Home/What does a high-integrity carbon offsetting programme look like?
July 12, 2022

What does a high-integrity carbon offsetting programme look like?

With travel restrictions and isolation requirements finally loosening around the world, the desire and need to fly is quickly picking up. This means international aviation emissions are back on a pre-COVID trajectory and on pace to triple by 2050, compared to current levels. To reach net zero by 2050, the industry needs to accelerate development of more environmentally friendly aircraft technologies. But these aren’t projected to be market ready for decades. To bridge the gap to a net zero future, carbon offsetting is the right solution now.

While carbon offsetting is critical, not all programmes are the same. Integrity is key to any voluntary carbon offsetting effort, to ensure a genuine impact on the planet is made and to generate a good uptake.

However, at present, the voluntary offset market is under-regulated, leaving us with vast discrepancies in both the value of credits as well as their climate impact. In fact, the current market is saturated with low-quality carbon credits.

Some of the problems with low-quality carbon credits are: 

  • assuring future emission reductions will be achieved (e.g. planting a tree that will take 50 years to mature).
  • establishing projects that require landowners to forcefully evict people living on the project area territory.
  • artificially inflating baseline emissions in order to generate more carbon credits for the project
  • releasing carbon back into the atmosphere once the project ends (for example, forest fires or illegal logging)
  • or that the project does not contribute to achieving additional climate benefits (e.g. issuing credits on protected forests that were never in danger).

What criteria should you be looking for in a good carbon offsetting project? 

It’s important to select projects that meet the highest quality standards and are verified by independent third party registries. Carbon offsetting, if done right, is a powerful way to create a positive impact, as it reduces or removes carbon from the atmosphere. High-quality climate projects make a meaningful and trangible difference, such as restoring native forests, protecting ecosystems and enabling developing countries to harness clean energy solutions. 

At CarbonClick, we have developed a unique framework to select our projects, that is aligned with industry best-practices. We ensure our projects are able to withstand the highest level of scrutiny. As part of this, all projects undergo rigorous due diligence and auditing. This is based on the on the following criteria:

  • Additional – our projects would not have happened without carbon finance 
  • Real – the project reduction is measurable 
  • Quantified – the carbon credits againsts our projects are accurate, unique, tracked and are retired only once
  • Permanent – our projects’ impact is permanent and cannot be reversed
  • Verified – project credits are verified by independent, third party registries 
  • Co-benefits –  the project supports communities and local ecosystems 
  • Biodiverse – the projects deliver and conserve biodiversity and avoid practices such as planting large monoculture forests that destabilise biodiversity  

The importance of aligning projects with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals 

Another key criteria of a high-quality carbon offsetting project is its ability to generate wider benefits, positively impacting communities and local ecosystems. 

The UN has identified Sustainable Develop Goals (SDGs) to help ensure a sustainable, inclusive and resilient future of our planet and livelihoods. 

At CarbonClick, we believe it’s important to align climate action with as many SDGs as possible, in order to create a bright future for both people and the planet. 

As part of this, we ensure any project aligns with a minimum of three of the below SDGs, if possible, more.

Examples CarbonClick’s high-impact climate projects 

The Tambopata-Bahuaja Biodiversity project conserves threatened tropical rainforest in an internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot of the Peruvian Amazon, providing habitat for a wide variety of rare and endangered wildlife. 591,119 ha of forest have been protected and 4,000 ha of land has been restored to produce high value fine and aromatic cacao, with also 1 million trees planted. This project aligns 9 SDGs, which includes no poverty, decent work and economic growth, climate action and life on land. 

Improved Cooking Practices in Nigeria is a project that produces and distributes efficient charcoal cookstoves that reduce carbon emission and household spending in Nigeria, as well as improving the health of the communities. Nigeria has one of the highest deforestation rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. By reducing coal consumption, the deforestation of local forests is reduced, improving soil quality and water conservation and the habitat of local wildlife. The carbon credits from this project are CORSIA Eligible Emissions Units. In addition to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the cookstoves provide co-benefits to the users and their families, such as reduction in fuel costs, a reduction in airborne pollutants, a faster cooking time, and an increase in cleanliness and convenience. Therefore, aligning with SDGs of no poverty, good health and well-being, affordable and clean energy and gender equality. 


The role of transparency & traceability

At CarbonClick, we help businesses and individuals embark on their sustainability journey, making it simple, meaningful and trustworthy. Transparency and traceability are key drivers in building trust and increasing the uptake of voluntary carbon offsetting. 

Transparency is ensuring travellers know exactly where a contribution is going to and the impact it is having. Traceability helps in building deeper trust by allowing travellers to see and learn about the projects, their locations and local communities that benefit from the financial support. 

To enable traceability, we first pre-purchase the carbon credits from high-trusted projects. Then once someone contributes to carbon offsetting, we match and retire the corresponding carbon credits, providing the satisfaction of instant climate action.

Transparency and traceability of carbon offsetting programmes underline the integrity of any provider, allowing for tangible and impactful climate action. 

Integrity is paramount to successful carbon offsetting

Companies that want to take a lead on sustainability need to implement high-quality, transparent carbon offsetting programmes that take immediate climate action. In order to have a high and meaningful impact, climate projects must be of the best quality standards and travellers need to be presented with a transparent programme they can trust. 

It’s imperative that we work together and support each other in taking climate action. Carbon offsetting, if done right, is a critical step towards a Net-Zero future and has the ability to change the current climate change outlook for the better.

About CarbonClick 

CarbonClick is a global leader in providing high-quality and transparent programmes for voluntary carbon offsetting in aviation. Our solutions are trusted by businesses around the world, such as Amadeus, Etihad Airways, Air Tahiti Nui, Locomote, London Stansted Airport and Lima Airport.

While focussing on providing simple, meaningful and trustworthy carbon offsetting, we are also leading the way in providing next generation of sustainability solutions for aviation including: 

  • incorporating voluntary carbon offsetting in loyalty and reward schemes,
  • corporate carbon offsetting,
  • and carbon offsetting for cargo aviation.

Would you like to learn more? 

If you have questions around voluntary carbon offsetting in aviation, please connect via: https://calendly.com/michelle_carbonclick