As the negative impacts of climate change continue to become increasingly apparent, it’s increasingly important for brands to consider their sustainability strategies.
This consideration, thankfully, comes with companies recognizing the necessity for the role of corporate social responsibility alongside mitigating their impact on the environment. While brands of all sizes should work on mitigation strategies to decrease their carbon emissions as much as possible, creating a product will inherently emit carbon dioxide. That’s where carbon offsetting for business is becoming a key tool in the arsenal of corporations looking to combat the high levels of carbon emissions produced in various industries.
The process involves compensating for carbon emissions by investing in renewable energy sources, reforestation efforts, and other sustainable projects. Understanding the importance of carbon offsetting can help companies to reduce their carbon footprint, protect the environment and ultimately, contribute to a healthier planet for present and future generations.
In addition, sustainable business models help build trust and create connections with shoppers’ moral compasses, increasing a brand’s repeat purchase rate and customer loyalty.
Here, we will explore why carbon offsetting for businesses should be an integral part of every brand’s sustainability strategy.
The Core of Carbon Offsetting
Let’s start with the basics – what is carbon offsetting and how do carbon offsets work?
Well, it’s a tool to counteract the negative effects of carbon dioxide emissions and ghg emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions can be standardized to a unit called “Carbon Dioxide Equivalents,” or CO2e. By calculating the emissions of your product and converting them into CO2e, you can offset those emissions with carbon offset projects. You can think of it as a tool to decrease your negative impacts on the environment. The idea behind the transaction is simple: calculate your emissions and offset them.
Companies or individuals can invest in projects that reduce or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere and make a positive social change – like planting trees, capturing methane gas, supporting renewable energy, or investing in improved livelihood projects that assist communities in need. Carbon offsets also give back to and bring equity to communities that are often most affected by climate change. these projects are called improved livelihood
It’s a win-win situation: the environment benefits and those who support these projects get to reduce their carbon footprint.
Wondering “how do companies buy carbon credits?”
Through brokers who buy carbon credits through carbon standards such as the American Carbon Registry and the Climate Action Reserve, which rigorously vet carbon offsetting projects and offer a marketplace to purchase carbon credits. Companies can buy carbon credits from these brokers for a set offset value of 1 Metric ton of carbon dioxide.
But you might be wondering – does carbon offsetting work? The answer is not a simple one. There are conflicting opinions on whether carbon offsetting is a silver bullet or just a band-aid solution.
The truth is, it’s something in between. Carbon offsetting is not the end-all-be-all for solving the climate crisis, but we do know that by purchasing quality offsets for unavoidable emissions, companies and individuals can make a difference.
The industry is young and we are still learning, but carbon offsets are certainly a timely tool that will drive a decrease in carbon emissions.
Carbon Offsetting and Brand Sustainability
The primary motivations behind carbon offsetting are to reduce emissions. As such, carbon offsetting generally promotes regenerative sustainability, build infrastructure for renewable energy, spread awareness and drive for reducing carbon emissions, support communities most affected by climate change, conserve at-risk natural areas and aid in renewable energy structure.
For sustainable brands, this means taking responsibility for their own carbon footprint and doing something positive about it. That can be through investing in carbon offset projects or setting up internal programs to increase efficiency and reduce waste. And, brands can support projects like improved livelihood or local conservation that align with their values, as well as their customers’ moral compass.
Whatever the approach, brands should be looking to minimize their negative environmental and social impact as much as possible – and that’s where carbon offsetting comes in.
Carbon offsetting for business not only helps reduce emissions but also serves another important purpose: demonstrating corporate responsibility. By making an effort to invest in offsets, companies are sending a clear message: they’re committed to creating a better future for our planet. This is a powerful statement to make to consumers, and it can help brands stand out from the competition.
Want to know where your business stands? Get your sustainability scorecard with our quiz:
Examples of Brands Successfully Implementing Carbon Offsetting
Adventure gear brands like Cotopaxi are a great example. In addition to being a part of the 1% of the Planet initiative, Cotopaxi is all about bringing planet Earth together and improving livelihood through the Cotopaxi Foundation which provides grants to nonprofits that are dedicated to serving communities in extreme poverty. The revenue earned by selling Cotopaxi’s line of activewear and traveling gear is directly tied to the Cotopaxi foundation which boosts the Cotopaxi brand amongst eco-conscious consumers and it helps the communities they empower thrive. Oh, and Cotopaxi uses a pretty dope carbon offsetting partner for the carbon neutral shipping (psst – here’s a hint – it’s EcoCart!)
Thousand Fell is another great example of a brand that successfully implements carbon offsetting into both their business model and their product. They make 100% recyclable shoes that are stylish, practical (they’re stain resistant!), and dreamily comfortable – they are literally made from recycled yoga mats.
The closed-loop supply chain developed by Thousand Fell means that their shoes are made from completely recycled materials and when you trade in your old TF kicks, they recycle them and make new TF kicks. When you consider the scary truth that 97% of sneakers end up in landfills, it’s easy to understand why sustainable fashion like this is vital to reducing carbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
Benefits of Incorporating Carbon Offsetting into Brand Strategy
Implementing carbon offsetting into your brand’s sustainability strategy has several benefits.
