Europe wants to become climate neutral by 2050 - Austria even by 2040. This poses new challenges not only for politics but also for business. From material extraction to production and supply chain, not all business activities that emit CO2 can be converted overnight and reduced to zero. So what can be done?
Many companies purchase CO2 certificates from the voluntary carbon market to offset their emissions, which they use to finance climate protection projects and thus offset their CO2 emissions.
Greenwashing or honest commitment?
Critical voices warn against greenwashing, and rightly so. For many buyers, the main focus is on soothing their own conscience and contributing to a positive public perception. The actual impact comes second or even third. In addition, the voluntary CO2 market still offers certificates at dumping prices that are far below what valuable offsetts from a climate project with added social value should cost. "Cheap and cheerful" does not work here, because impact doesn't come for free!
Another popular way for many companies to make their commitment to climate and environmental protection public is widespread tree planting. It has to be noted though that it takes many years for a tree to grow and really absorb greenhouse gases. CO2 compensation is therefore delayed. But we do not have this luxury of time if we really take our goals seriously.
One thing is certain: offsetting CO2 emissions properly is not easy. For example, high-quality certificates that have been awarded the Gold Standard not only deal with forestry projects, but also with water, biogas and wind energy projects. CO2 offsetting thus takes place in many areas and both in the short and long term, especially in those regions that need the most support in sustainable development projects. After all, it is not decisive where emissions are emitted and where they are saved, but that the balance is right.
The sustainable impact must be in the foreground
Here is an example: Uganda is one of the poorest countries in the world. Especially in rural areas, people boil water with firewood on an open fire. Families are not only exposed to health risks from the smoke, but deforestation and forest decline are also one of the negative consequences. Experienced climate project developers focus precisely on these regions, where they achieve the greatest impact: In this way, holistic solutions succeed to not only save CO2, but also contribute sustainably to the well-being of families in Uganda.
You can find out more here: https://www.helioz.org/en/blog/a-glimpse-into-the-everyday-life-in-rural-uganda
Ultimately, no single measure will solve climate change. If companies take their responsibility seriously, the first step is always to try to reduce CO2 emissions to zero through new, climate-friendly production methods. Until this is reached, offsetting with valuable CO2 certificates is a solution that more and more companies are choosing.