What is Carbon Offsetting?

April 2022

When it comes to reducing your carbon footprint, one of the most popular options is carbon offsetting. But what is carbon offsetting, and how can you go about offsetting your own carbon footprint?

 

Carbon offsetting is the process of countering the emissions from your everyday activities by investing in projects that reduce emissions elsewhere. For example, you could invest in a project that helps to reduce carbon emissions from a factory, tree planting or you could invest in renewable energy projects.

 

Pensions also have carbon footprints. Pension funds that are invested in industries such as mining, fossil fuels or those that drive deforestation have a significant environmental impact. These types of investments have a carbon footprint of their own, estimated to be an average of 26 tonnes per pension per year. This is a ‘hidden’ carbon footprint that many people may not even have considered.

 

The aim of carbon offsetting is to help reduce global carbon emissions, and thereby mitigate climate change. It's also a great way to make up for your own carbon emissions and help to ensure that your everyday activities don't have a negative impacton the environment.

 

If you're interested in carbon offsetting, there are a few things you need to know. Firstly, not all carbon offsetting schemes are equal - it's important to do your research and choose a reputable scheme. Secondly, the cost of carbon offsetting will vary depending on which scheme you choose.

 

Carbon offsetting is not a silver bullet - it's one tool in the arsenal of climate action. But if you're looking for a way to make up for your carbon emissions, carbon offsetting is a great option.

 

How do I calculate my carbon footprint?

There are a number of ways to calculate your carbon footprint, but the most common is to add up the emissions from your flights, car journeys and food.

 

Your carbon footprint will vary depending on your lifestyle and where you live. If you live in a city, your carbon footprint is likely to be higher than if you live in a rural area. And if you have a long-haul flight, your carbon footprint will be higher than if you take a short flight.

 

There are ways to reduce your carbon footprint, no matter where you live or how you travel. You can start by making small changes to your daily routine, such as walking or cycling instead of driving, or eating less meat and more vegetables or opting for plant-based foods.

For people interested in calculating their carbon footprint, there are free tools available from organisations such as Carbon Footprint Ltd, where they have different calculators for individuals, SMEs and large businesses. Carbon footprints are calculated over a 12 month period and reported in tonnes per person per year.

CarbonIndependent.org reports that the world's total CO2 emissions are about 34 billion tonnes per year. This averages out to 4.3 tonnes per person per year worldwide (based on a global population of 8 billion).

What is the UK’s average carbon footprint?

This is a good question. Carbon calculations differ depending on which website you visit.

·       www.carbonindependent.org reports the UK’s average carbon footprint per person as being 10 tonnes of carbon per person year. In comparison, India’s average carbon footprint is reported as 2 tonnes per person per year, whilst China’s is 6 tonnes.

·       Carbon Footprint Ltd reports that the average carbon footprint is 6.5 tonnes per person per year in the UK.

·       The UK Government reports the average carbon footprint in the UK is 6 tonnes per person per year, but this has been criticised as this figure does not include the carbon figures associated with UK imports and exports, aviation or shipping.

·       www.pawprint.eco reports the average carbon footprint as 12.7 tonnes per person per year.

 

How to offset your carbon footprint

Carbon offsetting is both a lifestyle choice and also the process of investing in projects that reduce carbon emissions elsewhere. There are lots of carbon offsetting schemes available, and the cost of carbon offsetting will vary depending on which scheme you choose. It's important to do your research and choose a reputable carbon offsetting scheme.

 

Carbon offsetting is a monetary amount that you can pay to support projects to reduce CO2 emissions elsewhere. If you offset one tonne of carbon, the offset will help capture or destroy one tonne of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have been released into the atmosphere. Offset schemes also promote sustainable development and increase the use of renewable energy.

 

Offsetting schemes allow both individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects around the world, to balance out their own carbon footprint. Offsetting projects are very often based in developing countries. The aim of the environmental projects is to reduce future emissions and provide education. Some schemes work by soaking up CO2 directly from the air through the planting of trees.

Investing in a sustainable pension is also one of the most effective methods of reducing your carbon footprint, offsetting the impact of industries like mining and fossil fuels by investing in renewable energy and sustainable environmental projects.

 

How does PayCaptain help?

PayCaptain already offsets the carbon emissions of the company’s employees and has a target of being carbon net zero by 2024.

 

PayCaptain has partnered with Ecologi to offer users of the PayCaptain app to opt-in to Ecologi’s carbon offsetting scheme. This will mean users can offset their carbon footprint too and become ‘climate positive.’

 

Ecologi invests subscribers’ money into a broad range of projects that are able to evidence that they are reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The social enterprise also works with partners to plant trees. The standard monthly subscription covers the cost of 12 trees being planted in managed reforestation projects that will offset carbon when they reach maturity 10 years after planting. The projects also provide employment for local people.  

 

Say’s Simon Bocca, Founder and CEO of PayCaptain. “We’re delighted to be partnered with Ecologi to offer our users the option to offset their carbon footprint. For less money than it costs to buy a cup of coffee each week, users can become climate positive and have a huge impact on the environmental crisis. This is just one of the ways that PayCaptain is making a positive impact on the global landscape.”

 

In summary, carbon offsetting helps businesses and individuals counter their emissions from their everyday activities. By moving your payroll to PayCaptain, employees have the opportunity to offset their carbon footprints, invest in sustainable pensions and become climate positive to build a better future by investing in renewable energy projects, tree-planting and offsetting schemes.

 

To learn more about how PayCaptain can support your business and employees to offset their carbon footprint, please contact us. We’d be delighted to talk you through our offsetting initiatives and demo PayCaptain for you.

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PayCaptainPayroll Solutions Limited, www.paycaptain.com is an HR/FinTech company that delivers a fully automated cloud payroll service. The solution contains many unique and innovative features for employees, helping them to take control of their pay and increase their financial well-being. PayCaptain is a payroll solution that helps employers pay their workforce, regardless of income and personal circumstances. The solution also incorporates functionality that is specifically designed to positively impact financial resilience for people struggling with money, or vulnerable and low-income employees.

PayCaptain is the first payroll company to be B-Corporation certified in the world. To read more about B-Corporations, visit www.bcorporation.net

 

Readmore about carbon offsetting schemes:

https://www.greenmatch.co.uk/blog/what-is-carbon-offsetting

https://www.treehugger.com

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