First, it helps reduce emissions – an obvious but important point. Carbon offsetting is an effective way for companies to make a real difference in terms of their environmental impact.
Second, it demonstrates corporate responsibility and sends a powerful message to customers that you’re committed to making positive change. This can help build trust with consumers and increase loyalty, as people are more likely to support brands that support the environment.
Third, it sends an encouraging signal to other companies and encourages them to take action as well. By offsetting their emissions, a company is sending a strong statement about how serious they are about creating a more sustainable future. This promotes further innovation and a sense of working together to decrease corporate emissions.
You can also bake your carbon reduction strategy into more than just your supply chain and production. You can actively seek out employees who are environmentally minded. Building a culture around sustainability will attract mid-level managers to C-suite executives who value sustainability.
If you want to lead your company into taking even more precise action in the fight against climate change you can start with an audit of your current emissions. This will help you quantify your emissions and bring life to those numbers so you and your team can better understand where you are today and where you can reduce your carbon and greenhouse gas emissions to get to where you want to be next month, next quarter, next year, and beyond.
Overcoming Challenges and Criticisms of Carbon Offsetting
While carbon offsetting is becoming increasingly popular, it’s not without its challenges and criticisms. One of the main issues is that there can be a lack of transparency – with companies not being sure where their money goes or if the impact they’re paying for is real.
Additionally, some believe that carbon offsetting for businesses can provide a false sense of security – giving people the impression that they no longer need to take action to reduce their emissions. When used as the only sustainability tool, carbon offsets can create complacency in emissions reduction innovation. Carbon offsets should be just one piece of the puzzle in a company’s ESG goals. Additionally, a lack of transparency and information can lead to greenwashing.
That said, if done properly, carbon offsetting can be very effective in helping companies reduce their environmental impact. The key is to ensure that companies strive to create an internal culture of sustainability and emphasize the importance of reducing emissions at every level
And the most important goal for companies to strive for is to create an internal culture of sustainability and to emphasize the importance of reducing emissions at every level
Future of Carbon Offsetting in Brand Sustainability
The effects of climate change are becoming more and more apparent and the effects will grow exponentially in the years ahead if we don’t take meaningful action now. Companies must continue to take proactive steps to reduce their emissions if we’re going to make any real progress toward combating climate change. And by investing in credible offset projects, companies can make large strides to do it!
Evolving Regulations and Standards
In addition to investing in projects that help reduce emissions, companies must also make sure they are compliant with the latest regulations and standards. Companies should be aware of laws and guidelines such as the Paris Agreement or California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard to ensure they remain compliant.
The Role of Technology in Carbon Offsetting
Technology can also play a major role in carbon offsetting for businesses. Companies are already using apps to track and monitor their emissions, as well as developing new technologies to generate renewable energy sources. All of these advances can be used to help reduce emissions and make the process of carbon offsetting more efficient.
Creating a Successful Carbon Offsetting Strategy
As we’ve discussed, carbon offsetting can be a powerful tool for any company looking to reduce their environmental impact. But it’s important to create an effective strategy that takes into account your industry, emissions levels, and goals.
There are three key steps you should take when creating a successful carbon offsetting strategy:
1. Measure and Track Your Emissions Levels
You’ll need to know exactly how much carbon dioxide your company produces before you can start thinking about reducing or offsetting it. So the first step is measuring your current emissions levels by using tools such as the Carbon Footprint Calculator.
Or if you really want to lessen your carbon footprint – you can schedule a demo with EcoCart on and see how you can empower your customers to offset the carbon and greenhouse gas emissions at your online point of sale.
2. Research Projects and Invest in Renewable Energy Sources
Once you’ve assessed your emissions, you’ll need to research projects and invest in carbon offset projects that align with your company’s values and goals. This could include anything from planting trees to developing new technologies or investing in green energy sources like wind or solar to investing in improved cookstove technology to implement healthier cooking practices for people and the planet.
3. Monitor Progress
Finally, it’s important to honestly monitor the progress your company is making on the journey towards carbon neutrality – and to make sure your initiatives are having the desired effect. Using tools such as carbon tracking software can help you measure your progress and adjust your approach if necessary.
Bring it Home
With climate change effects becoming more evident, it is crucial for companies to adopt a successful sustainability strategy. One key aspect of this approach is carbon offsetting, which allows brands to invest in emission-reducing projects and demonstrate corporate responsibility.
A successful strategy involves measuring emissions levels, researching and investing in offset projects, and monitoring progress towards desired impact. Although challenges may arise, any company that takes steps to reduce its environmental impact contributes to a healthier planet for present and future generations.
At EcoCart, we surveyed 8000 consumers about their thoughts and preferences on sustainability within the ecommerce industry. Download this report to learn what consumers expect of ecommerce brands in 2023 or download our full ebook on Why Carbon Offsetting Is Integral To Every Brand’s Sustainability Strategy.