Serious corporate net zero strategies will look at every possible way to reduce emissions through efficiency, demand reduction and clean energy sources. But the fact is, although businesses may have a credible roadmap to net zero in place, they won’t get there overnight.
This is where carbon offsetting comes in. Offsetting is where companies invest in external carbon reduction projects as a way of compensating for emissions that they have not yet removed. Projects include for example, funding tree-planting schemes to create natural carbon sinks, or investing in clean energy infrastructure.
For offsets to be considered, they need to ensure environmental integrity, they need to be real, measurable, genuinely additional (i.e., the reductions wouldn’t have occurred without the offset project) and achieve emissions reductions.
Carbon insetting is a similar idea to offsetting, but the crucial difference is that the offsetting happens in an area over which your organisation has some control. For example, while traditional offsetting might involve choosing a renewables project to invest in, carbon insetting might involve setting up your own renewables project onsite. It offers businesses more control and oversight, and makes it easy to verify that a project is truly additional.