Individuals and businesses can buy carbon offsets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help prevent climate change. But how do you buy them, and where is the best place to buy from?
Consumers must be able to recognize high-quality, authentic carbon offsets that come from legitimate projects that are permanent and impactful.
Here is everything you need to know about buying carbon offsets. Including five easy places to purchase them online. Also, take advantage of our special discount on eco-friendly products. Do your part to help the environment!
The Best Carbon Offsets
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How to Buy Carbon Offsets – 6 Easy Places to Buy Online
1. Bonneville Environmental Foundation
The Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) makes it easy for individuals and businesses to buy carbon offsets to reduce their carbon footprint.
You can purchase carbon offsets for $10 each from BEF’s high-quality carbon offset portfolio. Each project is independently verified and ranges from reforestation to clean energy and more.
We like that they clearly list their offset projects and give information to verify their claims. Also, they include a user-friendly carbon calculator to help determine how many offsets to by.
Lastly, all of their offsets come from verified projects and are retired on your behalf so they can’t be transferred or re-used in an effort to game the system.
2. United Nations Carbon Offset Platform
The United Nations Carbon Offset Platform allows you to select carbon offset project by region or industry and also includes projects with environmental, social, and economic benefits.
It is a marketplace that lists offset projects from various developers across the globe. The projects are all based in developing countries to aid sustainable development. Each project is overseen by the United Nations and held to strict verification and validation processes.
Carbon offsets can be purchased for as little as $1 on the platform.
3. Native Energy
Native Energy is based in Burlington, VT and sells carbon offsets to individuals and businesses. They are a certified B-Corp and have been in the carbon offset business for over 20 years.
Their carbon offsets start at $18 and are all professionally verified. They have high standards which is why there are only a few projects in their portfolio.
Furthermore, their Help Build™ carbon offsets provide critical funding upfront to create new projects in communities that need them most rather than just supporting projects that are already up and running.
TerraPass is one of the most popular places to buy carbon offsets online. They offer a convenient monthly subscription at just $7.49 per month that offers the equivalent of 1,000 lbs of carbon or 23 trees planted.
The best part is that they specifically monitor for "additionality". Additionally determines whether your carbon offsets truly bring about reductions vs. whether or not the reductions would have happened anyway without your investment. All of TerraPass's carbon offsets are "additional" because they are a critical factor in cleaning the air and reducing emissions.
We love the transparency TerraPass offers and they provide full information into their due diligence processes as well as their accountability measures.
5. Carbon CheckOut
Carbon CheckOut is an interesting way to purchase carbon offsets through normal actions such as shopping online.
It is a plug-in software that lets you make micro-contributions (usually less than a dollar) when you check out. The contribution offsets the carbon footprint of your order with one click.
All of the micro-contributions are pooled into a fund that invests in renewable energy projects (wind and solar) and landfill gas capture (LFG) projects that are additional and verified by a third party.
Nori is another marketplace that sells carbon offsets. They have a beautiful web interface and offer guarantees such as third-party verification and re-verifying projects every 3 years.
However, they don’t have a lot of options for projects and at the time of this writing and are only offering one in their portfolio.
Although, this could be because they only offer projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere rather than just reduction or avoidance offsets.
Also, they don’t tell you the price until you hit “checkout” whereas most other marketplaces are more transparent about the cost upfront.
Regardless, Nori seems to focus on regenerative agriculture and has paid out millions of dollars to farmers which is admirable.
Plus, they have been trusted by large companies such as Shopify and FreshPet and have been featured in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
What are carbon offsets?
Carbon offsets are certificates that individuals and businesses purchase to compensate for their carbon emissions. They represent funds towards projects that sequester carbon dioxide and remove it from the atmosphere. Carbon offsets are useful tools to combat climate change and help the environment.
How do carbon offsets work?
The money used to buy carbon offsets funds projects that fight climate change. One carbon offset credit represents one metric ton of carbon dioxide.
When you buy a carbon offset credit, you reduce your emissions somewhere else. The money that you use to pay for the offset funds a project that sequesters carbon (e.g., conserving forests, wetlands, and grasslands) or reduces emissions from sources such as landfills and coal mines. Thus, ultimately reducing your carbon footprint.
How can I ensure my carbon offsets are valid?
To avoid low-quality carbon offsets, look for standard verifications such as Verified Carbon Standard, The Gold Standard, Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry, Verra, and others.
Carbon offsets should be verified by a third party. Preferably by a professional organization like the ones listed above. Additionally, the carbon offset projects should be permanent and enforceable. Meaning, the land owner or project owner must follow through and can't abandon the project after a few years.
Is buying carbon offsets ethical?
Yes, buying carbon offsets is ethical so long as they are used in the right way. If you are buying carbon offsets as a "license to pollute" then that is unethical and should be stopped.
However, if you are a responsible consumer and have reduced your emissions as much as possible and are looking for additional ways to decrease your impact on the planet then buying carbon offsets is an acceptable way to do so.
How much do carbon offsets cost?
The cost of an offset varies depending on the project and the supplier. You can buy carbon offsets for as little as $1 on the United Nations Carbon Offset Platform. Other platforms such as Bonneville Energy Foundation and Native Energy charge between $10 and $18.
Are carbon offsets worth it?
Yes, buying carbon offsets are worth it. They aren't a perfect solution to climate change, but they are better than nothing and when used responsibly can sequester enough carbon to have a meaningful impact.
Is it better to focus on reducing carbon emissions instead of offsetting them?
Yes, reducing your own greenhouse gas emissions should be the first priority. You can do things like drive less, fly less, reduce food waste, use less electricity, unplug electronics when they aren't in use, and take public transportation whenever possible.
However, some emissions are unavoidable, so companies and individuals are focusing on becoming "carbon neutral" to help the planet.
Are there carbon offset alternatives?
Some small business owners don't want to buy carbon offsets directly or simply can't afford to. In those cases, alternatives are available that are just as impactful. For example, eco-friendly entrepreneurs can use GreenGeeks to host their website.
GreenGeeks uses renewable energy to power your website, making it carbon neutral or carbon negative! They only cost $2.95 per month so are an affordable alternative to buying carbon offsets directly. Plus, they partner with One Tree Planted to plant a tree for every sign-up.
Additionally, some airlines offer ways to offset your carbon emissions when buying a ticket.
Where do you buy carbon offsets? Let us know in the comments below!
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