How to Pick a Carbon Offset Vendor

Carbon offset vendors take individuals' donations and invest the money in projects that lower the overall amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. Knowing how to pick a carbon offset vendor will help you reduce your carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon you contribute to the atmosphere through your daily activities. By reducing your carbon footprint you are reducing the amount of carbon dioxide you are responsible for emitting into the atmosphere.


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    Calculate your carbon footprint. There are a number of tools online that will do this for you.
    • Carbon footprint calculators ask questions about your driving habits, how frequently you fly, whether you use public transportation and whether you recycle. The calculator may also ask you for information about your consumption of food and other consumer goods.
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    Conduct an Internet search for carbon offset vendors. There are many companies around the world what specialize in investing individuals' donations in projects that reduce the amount of atmospheric carbon.
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    Select a carbon offset vendor and research their website to find out how they operate and what types of projects they offer. Research multiple carbon offset vendors to find one that meets your needs.
    • What type of carbon offset projects does the vendor invest in? The vendor should provide clear explanations of the projects it invests in and the location(s) of the projects.
    • What measurable accomplishments have these projects made? The vendor should track the amount of carbon captured by its projects and share this information with its investors.
    • Are their projects verified? If a project is verified, it means that the carbon offset vendor invests its donations in legitimate carbon offset projects.
    • If the projects are verified, how is it done? Projects should be verified by an accredited third party. Accredited third parties are unbiased entities that audit carbon offset projects to ensure they are doing what they claim to do.
    • Are the results of project audits available to the public? Sharing the results of project audits means the vendor is committed to transparency.
    • How frequently are projects audited? Regular project audits ensure that projects meet international certification criteria, as well as any other standards the carbon offset vendor may have developed for its projects.
    • What is the carbon offset vendor's pricing structure? Can you select the project you want your donations to be invested in? Are there predetermined carbon offset packages you can purchase, or can you customize your donation?
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    Determine your budget for purchasing carbon offsets.
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    Select the carbon offset vendor to which you would like to make a donation.
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    Purchase the carbon offsets that meet your needs.


  • Carbon offsets do not offset carbon where you live. Rather they reduce carbon emissions somewhere else by investing in clean, renewable energy or reforestation projects.
  • Carbon offset vendors typically invest in projects such as renewable energy (e.g. wind farms), methane capture, landfill gas capture, energy efficiency, abandoned coal mine mitigation, community tree planting programs, community garden programs, public transportation improvements and reforestation and forest preservation.
  • Reforestation projects are popular carbon offset projects because forests absorb carbon dioxide, making them what is called a "carbon sink."

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Categories: Environmental Awareness