running a green office

carbon offset providers

This section examines some of the main carbon offset providers. The first three listed appear to already meet government approva. The compliance scheme will in fact only be finalised at the completion of the consultation period and the standard is not due to be launched formally in autumn 2007.

After that date businesses and consumers will have a clearer idea of which companies will attain compliance. Duport has also listed schemes we have found useful and informative; some will meet government compliance others may not, but all have good products to offer. If your business wants to carbon offset it should research carefully, chose a company (or companies) it feels comfortable with and keep an eye on changes in legislation.

global cool - www.global-cool.com

Global Cool believes that the solution to tackling climate change lies within the power of the individual - ‘The People versus Global Warming’. Industry, businesses and governments are ultimately influenced by the demands of customers and the company believes that collective demand will encourage solutions. Global Cool will launch a series of educational entertaining programmes this year and “upbeat global events” to empower individuals to make a difference.

Through music, cinema and entertainment and its Be Cool actions, Global Cool plans to help as many people as possible to reduce their CO2 emissions. The plan is to motivate one billion people a year each save a tonne of CO2. It includes a growing gang of stars, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Sienna Miller, and the Scissor Sisters. "We're trying to create a brand, an aspirational lifestyle," said Dan Morrell, Global Cool founder, who formerly helped set up the Carbon Neutral Company, which allows people to pay others to cut greenhouse gas emissions through offsetting. Global Cool also plans to invest up to 1 billion pounds of its money in up to 100 million tonnes of offsets - each equal to 1 tonne of carbon emissions cuts

pure - www.puretrust.org.uk

UK charity Pure does not run any projects itself, but invests donor money into certified credits. Like the others already singled out by the government because it meets certain criteria, PURE uses only Kyoto compliant credits. The company mirrors what countries around the world have adopted as the most effective route to combat climate change. It offers value, quality and transparency.

PURE offsets carbon dioxide emissions by buying up “licenses to pollute” – the high quality regulated carbon credits allocated to industry. The Trustees then cancel around the world that reduce emissions and limit the amount of carbon dioxide that polluting companies are allowed to release into the atmosphere. The cost of the remaining carbon credits are also driven up, automatically penalising polluters and encouraging others to reduce emissions. As a registered charity individual donations are boosted through Gift Aid.

ebico - www.equiclimate.org

The firm behind Equiclimate is Ebico, the not for profit energy company. Customers can use the web-based carbon calculator to calculate their CO2 emissions and then offset this. Allowances are purchased from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) and then removed permanently from the ETS. The EU ETS is a market in which CO2 allowances are being sold on a ‘cap and trade’ system. By buying these CO2 allowances and then retiring them, rather than selling to other traders and brokers, the EBICo ensures that these allowances are permanently removed from the market. As a result the overall ‘cap’ or limit, on CO2 emissions in the UK is reduced. In addition because Equiclimate buys these allowances from industrial installations, this not only offsets the CO2 you produce, but also prevents other companies increasing their own emissions. Thus the company claims it fulfils its primary aim of harnessing the power of ‘the market’ to tackle real issues like climate change, for everyone.

EBICo itself is a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. Its guiding principles are a bias towards those on low incomes and stewardship of resources which it believes are ‘entirely consistent with those of the Christian Gospel’ EBICo makes no’ green’ claims but uses Scottish & Southern Energy (S&SE) as its utility partner for Equigas and Equipower and claims it is the UK’s only social justice electricity tariff with no claims to be green.

climate care - www.climatecare.org

Buying offsets through Climate Care means that money will go to fund projects that reduce emissions but also have wider benefits to the local communities and the environment. It invests in three types of projects, - renewable energy, energy efficiency and forest restoration (absorbing carbon as trees grow). For example it is running a programme to install low-energy lighting in low-income households in South Africa, disseminating efficient cooking stoves in Honduras, providing finance from renewable energy cooking stoves in schools in India, and lighting in schools in Kazakhstan.

Climate Care sets a standard price of £7.50 per tonne of CO2 and can make its logos, project stories and images available for businesses. Climate Care has been calling for the development of robust common standards for a number of years and been closely involved in the Voluntary Carbon Standard (from the Carbon Group) and the Gold Standard for Voluntary Offsets.

Climate Care won a Green Award for its Beginner’s Guide to Carbon Offsets’ its homepage animation (November 2006) and a month later was ranked best performing provider in four out of seven categories in a new report from leading US global warming NGO Clean Air-Cool Planet. ‘A Consumers’ Guide’ ranked Climate Care as top performer for prioritization of offset quality, also for buyers’ ability to transparently evaluate offset quality and transparency in provider operation and offset selection. The company also came top for its understanding of the technical aspects of offset quality. Climate Care came second for ancillary environmental and sustainable development benefits of offset portfolios and also for use of third party project protocols and certification. See Clean Air- Cool Planet website for further information.

carbon responsible - www.carbonresponsible.com

Carbon responsible has an easy to use site which was set up as a dedicated carbon initiative within the travel industry. The website clearly explains the mechanics of offsetting, and is motivated by the need for everyone to understand their carbon travel footprint and the impact it has on destinations.

All its products are subject to an annual external audit, which tracks the actual flow of money and the activities undertaken. It uses the DEFRA calculations. Carbon responsible has two types of calculator, a quick calculator and a detailed calculator, which it claims is the most advanced in the UK.

carbon footprint - www.carbonfootprint.com

Another clear and easy to use site. It invites consumers to calculate their carbon footprints, reduce them and then offset. For individuals this can be done on line, while businesses can obtain an obligation free carbon footprint appraisal quotation.

Carbon Footprint offers products under both its Certified Carbon Credits (CCC) category and Voluntary Carbon Credits (VCC). CCC products derive from international climate exchanges, are fully traceable and ’retire’ carbon offsets made by companies that would otherwise be traded on to other companies to help them meet their emissions targets. Because they are no longer available for industry companies will have to take active steps to reduce their emissions rather than relying o n the efforts of others.

VCCs include tree planting in developing countries. Trees reduce CO2 by a process known as sequestration – breathing in harmful CO2 and breathing out harmless oxygen. Such projects help provide sustainable eco-environment and provide habitat and support communities. There is also other energy saving projects which, for example donate clean technologies including sending low energy light-bulbs to developing countries etc.

Carbon Footprint’s Offsets are strictly verified. The CCCs are overseen by international climate exchanges and VCCs are independently monitored, fully traceable and transparent.

This list is by no means exhaustive. It merely aims to point Duport customers towards some useful sites. Any business considering carbon offsetting will have its own agenda and will choose its own favourite schemes. At Duport we are in the process of choosing several schemes to offset with. We may vary these in the future, or we may stick with them, depending on circumstances.

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