Image credit: UK Carbon Reporting Framework
There was a time when protesters where occupying offset companies, decrying these "modern day indulgences", but carbon offsets seem to have slipped off the radar of late. Nevertheless, many companies and individuals continue to use carbon offsets as one means to meet their own CO2 reduction targets. Now a new website is offering a new path to funding carbon reduction, allowing UK companies to directly support domestic carbon-cutting projects that wouldn't quality as offsets, and to use a standardized reporting mechanism to quantify the emissions cuts.
Just don't call it offsetting. From a community-owned solar power station on a brewery roof to a local investing program for micro-hydro, Britain seems to be awash with innovative, community-based energy and carbon reduction efforts right now. (Let's not forget the residents of Tidy Street who turned their entire street into a gigantic energy graph.)
So the launch of the UK Carbon Reporting Framework, an initiative of Forum for the Future, is a welcome means by which corporate sponsors can connect with community-based projects, and ensure that a standardized, verified reporting mechanism is used to quantify just how much carbon has been saved by a particular project. But this is not supposed to replace traditional offsets:
Carbon offsetting - and the associated creation of formal carbon credits - is not the only approach through which a company might support an 'external' carbon reduction project. Companies will also choose to invest in carbon reduction projects in the UK for reasons as varied as connecting with consumers; showing that the company is 'doing its bit to help the UK meet its targets'; or helping to put the UK on track towards becoming a low carbon society.
Companies interested in investing in the UK for these reasons may still want to quantify the carbon savings associated with the projects they support (even if they cannot exclusively 'claim' them) and understand the cost-effectiveness of their investment.
Projects listed so far on the site include plans to install solar panels on community swimming pools, energy efficiency and insulation initiatives, and reforestation projects. Companies already on board include British Airways, which plans to allow customers to fund UK-based carbon reduction projects later this year through its One Destination Carbon Fund.
more on Carbon Offsets and Community-Based Carbon Reduction
Community-Owned Solar Power Station to Sit on Drewery Roof
Residents Turn Street into Gigantic Energy Graph
The Carbon Offset Controversy