What is carbon offsetting?
14 June 2019
We are an ethical bank. We share our customers’ values and ethics, and we use them to guide how we work as a business.
One of our customers’ main concerns is the environment, what we’re doing to protect it, and how we are working to minimise our impact as a business. That’s why we’re committed to being beyond carbon neutral, and we do this through carbon offsetting.
But this poses the question, what exactly is carbon offsetting? And what benefit does it bring?
What is carbon offsetting?
Carbon offsetting service providers ClimateCare define the process as:
“Offsetting means buying carbon credits equivalent to your carbon impact. This means you compensate for every tonne of CO2 you emit by ensuring there is one tonne less in the atmosphere. And because one unit of CO2 has the same climate impact wherever it is emitted, the benefit is the same wherever it is reduced or avoided too.”
Every organisation has a carbon footprint. As a business, we take steps to reduce ours as much as possible, for example by sourcing our electricity from renewable energy suppliers and reducing our business travel. While we reduced our carbon emissions by 39% last year, unfortunately, it is impossible to reduce our carbon footprint to zero.
We compensate for this by taking full responsibility for our extra carbon emissions. We calculate our annual total carbon emissions, add an additional 10% to address the impact our business activities have had in the past, and convert this into carbon credits.
These credits are used to support environmental projects like the work done by ClimateCare in the Gola Rainforest. This project helps to protect Sierra Leone’s only rainforest national park so that millions of tonnes of carbon can continue to be locked into the plant-life and the earth below it.
Why is carbon offsetting important?
Carbon offsetting is important because it compensates for the environmental impact of our operational carbon dioxide emissions. It’s a vital part of our Ethical Policy commitment to minimise our impact on the environment.
As climate change becomes more of a threat to the planet, we need to do everything we can to protect it. Be that by reducing our reliance on single use plastics, recycling more at home or at work, walking instead of driving or supporting projects that make a difference by protecting areas of biodiversity and the communities that rely on them.
How can you reduce your carbon footprint?
There are plenty of small changes you can make that add up to a big difference, such as;
- Driving less. If you’re travelling a short distance, consider walking instead of using a car
- Eating less meat. Greenhouse gases from agriculture are one of the biggest contributors to climate change
- Use a washing line instead of a tumble drier. It’s far kinder to the environment and can save you money.
If you’re interested in reducing your carbon emissions, a good place to start is by finding out what your current emissions are. To do this, you can use the ClimateCare calculator, which breaks down your carbon emissions and suggests ways you can offset them.