Voluntary carbon offsetting : a responsible approach that has become essential
Global awareness of the climate challenge is leading to a rapid transformation of economies with the aim of decarbonising wealth production. The richest countries have collectively taken on the responsibility of becoming carbon neutral by the middle of the century. Already, in order to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement, the time for action is necessarily the present. The “net zero emissions” trajectory of companies implies participating in ecosystem regeneration operations in order to compensate for the emissions linked to their activities that could not be avoided or reduced.
The objective of voluntary carbon offsetting
Offsetting is aimed at incompressible emissions, which is an essential prerequisite for the credibility of the approach. It is no longer the time to use this type of initiative to buy a right to pollute without making sufficient efforts to reduce one’s carbon footprint.
There are two types of incompressible emissions :
- those that are deemed impossible to reduce, even in a favourable economic framework, without jeopardising economic activity;
- those that will still be emitted while an emission reduction strategy is being implemented.
France has developed an ambitious framework that everyone can use as inspiration in their offsetting approach: the National Low Carbon Strategy. This French framework sets out the objective of neutrality in 2050 via, as a priority, a strong reduction in domestic emissions, but also an increase in absorption capacity in order to complement the abatement and compensate for the emissions that could not be avoided, known as incompressible emissions.
What is a voluntary offset project ?
Voluntary offsetting has been around for a long time, particularly since the Kyoto Protocol, which provided a framework for carbon credits and led to progress in metrics and standards.
A voluntary offset project consists of investing in soil carbon absorption programmes. This is most often linked to reforestation or sustainable forest management while sustainable agricultural practices are beginning to develop. Other types of projects, such as energy efficiency or renewable energy projects in developing countries, can be labelled for their impact in terms of carbon offsetting.
Orygeen chooses to support companies in projects that correspond to the values of industrialists. The selected programmes, whether international, national or local, respect scrupulous ethical and technical standards and experiment with new techniques for preserving life.
Validation criteria for voluntary carbon offsetting
The criteria for validation of a project vary according to the verification label. However, four characteristics are considered essential by normative bodies such as ADEME:
Ensure measurability and permanence of avoided/sequestered GHG emissions
Carry out verification of avoided/sequestered emissions
Guarantee the uniqueness of the carbon credits issued
Voluntary offset projects that are part of the territories
In order to respond to companies that are increasingly interested in integrating their voluntary carbon offsetting approach into their local ecosystem, Orygeen has focused on the development of biological sequestration projects in France and in Europe. The demand for this type of project is growing rapidly, while forestry and agricultural initiatives are still limited in our territories.
Orygeen has signed partnerships with the key players in these sectors in order to guarantee its clients privileged access to a sufficient number of quality projects in France, Europe, but also in equatorial and tropical regions.
Also very involved in the exchange between all the stakeholders of this issue for the planet as well as for the adaptation of the forestry and agricultural sectors to the consequences of climate change and to the evolution of their economic model, Orygeen organises Neutrality, the National Conference of voluntary carbon offsetting.
To offset a company’s CO2 emissions in an efficient, sincere and economically viable way, Orygeen proposes to :
Carrying out an assessment of greenhouse gas emissions
Build an objective consistent with the company’s raison d’être
Define a reduction and compensation strategy
Establish criteria for successful offset projects
Select existing projects or co-construct them
Setting up results monitoring and communication