Corporate carbon offsets will do no good, shock study finds

Website Guardian conducted extensive results research on a leading carbon offset provider for large corporations. More than 90% of carbon offset projects in favor of tropical forests would be completely useless, and some actions would even be downright harmful.

The idea behind the carbon offset mechanism is to finance a project to sequester greenhouse gas emissions, thereby reducing its environmental impact. Specifically, for an industrial company whose activity emits a lot of CO2, this includes, for example, supporting measures to restore tropical forests. Since carbon knows no borders, these projects are often carried out on the other side of the world. Each “carbon credit” collected in these projects represents one ton of CO equivalent2 is reduced or sequestered in soils or oceans. Carbon offsetting is increasingly used by companies, whether as real actions or purely as a communication strategy. But what is it really worth? That’s the question the site’s survey tries to answer. Guardian Posted on January 18.

94% of the carbon credits given to companies should not have been approved

The results of this nine-month study are dire: more than 90% of rainforest projects are completely useless. To come up with such figures, the survey is based on the projects of the Verra company, which works with major groups such as Disney, Shell, EasyJet, Gucci, as well as the rock band Pearl Jam, which is the main supplier of carbon offsets.

It is carried out jointly with the German newspaper Die Zeit and association source material, education deplores that almost none of the funded projects have had a positive impact on reducing deforestation. The allocation of carbon credits to companies will also be distorted: 94% of these carbon credits should not have been approved. Thanks to these carbon credits, many companies were then able to communicate their “carbon neutrality”: this is defined by the balance between the greenhouse gas emissions and absorption associated with the activities of these companies. This absorption is obviously through projects, in this case, supporting tropical forest restoration measures.

Reforestation projects in well-deforested areas

Of the 29 Verra projects studied by the investigators (other projects did not allow access to data), 8 were able to demonstrate an impact on reducing deforestation. Some projects have been implemented not in forests that really need support, but in forests where deforestation is overestimated.

Verra’s projects would have had very negative consequences even on the local population of these rainforests: by questioning the inhabitants of the respective areas, the investigators discovered that they had seen the villagers’ houses being deliberately destroyed by those in charge of the projects. Although these local people are considered allies in the protection of forests. The Verra company, for its part, believes that the accusations Guardian distorted and researchers do not understand the methodology used in reforestation projects.

Half of the companies do not believe in carbon offsets

global survey, Carbon Substitution », a study by AiDash of more than 500 sustainability leaders found that 41% of them say they don’t use carbon credits because of a lack of trust. The study also explains that 56% of companies do not measure most of their greenhouse gas emissions. However, 43% use carbon credits. This means that many companies are using carbon credits, and even though they don’t know the exact levels of greenhouse gas emissions they are emitting, they are being linked to them!

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