What are voluntary carbon offsets and why should everyone participate?

March 1, 2022


Voluntary carbon offsetting refers to the practice of funding projects that remove or reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) from the atmosphere in order to offset an individual or company's own carbon emissions. This can be done through the purchase of carbon credits, which represent carbon mitigation efforts that would not have taken place without the revenues from the sale of carbon credits, or by directly funding projects that remove or reduce greenhouse gases.

Voluntary carbon offsetting is different from mandatory carbon offsetting, a policy approach which requires carbon-intensive industries to offset a certain amount of their carbon emissions or pay a fee for what they emit. Mandatory carbon offsetting or carbon pricing is typically implemented by governments or regulatory bodies and is legally binding. Mandatory carbon offsetting is a comprehensive tool that, when deployed on a large scale, can help countries sectoral carbon reduction goals.

Voluntary carbon offsetting is a voluntary action taken by individuals or businesses, and there are many reasons why someone should participate in carbon offsetting even if they are not legally required to do so.

What are the benefits of participating in voluntary carbon offsetting?

  1. To reduce their own carbon footprint: Participating in voluntary carbon offsetting can help individuals and businesses reduce their own carbon footprint by offsetting any emissions that they are unable to reduce through other means. This can be a useful tool for those who are trying to become carbon-neutral or want to take proactive steps to reduce their impact on the environment.
  2. To support climate action: By participating in voluntary carbon offsetting, individuals and businesses can take concrete action to address climate change. Supporting projects that are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or remove carbon from the atmosphere can also be a way to contribute to the global effort to address climate change and support the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  3. To meet sustainability goals: Many businesses and organizations have sustainability goals that include reducing their carbon footprint or becoming carbon neutral. Participating in voluntary carbon offsetting can help them meet these goals and demonstrate their commitment to sustainability.
  4. To address regulatory risk: In some cases, participating in voluntary carbon offsetting can also help businesses manage regulatory risk. As governments around the world adopt more stringent climate policies, businesses that are unprepared for these policies may face financial penalties or other regulatory consequences. By participating in voluntary carbon offsetting, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and make any future transitionary periods smoother.

How does voluntary carbon offsetting help the environment?

There is a wide range of projects that can be supported through voluntary carbon offsetting, including renewable energy projects, energy efficiency initiatives, and reforestation efforts. By supporting these projects, individuals and companies can offset their own carbon emissions and contribute to the development of more sustainable and low-carbon technologies and practices.

While voluntary carbon offsetting can be an important tool for addressing climate change, it is important to note that it should not be used as a substitute for reducing emissions at the source. In order to effectively address climate change, it is necessary to both reduce emissions and offset any remaining emissions through projects that remove or reduce greenhouse gases.

Read more: decarbonizing the aviation sector with SAF

Overall, voluntary carbon offsetting is a way for individuals and companies to take responsibility for their carbon emissions and contribute to the fight against climate change. By supporting projects that remove or reduce greenhouse gases, we can offset our own emissions and take concrete action to address this global challenge.

About us: CHOOOSE™ is a venture-backed leader in technology-based climate action, building digital tools so that everyone, anywhere, can easily integrate climate action into everyday life and business. Through flexible integrations, customer-friendly interfaces, automated carbon measurement, and a connected marketplace of climate solutions, CHOOOSE delivers a complete platform that enables its partners to build and manage high-impact climate programs. Learn more at www.chooose.today.