How Carbonfund.org and Other Carbon Offset Providers are Changing the Carbon Marketplace

By Jazmin Murphy | Updated on October 14, 2021

Recent investigations into the accuracy of carbon offset programs, like those offered by Carbonfund.org and others, have ignited a new wave of skepticism about the value of the carbon marketplace.

Despite the fresh scrutiny, organizations like Carbonfund.org maintain high levels of transparency and innovation as they help the world fight climate change devastation. The best carbon offset providers, such as this one are, changing the carbon marketplace for the better… but how?

Read on to find out…

Carbonfund.org logo, green and blue with sunrise.

 

Carbonfund.org and Earth-Friendly Innovation

Carbonfund.org lives by the motto, “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t™.” This ideology is apparent in every facet of the organization’s work. In working toward a “ZeroCarbon™ world,” Carbonfund.org mitigates environmental damage via three primary actions:

  • Climate change education: Educational initiatives are the surest way to prepare future generations to preserve and protect the planet. Plus, these programs align with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which mandates members to provide educational and public awareness programs.1 These equip affected communities to make informed decisions about their climate impacts.
  • Carbon offsets and reductions: Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the major harmful gases that humans release into Earth’s atmosphere, driving the world’s temperature up with every passing year. Removing this and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) via carbon offsets, reduction, and sequestration activities is essential to a healthy environmental future.
  • Public outreach: An extension of public education, public outreach is critical to contextualizing and personalizing climate change for people worldwide. For people to genuinely work toward improving their local ecosystems, they must understand how the natural world applies to their lives. Public outreach allows Carbonfund.org and other leaders to meet people where they are.

The Importance of Carbon Offset Providers: Carbonfund.org Strengthening Public Trust

Based on these actions alone, it’s clear that carbon offset companies are more than just corporate partners one can name-drop to feel good about their business’s carbon footprint. Instead, they are integral to the climate fight, helping bridge the gap between scientific research and the day-to-day happenings of personal and business life.

Carbon offsets just happen to be at the center of their efforts. Even if these were the only advantage an organization had to offer, carbon offset providers would still be integral to minimizing climate change destruction.

Bronson Griscom, the Senior Director of Natural Climate Solutions at Conservation International, wrote for the World Economic Forum,2

“Not only do carbon offsets support natural climate solutions, like reforestation… the businesses that invest in them tend to take their climate commitments seriously. The CDP Climate Change Report 2016 found that companies that bought voluntary carbon credits also made more ambitious emissions cuts compared with companies that did not…. [Offsets] are not just a one-to-one trade for dodging emissions cuts. Carbon trading brings in lower-cost options from nature, enabling much more climate mitigation ‘bang for the buck.’”

Despite growing public wariness about this new sector, carbon offsets are crucial tools in saving the world as we know it.

For example, Verra, one of the world’s most widely used offset providers, has registered nearly 1,700 projects to date, reducing 582 million tonnes (about 641,545,183 tons) of GHGs.3

Organizations like Carbonfund.org are doing everything they can to strengthen public trust in this mitigation alternative, and increase access and engagement.

An 8 Billion trees graphic showing where carbon dioxide goes, with 45% of carbon going to soil organic matter, 40% to tree trunks and branches, 13% to tree roots, and 1% to wood debris.

Carbonfund.org: Improving Scale and Transparency in the Carbon Marketplace

Two main incidents recently inspired doubt about the carbon marketplace’s trustworthiness and efficacy.

The first involves Mark Carney, the United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance. A group Carney leads, known as the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets, published details on the expansion of the global carbon offsets market last year.

In September 2020, the group published a press release indicating that Carney and a “private sector-led taskforce” would begin scaling the VCM, or voluntary carbon market, to help it reach the goals agreed upon in the Paris Climate Agreement. The ultimate aim is to help the global market become “well-functioning” and achieve carbon neutral, and eventually, net negative status.

The release states, “To meet this growing demand the current market will need to scale at least 15x, and potentially 160x.”4

Carney asserted, “To achieve net zero, they will need to decarbonize and many will need to offset some emissions as part of the transition, creating a surge in demand for offsets.”

