No matter where greenhouse gases are emitted they exert a global warming effect. This is the logic that enables carbon offsetting, where emissions in one place are neutralised by emissions reductions elsewhere. This globalises the carbon problem, allowing those responsible for emissions to seek out the most effective means of mitigation.
However, our activities also have local impacts. Issues such as air and groundwater pollution are often associated with high emissions sources. Addressing environmental impacts doesn’t stop at carbon and many businesses seek to address other concerns at the same time.
Good carbon offset projects deliver multiple outcomes for people as well as the environment. For example, ClimateCare’s excellent LifeStraw and clean cookstove projects help improve people’s health as well as delivering carbon savings.
Woodland creation also provides a particularly rich raft of benefits. Trees and woods provide habitat for wildlife, recreational spaces for people and a renewable source of materials and fuel. They also help regulate and purify water flows and quality and increase the resilience of the landscape to withstand impacts…the list goes on.
Businesses value being able to show their staff and customers where they are making a difference. For businesses with a footprint in the UK, this is where the Woodland Trust’s partnership with ClimateCare comes into its own.
Working in partnership, Climate Care and the Woodland Trust have a unique offer to businesses seeking to offset their residual emissions and also take action in the UK. Called Offset-PLUS, the product combines internationally certified Verified Emissions Reductions (VERs) with a contribution to the Woodland Trust, which is used to support its Woodland Carbon initiatives.
Following the Government-approved Woodland Carbon Code, the Trust’s offer to businesses enables the creation of more native woods in one of Europe’s least wooded countries.
The Code requires project developers to use standard carbon sequestration models, to conform to the UK Forestry Standard, and to have carbon stocks independently verified by an UCAS-accredited inspector. The aim is to instil investor confidence in projects in much the same way as international marques, such as the Gold Standard, provide.
Our landscape needs more trees. As the climate changes there will be more frequent and severe storms, floods and drought. A more diverse mosaic of habitats will help us withstand these events and enable wildlife to move around more easily to track the changing climate envelope. Trees are a vital part of this.
By investing in OffsetPLUS you are going well beyond mitigating your carbon impact. You’re helping provide people and wildlife with a better, more resilient future. Sometimes acting global means thinking local.
Nick Atkinson is the Woodland Trust’s carbon specialist. The Trust is an environmental charity that aims to protect the UK’s existing trees and woods, create a better wooded landscape and inspire people to enjoy it.
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