" approach to offsetting. In short, implementing compensation initiatives does not absolve companies from rethinking their approaches to diminish their carbon footprint before even offsetting unavoidable emissions. Follow the Oxford principles for an even thorougher approach to transforming your company into an eco-responsible one.