The principle of greenhouse gas offsetting is based on the recognition that, in terms of climate impact, it does not matter where in the world we choose to avoid greenhouse gases. This means that those who aim to become climate neutral by buying certificates for unavoidable emissions can finance projects that either reduce emissions elsewhere or promote and preserve carbon sinks. These are most often projects in the developing countries and emerging economies that must fulfil certain quality standards. The most internationally renowned of these include the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), the Gold Standard (GS) and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).
This is where it is useful to assess offsetting projects in coordination with indicators put forth through the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as this helps with recording and presenting the climate protection project’s contribution to sustainable development.
The aim is to achieve all 17 goals by 2030. These goals were accepted in September 2015 by the United Nations and entitled “2030 Agenda”. They are the basis for promoting global economic progress in harmony with social justice and environmental boundaries. Governments, companies and civil society organisations around the world are called upon to act. Accordingly, the SDGs are increasingly becoming the focus of offsetting projects and standards.
The supporters of the Alliance are committed to sustainable development and climate protection. They avoid and reduce their own CO2 emissions and offset those that are unavoidable or currently irreducible. Their offsetting payments finance important climate protection projects in developing countries and emerging economies and promote local sustainable development.
For its annual stocktaking, the Alliance asked its supporters in winter 2020/21 about the projects to which they have committed. Overall, just under half of our supporters took part and documented their contributions. The results of the analysis show that the Alliance’s projects are many and varied, and that they are making a significant impact.
The Alliance’s supporters contribute increasingly towards greenhouse gas offsetting. The graph on the right shows how many greenhouse gas emissions our supporters offset in 2019 and 2020.
Within the Alliance, the most offsetting has been achieved by companies, followed by institutions, offsetting partners and private individuals. One reason for this is that companies represent the largest proportion among our supporters.
Offsetting projects contribute directly to the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The projects that are promoted mostly target the following SDGs: SDG 13 (“Climate Action”), SDG 8 (“Decent Work and Economic Growth”) and SDG 15 (“Life on Land”). Our supporters’ examples also show how the offsetting projects contribute to the SDGs.
Across our various actor groups, 47 per cent of supporters focus on the implementation of projects with nature-based solutions, e.g., biological sequestration through reforestation. Other frequently mentioned target projects are the promotion of renewable energies (46 per cent) and energy efficiency (25 per cent). In addition, supporters think it is important to choose projects that align with their own interests or fulfil their own requirements (19 per cent).