Understanding Carbon Offsets Will Help You Shop Sustainably
You’re probably thinking, “Wait a minute – I shop sustainably by buying local and organic!” While that is definitely a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, it doesn’t always cover the entire manufacturing process. Sometimes products are made overseas in factories that aren’t environmentally friendly at all. That’s where carbon offsets come into play.
Carbon offsets are a way to invest in environmental projects that help offset the pollution caused by manufacturing. For example, if a company invests in carbon offset projects like clean water, they can cancel out some of the pollution caused by their manufacturing process.
HOW BRANDS CAN REDUCE THEIR ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
By shopping with companies that are investing in carbon offsets, you can help reduce your impact on the environment – even if you’re not buying local or organic products. So next time you’re looking for sustainable products, keep carbon offsets in mind!
Here are some other ways that companies can offset their carbon emissions:
investing in green infrastructure
promoting sustainable agriculture
All of these options help to reduce the pollution caused by manufacturing. But something to be mindful of is ‘band aid’ solutions to detrimental practices, for example planting a tree to offset carbon emissions.
WHY PLANTING A TREE ISN’T ENOUGH TO OFF-SET CARBON EMISSIONS
While planting trees may seem like a logical solution to offsetting carbon emissions, it is not as simple as that. There are a number of reasons why planting trees is not a sustainable solution to climate change.
First, it takes many years for a tree to mature and reach its full potential for sequestering carbon. This means that the benefits of tree planting will not be seen for decades. Plus, it takes even longer for ecosystems to grow around that tree, which is why planting one tree does not offset the destruction of another.
Second, even if we were to plant enough trees to offset all of our current carbon emissions (which is impossible), it would only be a temporary solution. Once the trees are mature, they will stop sequestering carbon.
Lastly, trees can only offset a limited amount of carbon emissions. The most effective way to reduce our carbon footprint is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and move towards renewable energy sources.
Planting trees is not the silver bullet solution to climate change that some people make it out to be. It’s important to reflect on whether the tree planting practices are integrated into local communities, providing fair wages and contributing long-term regenerative ecosystems that will have a real impact on reducing our carbon emissions.
THREE WAYS TO CHECK IF A COMPANY IS REALLY OFFSETTING THEIR CARBON EMISSIONS BEFORE SHOPPING:
So how can you make sure you’re shopping sustainably? Look for companies that are investing in carbon offset projects. Here are three ways to find out:
Check the company’s website: Many companies will list their environmental initiatives on their website, including whether or not they invest in carbon offsets.
Do a quick Google search: A simple Google search can often reveal whether or not a company is offsetting their carbon emissions.
Ask the company directly: If you can’t find any information online, reach out to the company and ask them directly. They should be able to tell you if they’re offsetting their carbon emissions.
askBelynda is proud to practice what we preach and we’re officially certified as a Climate Leader through Aclymate. This project advocates for community-led activities that reduce the exploitation of forest resources and declining ecosystems. The project increases income for 4,600 rural farmers and their families who live in the area by diversifying income sources.
So, when you're looking for sustainable products, keep an eye out for companies that are doing their part to offset their carbon emissions! By shopping with these types of companies, you can help make a difference for the environment.