What are the best carbon offsets?
Compensate for your carbon footprint by purchasing carbon offsets and directly supporting renewable energy production. Read on to find the carbon offset services we're liking right now.
By Hannah Huang
June 30, 2021
Carbon offsets overview
There are many reasons to buy carbon offsets. You might want to zero out your emissions from your recent vacation, or maybe you drive to work every day and want to offset emissions from your commute instead of investing in an electric vehicle.
However, not all offsets are the same, and companies offering carbon offsets can differ in their criteria and options. What kind of program will your funds go towards? Will it fund renewable energy projects, planting trees, or use some other method? Before purchasing an offset, it’s important to research how it will be implemented to counteract greenhouse gas emissions.
The best carbon offsets are verified by a third party to ensure that the companies offering offsets are implementing the environmental projects you are paying for and have legitimate offset programs. If an offset is verified, information about the verifiers is generally easy to find on the offset company’s website. Common verifiers include the American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve, and Verified Carbon Standard.
Recommended carbon offset services
Here are three carbon offset providers that are worth checking out. All of these providers allow you to choose a specific project that your offset will help fund, giving you more control over how your money is used. We like them specifically because they allow you to choose offsets that directly invest in renewable energy production. They have also been verified by at least one industry-standard verifier.
South Pole is an active voice in the climate space and offers services to help businesses implement more sustainable practices. They also sell carbon offsets for a wide range of projects, including building hydropower plants and solar panels. Their offsets are verified by at least one verifier, most commonly by the Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard. Visit their website to find more about their offsets.
Carbonfund.org provides offset bundles for plane flights, vehicles, and more. They also provide specific projects that you can fund to offset carbon emissions. These offsets include renewable energy projects, such as the installation of wind turbines. Their offsets are most commonly verified by the Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard. Visit their website to find out more about their current renewable energy projects or to look at their general carbon offsets.
Cool Effect has offsets that target many different goals, including cleaner cookstoves. Like the other providers, you can choose which project your offset will fund. Their offsets are verified by at least one verifier, including the Gold Standard, American Carbon Registry, and Verified Carbon Standard. You can find more about their current projects at cooleffect.org/projects.
Carbon offsets are useful and widely accessible to everyone. The recommendations here are just a starting point - there are many other offsets on the market, and we encourage you to explore what options are available.
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