Why a Robust Net Zero Strategy Includes Offsetting Today’s Emissions

Published 16th June 2021

As we head towards COP26 later this year, it’s fantastic to see that thousands of companies around the world have signed up to go net zero, with more committing to do so every day. At Climate Impact Partners, we are delighted to be helping many of these pioneering organizations take concrete steps towards their net zero target.

But, while intent and ambition to go net zero are important, it is also essential that companies take full responsibility for the emissions they are producing today. After all, it’s today’s emissions that are causing tomorrow’s climate change.

We have to reduce, as well as remove, carbon emissions

We must not forget that we are facing a climate emergency. We need to do everything within our power to decarbonize and reduce carbon emissions as quickly as possible.

In recent years, carbon removal projects (those that remove carbon directly from the atmosphere) have become increasingly sought-after by companies with net zero targets. But while carbon removals will play a role in mitigating climate change, they are not a standalone solution.

As experienced project developers ourselves, we know that carbon removal projects can be difficult to implement, have an element of risk and will take several years to yield results. Additionally, without considerable and immediate carbon emission reductions, the demand for carbon removal projects may exceed our ability to deliver them. Yes, we need to prepare more of them now in order to neutralize residual emissions in the future, but we cannot afford to take our focus away from the urgent objective of avoiding emissions today. We desperately need to scale carbon avoidance projects now.

Looking at it another way – it makes no sense to plant new forests, whilst standing back to watch existing rainforests destroyed. We need to both protect existing carbon sinks and create new ones.

So, what should companies be doing?

There are thousands of effective projects around the world with immediate potential to reduce or avoid billions of tonnes of carbon emissions. From cleaner cooking technology – which alone has the potential to reduce up to 1 billion tonnes of CO2 each year – to rainforest protection and renewable energy provision.

Supporting these projects through carbon offsetting is a means to take responsibility for your current carbon emissions, and an important part of any robust climate strategy.

Offsetting is not a substitute for emissions reductions in your own organization. But it is a way to compensate for remaining emissions, while you take steps to reduce them, in line with a science-based target. Through the voluntary carbon market, there are already robust systems in place to ensure the carbon reductions you fund to offset your emissions are real, additional, permanent, unique, and independently verified.

The role of offsetting today’s emissions as you journey to net zero has been positively acknowledged by respected environmental NGOs (CDP, WWF, WRI), with The Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) describing offsetting as playing “a critical role in accelerating the transition to net zero emissions at the global level” (SBTi, 2020, Foundations For Net Zero).

Not only does it deliver immediate climate impact, but also the projects you support accelerate progress towards the UN Global Goals - creating a wide range of positive impacts for local communities, economies, health, and nature. Research conducted by Imperial College London shows that for every tonne of COoffset, $664 of value is created.

Best practice is to combine this immediate action, with a longer-term carbon removal plan

At Climate Impact Partners, we help leading corporates take immediate action to compensate for current emissions and go Carbon Neutral. At the same time, we work with them to implement a robust plan to secure their future net zero position - helping them understand their carbon removal requirements and putting in place strategies to meet them through a combination of forward contracts and bespoke new project development. In this way, we help them deliver for the climate today whilst managing future supply and price risk.

You don’t want to be a laggard in this race. As competition for carbon credits grows and prices rise, now is the time for your company take the lead – tackling climate change today and securing its future net zero position.

Offsetting plays a critical role in accelerating the transition to Net Zero emissions at the global level.
The Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi), 2020

100+ million tonnes
of emissions have been reduced by Climate Impact Partners

Making real change possible

Contact us to learn about how we can work with you to deliver action on climate