Most people know about renewable energy in the form of solar, wind or geothermal power, for example, and the biggest and best firms in the world are pouring resources towards finding better ways to produce longer lasting products with less input.
Little is being done, however, to foster a strong network of projects that reduce greenhouse gases in real time. This is a considerable problem, or gap in preparedness. The way the numbers of renewable adoption stack up, the world has – if there is not a global shift form a ‘business as usual’ scenario – what seems to some an insurmountable gap to close in order to keep global temperatures from climbing more than 2 degrees Celsius. This global temperature change has already begun disrupting ecosystems and financial markets we depend upon to function as a modern society out of our control.
Can Carbon Credits Address the Problem?
Carbon credits, or carbon offsets, are a certification that greenhouse gas has been removed or kept from the atmosphere either via sequestration or avoidance. A company can reduce its net-carbon footprint by purchasing carbon credits by that essentially ‘offsets’ a certain amount of greenhouse gases (GHGs).
However, the absolute carbon footprint of a company still exists and is unchanged regardless of how many credits are used to offset their GHG emissions. So even if a company offsets all of their emissions with the purchase of carbon offsets, they may still come under fire for, “just paying someone else to clean up their mess.”
Carbon credits can be expensive, and while they do legitimately reduce carbon emissions, they are an imperfect solution. Regardless, the world needs to find a way to reduce emissions from 35 billion tonnes a year to zero in less than 30 years; most research shows that this task will not be accomplished without a substantial amount of offsetting.
Making Carbon Credits more Effective
In search for work that had a positive environmental impact, I became involved with Carbon Credit Capital. CCC has created the Carbon Neutral Checkout™ to make applying carbon offsets to businesses’ emissions easy, efficient, and cost-effective. The program both calculates the carbon footprint of businesses and their individual products and services. Rather than charging businesses , we give the tools and information for a company to include the offset price into their goods or services.
This allows companies to offer carbon neutral products and services to customers, or reach a company goal of carbon neutrality without having to cover all the costs of offsetting. This program is designed to in response to the critical argument about offsets hindering real work from getting accomplished, by making them affordable and flexible. The proof of concept has happened with multiple companies now that have fully integrated our program into their products and services.
How Green Fest is Working Towards Going Carbon Neutral
We met Dr. Corinna Basler, CEO of Green Festivals a few months ago and together realized the potential for a great partnership. Carbon Credit Capital attended multiple Green Festivals in the 2016 schedule of shows, and we were able to introduce thousands of attendees and exhibitors to our program. In our first show in Los Angeles, we were able to get more than 1,400 individuals to sign up for some offsets. , and have offset over 10% of their emissions in one three-day stretch. Through the program and attendee participation, Green Festivals was able to offset 10% of their emissions.
Ten percent might not sound very substantial, but most companies put a lot of time and money towards even single digit reductions in GHG emissions. We were able to hit double-digit emissions reductions for the Green Festival in less than 72 hours– without Green Festival incurring any costs.
In 2017 we will work with the Festivals to build the offset costs of their emissions into the price of tickets. This results in an increase of about five cents per attendee, per day– an amount that few people would object to! Soon the simple act of attending a Green Festival will contribute to the “greenness” of the Festival itself.
Programs like this can do a lot of mitigate climate change, but also serve as an answer to the “cost of green.” For years, doing ‘green’ business has been seen as an expense, but there is increasing evidence that saving energy, investing in sustainability, and engaging employees in green initiatives can lead to considerable cost savings. Programs that make it easy to make the green choice change the conversation from, “How can I possibly make money by being green?” to, “How am I going to make money without being green?”
About the Author: Reed Shapiro is the director of business development at Carbon Credit Capital, and one of the creators of the Carbon Neutral Checkout™ initiative, designed to give companies and individuals a means to reduce and eliminate carbon footprints through every day purchases and to bridge the gap between where we are today and the low-carbon future we seek.