Harbour Air Seaplanes celebrates Earth Day with expansion of carbon offset portfolioApril 22, 2014, Vancouver, BC – The Harbour Air Group and Offsetters Climate...
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Offsetters different?
The offset projects you invest in with Offsetters are truly different, and truly effect change. Our focus is on long-term, high-quality solutions that promote a shift to a low carbon future. We can prove it.
Every Offsetters project is validated and verified by qualified third parties to be:
- Real. Independent experts verify that each of our projects takes place as promised.
- Additional. Every Offsetters offset purchase contributes directly to reductions in greenhouse gas emissions because they enable projects that would otherwise not take place.
- Permanent. The carbon reductions of our projects are permanent reductions and are not reversible.
- Socially beneficial. Offsetters’ projects bring social and local environmental benefits as well as climate gains.
How do I start to make a difference?
Our approach is the same for both organizations and individuals. It’s simple:
- Understand your carbon footprint
- Reduce emissions wherever possible
- Offset direct carbon emissions that cannot be reduced or eliminated
Why do you focus so much on air travel?
Because air travel currently accounts for about 2% of global GHG emissions and is increasing by roughly 3% every year. To make matters worse, the altitude at which airplanes emit greenhouse gases, water vapour, and other compounds makes them particularly damaging to the planet.
While the per kilometre emissions (per traveller) of a jet plane are not dramatically higher than a car, one return cross-continent trip is close to the distance the average car travels in a year. Plane travel allows us to live a global lifestyle, but it also comes with truly global consequences.
How do you calculate flight offsets?
We use emissions factors provided by UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in its “2009 Guidelines to DEFRA / DECC’s GHG Conversion Factors for Company Reporting”. To these emission factors, Offsetters applies both a radiative forcing factor as recommended by Oxford University and the UK DEFRA and an uplift factor from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, “Aviation and the Global Atmosphere” is applied to take into account non-direct routes (i.e. not along the straight line great circle distances between destinations) and delays/circling.
Is flying the only activity to be concerned about?
No—there are many other activities that release GHG emissions. Heating our homes, driving cars, using electricity generated by fossil fuels, and many industrial processes are all major sources of emissions. But we can help you to understand and reduce all of these emissions. You can also visit the Offset Now page to learn about options for offsetting your lifestyle or business emissions.
How do you calculate vehicle offsets?
Offsetters’ Car Calculator incorporates fuel consumption ratings for specific vehicles published by Natural Resources Canada with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. The Fuel Consumption Guide lists fuel consumption data for all cars sold in Canada and can be found here. Emission factors are sourced from Canada’s National GHG Inventory Report published by Environment Canada which can be found here.
What types of projects do you invest in?
We invest in projects that promote the shift to a low carbon economy. By helping organizations overcome technical and financial barriers, low carbon and sustainable business practices, technologies and energy options become viable.
We invest in projects that focus on permanent reductions of greenhouse gases. Working with our project partners in businesses and community organizations, we seek ways of lowering their operational emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy options. Today the projects we develop can be found throughout British Columbia and across Canada.
We also sources credits from international Gold Standard or Voluntary Carbon Standard projects around the world. The credits come from projects that bring social and local environmental benefits as well as climate gains. To date, our international investments have been made in collaboration with other offset providers.
We currently have over 40 active projects, with many more in development. Every project is validated and verified by qualified third parties. Read about our projects, made possible with carbon offset investments here.
Some of our clean technology projects include:
- Ground-source heat pumps for community buildings
- Energy efficiency and fuel switching at commercial greenhouses
- Using construction and demolition wood waste to replace coal at a cement kiln
- Computer-controlled hybrid fossil fuel and electric building heating systems
- Landfill gas capture and flare
- Biomass gasification systems for renewable heat and power production
How do you choose which projects to fund?
We only invest in high-quality offset projects with verifiable climate benefits. We also require social and environmental co-benefits.
We’re always interested in exploring new high quality offset projects. Email us at i...@offsetters.ca to start a conversation about the emission reduction potential of your project.
The Gold Standard and other international projects that we source are managed by reputable and internationally-renowned organizations.
Are your credits Gold Standard certified?
Yes, we purchase and sell Gold Standard credits sourced from projects around the world. Due to Canada’s status in the Kyoto Protocol and our country’s national emissions monitoring system, Canadian projects aren’t eligible for this certification. Gold Standard projects in the 2010 Legacy Portfolio include projects in New Zealand, Turkey, Uganda, China and India, to name a few.
We also develop original projects in Canada, including fuel-switching projects, energy efficiency projects, and ground-source heat-pump installations. Our domestic projects are developed to the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS) or the BC Emissions Offset Regulation. Our domestic projects developed prior to these standards also meet these best-in-class standards.
How do you ensure that credits aren’t double-counted?
Double counting occurs when multiple parties take credit for the environmental attribute of a carbon reduction. This would occur, for example, if a company reduces its emissions and applies the reduction towards its emissions targets or a carbon neutral goal, but also sells the credits to a second user. Both the company and the second user would be claiming the same emissions.
This has been an issue in the carbon market, so we keep careful track of our credits internally and register each on registries such as APX, Markit and the Gold Standard Registry. These registries track each carbon credit that has been created and retires them from the market once they’re sold. For added assurance, our clients can check to make sure credits they are about to buy have not already been sold or used. We take special care and work closely with all clients and partners to ensure they are communicating accurate information about their carbon rights and liabilities to their stakeholders.