This large demand and lofty goals are causing some people to doubt if a net-zero world is achievable. That’s why ecological offsets have risen in popularity. Ecological offsets are verified carbon credits that also make a positive ecological impact, working towards healing degraded areas and saving endangered wildlife.7

Carbonfund.org and related organizations, however, understand this need better than ever before. This is why the company focuses on three types of climate innovation:

  • Energy efficiency: Reducing the amount of energy you use daily and sustainably producing said energy is critical to shrink your carbon footprint. This is why Carbonfund.org supports various projects like improving burn stoves for Kenyan communities, improving water quality, reducing South Korean energy waste, and reducing freight trucks’ tailpipe emissions.5
  • Forestry: More people now realize the incomparable advantages of forestry offsets. As Bronson Griscom stated, forestry offsets empower nature to rejoin the climate fight, stronger than ever, by replacing or protecting the trees and plant life destroyed by human activity. Carbonfund.org supports several afforestation and forest conservation projects in South America, Panama, and the US.5 These projects not only sequester CO2, but also restore ecosystems, filter water, and provide habitats for animals.
  • Renewable energy: You don’t have to stop consuming energy entirely to shrink your carbon footprint. Instead, you can go about life as normal using renewable energy, all while minimizing your environmental impact. This is a major aspect of effective climate action, which is why Carbonfund.org is investing in wind energy, solar power, and even projects to convert landfill gas to usable energy.5

This broad portfolio of eco-friendly projects is essential to global success in preventing more ecological disasters. Yet, since many of these don’t stop GHG emissions altogether, many see it as “greenwashing.

Unfortunately, recent reports of over-crediting forestry offsets don’t help.

An 8 Billion trees graphic showing the sequestration of carbon in pounds by different tree species, with Swamp White Oak capturing the most carbon with 16,000 pounds.

Carbonfund.org’s Quality Assurance Protocol

In April 2021, researchers released a report revealing that California, a world leader in the carbon marketplace, had over-credited its offsets by nearly 30 percent.6 This has justifiably raised concerns about transparency in this industry.

Thankfully, Carbonfund.org and other organizations like Terrapass go the extra mile to keep their members informed about what their funds are supporting.

The organization is willing to help businesses identify projects that adhere to numerous carbon verification standards, including American Carbon Registry (ACR), Climate Action Reserve (CAR), and Verified Carbon Standard (VCS).

In all, Carbonfund.org enforces the following criteria for all its carbon offset projects:

  • All measured GHG reductions must reflect actual emissions reductions. Calculations must be based on approved methodologies or protocols.
  • The projects must have demonstrable additionality, meaning the GHG reduction would not have happened without the offset.
  • Projects must be independently certified for permanence.
  • The project must have methods for defending against negative leakage.

All these overlap with the various verification standards Carbonfund.org accepts for its projects. The organization’s additional standards include prioritizing geographic locations with the greatest need for climate protection, and multipurpose benefits for the environment and human communities.

On top of all this, Carbonfund.org aims for “market transformation.” This refers to their intention to make clean energy as affordable and accessible as possible.

Entering a Carbon-Free Future

As the world inches closer to more climate devastation, many are desperately searching for dependable sources of objective information and practical solutions. Though recent months have stirred frustration and doubt, organizations like Carbonfund.org are doing everything they can to improve human and non-human lives worldwide.

Improving the scale, accessibility, and transparency of the carbon marketplace is only the first step. Carbon offset providers just might be in the best position to bridge the gap between public doubt and scientific knowledge, to right our course toward environmental healing.

The increase in verification and certification standards are certainly helping to improve legitimacy in the carbon marketplace. More importantly, these qualifications help providers learn how they can improve their planting, reporting, and monitoring… all in the pursuit of healing the planet.

To join the climate fight, calculate your emissions using an ecological footprint calculator and choose a tree planting offset project with a reliable provider that is most applicable to your lifestyle and energy consumption habits.


References

1United Nations. (n.d.). Education is key to addressing climate change. https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/climate-solutions/education-key-addressing-climate-change

2Griscom, B. (2021, April 22). Why we can’t afford to dismiss carbon offsetting in a climate crisis. World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/04/carbon-offsetting-climate-crisis/

3Verra. (2021, March 4). World’s most widely used standard for carbon offset credits strengthened to advance forest preservation and restoration. https://verra.org/worlds-most-widely-used-standard-for-carbon-offset-credits-strengthened-to-advance-forest-preservation-and-restoration/

4Institute of International Finance. (2020, September 2). Private sector voluntary carbon markets Taskforce established to help meet climate goals. https://www.iif.com/tsvcm/Main-Page/Publications/ID/4061/Private-Sector-Voluntary-Carbon-Markets-Taskforce-Established-to-Help-Meet-Climate-Goals

5Carbonfund.org. (n.d.). Energy efficiency. Retrieved July 17, 2021, from carbonfund.org: https://carbonfund.org/project_category/energy-efficiency/. web.

6G Badgley, J Freeman, J Hamman, B Haya, A T Trugman, W R L Anderegg, D Cullenward (2021) “Systematic over-crediting of forest offsets” CarbonPlan. https://carbonplan.org/research/forest-offsets-explainer

7Elgin, B. (2021, August 14). A Top U.S. Seller of Carbon Offsets Starts Investigating Its Own Projects. Retrieved August 20, 2021, from Bloomberg.com: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-04-05/a-top-u-s-seller-of-carbon-offsets-starts-investigating-its-own-projects