Frequently Asked Questions

What are Carbon Credits?

Carbon credits are a key component of national and international emissions trading schemes that have been implemented to mitigate global warming. They provide a way to reduce greenhouse gasses on a global scale by capping the total annual emissions. These credits are measured in tons of CO2 and are assigned a monetary value to any shortfall through trading. Credits can be exchanged between businesses or bought and sold in international markets at market price.

There are also many companies that sell carbon credits to commercial and individual customers who are interested in lowering their carbon footprint on a voluntary basis. These carbon offsetters purchase the credits from an investment fund or a carbon development company that has aggregated the credits from individual projects. The quality of the credits is based in part on the validation process and sophistication of the fund or development company that acted as the sponsor to the carbon project. This is reflected in their price; voluntary units typically have less value than the units sold through the rigorously-validated Clean Development Mechanism.

Carbon Reduction - How does offsetting help reduce the threat of climate change?

The threat of climate change is directly linked to the quantities of greenhouse gases (including CO2, methane, nitrous and sulphur oxides, CFCs, HFCs and PFCs) we emit into the atmosphere. It is important that individuals as well as companies and governments make efforts to reduce their emissions as much as possible. In addition to taking these actions, offsetting can provide a way to reduce total or aggregate emissions by supporting projects which reduce emissions beyond levels which would normally occur.

Carbon Reduction - Is offsetting just a way to make people feel good, without having to reduce their impacts?

No. If the offsets that you purchase are of high quality then they have helped to generate real emissions reductions. In addition, when you voluntarily choose to offset your emissions, you send a powerful message stating that you acknowledge the impact of your activities. However, it is important to remember that emissions offsets should not be considered a substitute for actions that you can take to directly reduce your carbon footprint.

Carbon Trading - What are carbon offsets?

Emissions offsets, or carbon offsets, usually quantified in metric tonnes (1000kg) of carbon dioxide equivalents (CO2e), can be used to counterbalance or 'offset' the impact of activities that generate greenhouse gases (GHGs). Emissions offsets are created by funding projects that either reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted elsewhere (such as energy efficiency, or renewable energy projects), or by those which effectively remove GHGs from the atmosphere, as in the case of some forestry projects. In conjunction with efforts to reduce emissions and increase efficiency, offsetting can be a useful and important part of individuals' and companies' efforts to reduce the global effects of emissions caused by their activities.

What is The VCS?

VCS stands for Verified Carbon Standard
The VCS Program provides a robust, new global standard and program for approval of credible voluntary offsets. VCS offsets must be real (have happened), additional (beyond business-as-usual activities), measurable, permanent (not temporarily displace emissions), independently verified and unique (not used more than once to offset emissions).

Program Objectives

  • Standardize and provide transparency and credibility to the voluntary offset market.
  • Enhance business, consumer and government confidence in voluntary offsets.
  • Create a trusted and tradable voluntary offset credit; the Voluntary Carbon Unit. (VCU)
  • Stimulate additional investments in emissions reductions and low carbon solutions
  • Experiment and stimulate innovation in emission reduction technologies and offer lessons that can be build into future regulation.
  • Provide a clear chain of ownership over voluntary offsets that prevents them being used twice. This is achieved through multiple VCS registries and a central project database that is open to the public.
Visit the VCS Website to Learn More


What is The CCBA?

The Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA) is a partnership between leading companies, NGOs and research institutes seeking to promote integrated solutions to land management around the world. With this goal in mind, the CCBA has developed voluntary standards to help design and identify land management projects that simultaneously minimize climate change, support sustainable development and conserve biodiversity
Visit the CCBA Website to Learn More

Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)?

The CDM allows emission-reduction (or emission removal) projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

The mechanism stimulates sustainable development and emission reductions, while giving industrialized countries some flexibility in how they meet their emission reduction limitation targets.
Visist the CDM Website to Learn More