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What Is Carbon Offsetting?

Climate change is a real threat. Companies need to be aware of their actions and the repercussions that those actions may have on the climate (for legal and moral reasons).

There are different carbon offset programs available, which can be used as a way to counteract the carbon emissions that a company may be producing. It is, however, important to understand which of these programs are actually effective. And you will also have to start creating long-term goals for your company if you truly want to create a sustainable future.

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Carbon offsetting

Carbon Offsetting Explained

Carbon offsetting is the process of reducing or removing carbon emissions from the environment to compensate for emissions that can’t be reduced elsewhere. When a company is unable to reduce certain emissions, it may pay a different company to help it offset those emissions and allow it to reach specific environmental goals.

Companies often do this to minimise their environmental impact while working towards low or zero-emission approaches. It isn’t a way of getting rid of carbon emissions altogether but is instead a way to reach net zero emissions.

Do Carbon Offsets Really Lower Emissions?

Carbon offsets do lower emissions in the atmosphere. However, depending on the method you use and the plans you have to go green, it can be a controversial approach to building a sustainable future.

Some carbon offset projects (such as planting more trees) are a way to remove carbon from the atmosphere and store that carbon. And while this does lower carbon emissions, the controversy comes with the maintenance of these types of projects.

If you don’t look after the trees and ensure they develop properly they’re not going to end up growing large enough to absorb and store an effective amount of carbon. In fact, a lot of these tree-planting methods are not being used as frequently anymore. Instead, many companies are opting for other methods such as clean business energy solutions.

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There’s more than one way to reduce the carbon emissions released by your business. And it’s an important part of fighting against climate change. But before you just go ahead and choose a carbon reduction scheme, you’re going to need to know what’s suitable for your business – and our expert consultants are here to help.

Therefore, the first thing you will need to do is analyse your business and identify the places where you can prevent greenhouse gases from being produced. This can be a time-consuming task involving extensive data analysis, but it will produce a unique plan for your business.

There are many things that you can do outside of these complex analyses while you develop a more advanced plan for carbon emission reductions. These include:

  • Utilising sustainable energy sources.
  • Improving your business electricity usage and mitigating the negative effects caused by other business utilities.
  • Trying to limit business-related travel. (This has become a lot easier with remote and hybrid working plans).
  • Working with sustainable suppliers.
  • Reducing, reusing, and recycling.
  • Assessing and improving your data centre practices. (This is especially useful for reducing large business energy consumption).
  • Making your products more sustainable.

There are, of course, many other fairly simple things that you can do to reduce your carbon emissions. It will ultimately come down to how you run your business and what procedures you already have in place. But the more steps you take towards a very low or zero-emission approach, the better.

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How Can A Business Offset Carbon?

Depending on your business and what you produce, you may have certain carbon emissions that are unavoidable. This is when carbon offset projects become extremely important.

If there is simply no way to reduce your carbon emissions at the moment, you’re going to need to create some other goals to at least reach net zero emissions.

Measure your carbon footprint

You’ll need to measure your carbon footprint before you make any decisions on how you’re going to offset carbon emissions. After all, how could you possibly put plans in place to fix an issue if you don’t know what the scale of that issue even is?

Once you’ve measured your carbon footprint, you’ll have a clearer idea of two things. Firstly, you’ll be able to identify what can be changed in your business to reduce your emissions. And secondly, you’ll be able to identify which emissions are unavoidable and can then start working on your offset schemes.

Determine the best carbon offsetting method for you

There are a variety of methods that can be used to offset your emissions. Once you have your findings from assessing your business, you’ll need to determine which methods are going to have the best results for your unique situation. Below are a few areas that can be considered for carbon offsets.

Nature-based solutions

Using nature to offset emissions is one of the more well-known options around but, as we mentioned earlier, this is a controversial option.

These solutions involve methods such as conserving, restoring, and managing forests, grasslands, oceans, etc. And while that will have a positive impact on the environment, these usually need to be monitored and maintained for a very long time before they are truly effective.

Clean energy solutions

Another way to offset emissions is to utilise clean energy solutions. You can do this by using renewable energy, changing to a more efficient energy solution than what you’re currently using, and even using low-carbon alternatives for energy production as opposed to using fossil fuels.

For example, choosing a natural business gas alternative will still be better than burning more harmful fossil fuels.

These days, a lot of companies are moving to clean energy as a positive solution for carbon offsets and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Renewable energy solutions are particularly becoming more sought-after.

Technological solutions

We live in an age where technology is advancing rapidly. And with the drive towards a positive impact on our climate, many of these technologies are excellent solutions to removing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere.

The downside is that these technologies haven’t been developed at scale just yet. So, while it is possible to use a variety of technological solutions for carbon offset solutions and emission reductions, it may not be as easy to set up as the other solutions.

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Buy carbon credits

Carbon credits are a financial unit of measurement that companies can purchase. When purchased, the company can contribute to a reduction of carbon emissions for a much larger project. This is done instead of making changes to the company, which might impact its products, supply chain, or anything else.

One carbon credit represents the removal of one ton of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. These carbon credits are also independently verified to ensure that the methods being used are financially viable, sustainable, and meet global standards.

When you buy more carbon credits, you contribute to more carbon offset projects and make a greater positive impact on the planet. And once you’ve reached your goal of net zero emissions, credits can be used to finance your business’ emissions reductions.


Carbon offsetting is a good temporary solution to moving towards a sustainable business model. While it doesn’t eradicate emissions, it does assist in creating a net zero business model and will help you to bide more time before more sustainable solutions are implemented.

Reducing emissions and finding a more sustainable SME business energy solution isn’t always easy. You will need to make sure that the methods you use are effective for your unique needs.

It’s also always important that the carbon credits you buy are verified and will help you with high-quality carbon offsets. If not, you may be accused of not reducing carbon emissions properly and possibly even greenwashing.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does carbon offsetting work?

The way carbon offsetting works is by counteracting the carbon emissions that a business might produce. If the business is unable to actively reduce its emissions, an offsetting project enables it to reach carbon neutrality.

Is carbon offsetting sustainable?

Carbon offsetting is not sustainable because it allows emissions to continue being produced. Instead, it is a temporary solution to limit the negative effects on the climate until a time when more sustainable carbon reduction solutions can be created and implemented.

Why is carbon offsetting important?

Carbon offsetting is an important part of preventing climate change. While it doesn’t eradicate emissions altogether, it does allow funding to go towards reduction plans. It also shifts the focus towards a greener future.

Is carbon offsetting greenwashing?

When done correctly, carbon offsetting is not greenwashing. However, if companies invest in non-verified credits, and do not follow through with their plans to reduce emissions, then it may be considered greenwashing.